Taking Care of our shoes with Granger’s Care Kits

Well, the weather has certainly turned, what a true brit I am to be starting the post talking about the weather!

It seems like only yesterday that we were having some beautiful sunny walks and staying out for what seemed like forever as the sun didn’t set until nearly 9 o’clock.

We had some amazing days out in the summer and still make the most of it now, no matter what the weather.

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

We had a lovely long walk through bournemouth gardens following a mystery trail. It took us from Coy Pond all the way to the seafront. I certainly had sore feet by the end of it and my lovely OH made the final walk back to the car and then came back to pick me up. I felt a bit of a wimp but it was a nice treat not to have to do the last bit of the walk, I was so tired!

Well I can say that with two boys it’s hard not to start fretting about muddy foot prints coming into the house. Even getting out of our car and coming inside is now an exercise in trying not to get our shoes full of mud from the front garden.

So one of the things that has made it easier is having the chance to try the new cleaning kit from Grangers I have been giving it a go to see if I can make a difference to how the boys shoes look. I’ve also got the chance to have a look at the clothing care kit to treat my waterproof jacket. It gets even better as I have a fabulous giveaway to end the post with so you will get the chance to try out some products too!

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

The Footwear Care Kit was what I was most looking forward to trying as the amount of shoes I goes through for the boys is huge. Shoes are so expensive and what I really need to do is protect the ones we have and properly make use of the investment I have put into them.

Each kit contains one bottle of Footwear + Gear Cleaner, one bottle of Footwear Repel, one Footwear Brush, and a free tube of Leather Conditioner.


Using is easy and reminded me of when I was small and would sit with my grandad watching him while he carefully cleaned his work shoes. How different memories come to the surface doing the simplest of things. The grip on the handles is comfy and you can make it an easy job by doing it regularly. Like with most things, the more you do it the better the result.

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

I’m very pleased with the result and delighted to be able to offer for the giveaway today; one Cherry Blossom Ultra Repel and one Universal Cleaner for you to win. You can enter using the rafflecopter entry below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Safe to use on all types of footwear – including those made from leather, suede, nubuck, and fabric – Footwear Care Kit cleans and protects all footwear without adversely affecting any of the technical features your shoes or boots may possess, and is perfect for restoring the water-repellent finish found on boots with Gore-Tex® and eVent membranes.

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

 


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I was offered a product to review for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. Clean shoes are a massive bonus! Giveaway open to UK entrants only.

Let’s start promoting!

When I was preparing for my recent trip to London to go to Brit Mums Live 17 it suddenly struck me that I didn’t have any publicity material.

I started seeing my fellow bloggers showing their bright spangly business cards on their tweets. People were really prepared and I felt a bit left behind in the promotion stakes. So I thought, let’s start promoting!

I have had it in the back of my mind for a while now that I would like to start having some material or products with my logo on it. I’d love to see my brand displayed on clothes or bags, it would be so cool. When I first designed my logo I was just beginning and it seems like a long time ago.

So I got to it and thought about what I’d like. First up was some business cards. I designed these on my computer and chose the wording with the aim in my head that it was a welcome card to come see my blog.

let's start promoting
My home made business blog cards!

Does it work? I’m not sure but I do know that the understated look works for me. I still won’t have my picture on it but it still represents me in a way that I’m happy with.

I also used Bags of Love who make beautiful personalised gifts with photos of your own designs. They have just about everything you could want to have your photo printed on from personalised suitcases to hot water bottles. Their photo gifts are very impressive.

let's start promoting

Everything is handmade in the UK, built to last and sent out nice and quickly. If you are impatient like me then it’s great!

The bag is perfect for me, it’s very stylish and has loads of room for all kinds of shopping or work material I may have.

It’s also got little pockets on the inside for money and things I need to get to in a hurry! I spend far too long scrabbling around in the bottom of my bags for my car keys so this is a real plus for me.

let's start promoting
I chose pale blue on the sides to compliment my blog logo

So I think I’m just about set for the moment. I like the idea of having some really nice looking journal, so I think that will be my next project.

Can you think of anything else that I could use as promotional pieces?

What’s the quirkiest thing you’ve seen?

I'd love you to share this post, click to tweet and make my day!:)Click To Tweet

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I was gifted the bag for the purpose of reviewing the service. The cards I made myself! It all came together at the right time!

How Quality Child Care Can Affect Your Child

How Quality Child Care Can Affect Your Child

How Quality Child Care Can Affect Your Child

As a parent, we all want to give our children everything that we can, and one of the best places to start is education. Embracing your child’s natural curiosity and creating a positive learning experience from a young age will give them the tools that they will need to succeed in life. When you send your child to day care, you should choose an establishment that is of high-quality, as well as a good reputation, and that will help your child to develop into a wonderful person.

Communication And Interaction Skills

When you send your child to child care in Sydney, or anywhere else, it will be a new experience to which they are not familiar. However, one of the first lessons they will learn is how to interact appropriately with each other and enhance their overall communication skills. They will learn to follow simple instructions and also to get along with each other. Having excellent communication skills and being able to interact with other members of society are essential skills for them to succeed in their lives.

Create A Hunger For Learning From New Experiences

One thing that you may find when your child starts to attend nursery for the first time is that they develop a hunger for learning and trying new things, which is common in many children. The newly found passion can be something that they will take with them into their adult lives, always wanting to learn more, try new things, and expand their horizons.

Help To Develop And Heighten Their Senses

When you immerse your child in a creative learning environment, you will also help to develop and enhance their five main senses which are;

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Touch
  • Taste
  • Smell

As well as these main senses your child will also benefit from the development of other senses such as balance and special awareness. When they are introduced to new situations with strange sights, sounds, smells, and so on, it will heighten their senses and help them to be comfortable with new surroundings and people.

Becoming Adaptable And Self Sufficient

Another significant benefit of sending your child to a quality child care centre is that they will learn to adapt to new situations and people, and also start their long journey on the way to self-sufficiency. The road is a long one, and it will be many years before they are ready to fly the nest, but giving your child these essential life skills from an early age will provide them with the tools that they are going to need to be successful in their lives.

If your child is coming to the age where they are ready to start nursery school, take your time and look at all of the options that are available. Choose a facility that excites your child and will nurture their hunger for learning, take a look at various local government websites for advice from the government on schools in New South Wales or wherever you live. Visit and speak to each establishment and choose the option that will give your child the start in life that they deserve.


This is a collaborative post

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Things that make you go eerrgh!

This was a post I wasn’t going to write, I had no intention to put my fingers to the keyboard and spell out the continuation of my throat saga. If you remember my poem The Silence that was the start of my throat problems and I had hoped it would all be done and dusted by now.

But no, a couple of months ago I sat here writing looking like this:

Things that make you go eerrgh!

I had to go and have an 24hr PH test. The tube goes down my throat and sits down in my oesophagus. For 24hrs this had to stay there doing it’s thing and measures the amount of acid that wells up (refluxes) from your stomach into your oesophagus, and helps to find out if your symptoms are caused by acid reflux which is the flow of the stomach contents back into the oesophagus. It sounds strange and it is but the effect on my throat so far has been so painful and sore that I had become desperate to find out the cause. The tube, as you can see on the picture runs out of the nose and is taped to the side of my face and leads down to a contraption which records all of the data.

What you can’t see is that when I opened my mouth you can see the white coated tube running down the back of my throat, it’s bizarre! That’s why I had to entitle this post; Things that make you go eerrgh! There’s nothing I like less than seeing other peoples medical bits and bobs.

Probably one of the biggest fears I had to conquer was actually having the tube threaded up my nose and down my throat. It just goes against every natural instinct in my body. Suffice to say I gagged, put up my hand like the nice doctor said I could if it got too much and we all stood there not moving until I had the balls to motion to carry on. It’s horrendous and I couldn’t really get over that fact. I’m a whimp and it was clear to see.
via GIPHY

After some dramatics and copious amounts of tears coming out of my eyes due to the effect of gagging and the feeling on my nose, it was finally down and sitting in the right place inside of me.

Things that make you go eerrgh!
A little anatomy lesson!

Here you can see that there’s quite a long piece of tube needed to go down and dangle there catching the data. It stops just before the sphincter. When I ate I had to push the relevant buttons on my little hip pack to show that I was eating or drinking. This would be transferred to the printout when it came the following day so that it reflected the correct results. The same for if I laid down to sleep. If I had any of the symptoms then I could record that too. Acid feelings and those sorts of things would show up by way of an electro mark and all add to what they could find out. The doctor could see that I was not at all comfortable with it being there and although it should be in for 24hrs I asked what the minimum was. Reluctantly he said to try to get past 4hrs. It was like that statement sparked off a mental countdown timer in my head that I didn’t even know I had.

By the time it got to the early hours of the morning I was so freaked by the feeling of it going down the back of my throat that I took it out myself. Really strange feeling. I took a deep breath and gently peeled off the cotton sticky plasters holding the tube in place around my nose. Then, really really carefully and nice and slow, I started to pull the tube out of my nose. Mind over matter had to come into play once again. Finally after a few seconds which felt a hell of a lot longer, the ends of the tubes came out of my nose. What a feeling that was, I gave a little whoop of joy and was immensely relieved that it had come out so smoothly and was over and done with.

I had the best couple of hours sleep ever after that! So pleased that it was behind me. It seems like a natural end to this particular post. I’ll do another update soon and let you know how it’s all going. Thank goodness it’s done for the time being though.

Have you ever had to have one of these procedures or anything similar, come on, let’s share some stories!

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Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Stunning Stourhead National Trust EstateWe had a real treat recently with our trip to Stourhead which is a National Trust estate with huge gardens and house. We won a family ticket which was a thrill in itself and we wanted to go somewhere that we hadn’t previously heard of.

My OH and I had a look through the national trusts site. With our need to have somewhere; family friendly, a long walk and a good house to have a nose around, coupled with somewhere within 1 to 2 hrs drive, we settled on Stourhead in Wiltshire. It seemed to have all the elements that would suit us. It does state that no balls are to be taken for the kids and I can understand that they don’t want a football to go hurtling into all their beautiful plants and flowers.

We packed a good old family picnic in the morning and set out on our trip. It didn’t take too long to get there from our home in Dorset, just over an hour. Our prize ticket did work OK. I’m always a little worried when using a voucher or something that ‘the computer says no’ or there is a problem with that day or time being excluded. Everything was fine though.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

The house is stunning and you can see from this view looking up from the gardens that it is framed really well by the care that is taken over the gardens. you can also see by the dark clouds that rain was a feature of our day too!

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

The literature and the information around the house charts the lives of the last family to have Stourhead, parents Henry and Alda Hoare and their only son Harry. The family were devoted to each other and to Stourhead. Behind the public rooms used for entertaining and shared with visitors were the intimate family spaces where the family could relax and be themselves.

As you move around the family home, you follow in the family’s footsteps from their arrival and through the war years. Henry and Alda were devastated when Harry was killed in World War 1. They gave Stourhead to the National Trust in 1946.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

In the playrooms there were dressing up areas for the children to try on clothes from the era that the family were in residence. Our boys had some fun in there. It’s a good break if you are doing the tour in the house with children as they can let off a little steam without worrying that they will upset anyone.

There is also a picture quiz where they have to go round and find pictures of dogs in different paintings around the house. The boys love a bit of competition between themselves so it was another task to keep them occupied.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

So much care and dedication was put into the gardens by the family, it was such a labour of love for them.

The greens should be ranged together in large masses as the shades are in painting: to contrast the dark masses with light ones, and to relieve each dark mass itself with little sprinkling of lighter greens here and there.

– Henry Hoare ‘The Magnificent’

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Dogs are welcome across Stourhead’s countryside areas all year round. They are welcome in the landscape garden from March-October after 4pm, after 3pm in November and all day, every day from December-February.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust EstateThe kitchen gardens were in full bloom. The plants were massive and growing so well. I would of loved to chatted with one of the gardeners to get some tips but I didn’t manage to. In one of my posts where my OH made my pallet garden you can see what we have managed at home. I’m really chuffed with what we have managed on a small scale and for free! My dream would be to have a huge garden devoted to fruit and veg.

The visit was wonderful and I think the rain added to the day in ways that surprised me. There were times we had to stop and take shelter under some of the huge trees or hide under the arches. In those times we felt some more of the magic of Stourhead.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Have you been there or visited other walks that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

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Seriously Tasty Cheese Scone Recipe

When I was a young girl and staying with my nan on the weekends she would often bake with me. I remember the feel of the oversized apron tied around my waist, folded in the middle so that it wouldn’t trip me up.

One of the staple things we would bake together was scones; plain, fruit or cheese, all these would be made with her big hands over my little ones.

So, when I was looking for a tasty bake to make with my boys then cheese scones were a favourite choice.

The recipe and method are straightforward and ideas for moulding together quickly for a warm and wholesome savory treat.

Seriously tasty cheese scone recipe

5 from 1 vote
seriously tasty cheese scones recipe
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Seriously Tasty Cheese Scones Recipe

As the title says, these are seriously tasty and what's more is that they can be made in the blink of an eye!

Ingredients
  • 200 g Plain Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • Half tsp Salt
  • 50 g Butter
  • 100 g Cheddar Cheese
  • 20 g Parmesan Cheese optional
  • 60 ml Cold Water
  • 60 ml Milk
  • 1 Egg used for glazing
Instructions
  1. Pre heat oven to 200 ºC (185 ºC if using a fan oven)

  2. Measure and put the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt into a mixing bowl

  3. Combine well
  4. Add the Butter and rub together with the tips of your fingers until it looks and feels like wet sand
  5. Grate the Cheese and mix through with a large spoon
  6. Add the Water and Milk
  7. Work together with your hands but don’t hand longer than necessary
  8. Put out onto a lightly floured surface
  9. Press down to a thickness of 2cm and cut out in rounds approximately 5cm wide
  10. Put onto a baking tray and cook for 15mins until golden
  11. Allow to cool a little on a wire rack.

 

Seriously tasty cheese scone recipe

If you fancy another easy comfort food dish that you can make while you’ve got the oven on then try my Easy Toad in the Hole recipe

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Thank you nan, this ones for you.

Seriously tasty cheese scone recipe

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10 Quiz Questions You Need To Know

10 Quiz Questions you must know! Test yourself with these 10 well known quiz questions that you will have on the tip of your tongue, but will you remember?

I love going to our local quiz. It’s a great time that I get to spend with my family and friends. It taps into areas of my brain that sometimes don’t get an airing and are stuck on mum or work mode. I like the movies and tv or pot luck, my OH is good at maths and geography, my brother is a good all-rounder and my nephew is right on the button with modern music.

There are some great general knowledge questions that I always have on the tip of my tongue, really should know but can’t recall them. So, I thought I’d put them down in a quick fire 10 Quiz Questions you need to know post. Questions first and then answers below. Keep them for reference later on:)

Are you ready for the Questions?

1. What is the total number of dots on a dice?

2. What country has the smallest coastline?

3. What is Sir Elton Johns real name?

4. What is the largest state in the USA?

5. What is a baby spider called?

6. What is the chemical symbol for Gold?

7. What is the name of the large snake in Jungle Book?

8. How many minutes in a week? You have 30 seconds to work it out – set the timer!

9. If you were born on May 13th what star sign are you?

10. Is the capital city of Germany Berlin or Munich?

 

See Below for the answers

10 quiz questions you need to know

The Answers are…

1. As there are six faces on a die: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. These total  21

2. Monaco. It’s only around 3-4 kilometers

3. Reginald Kenneth Dwight

4. Alaska

5. Spiderling

6. Au

7. Kaa

8. 10080

9. Taurus

10. Berlin

 

How did you do? If you liked these then I think you’ll also enjoy my 10 Amazing Facts you never knew you didn’t know!

I’d love to hear  your score today and also if you have any great quiz questions then please put them to me in the comments section!

Test your friends by tweetingClick To Tweet

 

 

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A One Off Summer Linky #mainylovessummer

Here we are again with one of my special blog post linky parties! #mainylovessummer Thank you so much for joining me. How is your summer going so far? Hectic with plenty going on I suspect.

I loved holding the previous one off specials for Christmas and Easter so much that I couldn’t let summer go by without having a blog get together.

As usual there is no badge that you have to paste anywhere. What I do ask though is that where you have saved time (and space:) by not having that little task, is that you definitely do follow the guidance below.

The linky is open from 7am on Friday 11th August and closes at 7am Wednesday 16th. You then have until the Friday to complete your comments.

It’s all about sharing, reading and enjoying each others writing. Feel free to add up to 3 of any type of blogging post old or new.

Reviews, giveaways, recipes, parenting, lifestyle, poetry all manner of posts are welcome here.

Just let common sense prevail and refrain from anything outrageously offensive:)

My favourite forum is twitter so please also tweet as many posts as possible using the hash tag #mainylovessummer @myrealfairy and I will tweet away for days and days both your posts and all those you tweet from the link up.

Let’s make this a real summer sizzler and get everyone reading and talking about your posts.

Suggested guidance for participating:
  • I’d love it if you commented on the host post and at least one more for every post you link up.
  • Tweet using the hashtag #mainylovessummer @myrealfairy when you link up and you’re away!
  • Tweet, pin, stumble and share using all the wonderful ways you wish and let the blogger know when you comment how you have shared their post.
  • Use the hashtag #mainylovessummer when you comment please.
  • Enjoy and read something you wouldn’t normally click on.
  • Have fun!

 

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The Best Beginners Guide to Making Mum Friends

We’ve all felt like the odd one out when starting a new school right? Well starting school or nursery when you are the parent can be just as daunting, if not worse! Fears and self-doubt can creep in and old leftover experiences of when we were younger can all surface again.

As a parent, waving the little ones off …well peeling them off you as was sometimes the case when mine were little is one milestone to get over. The next is standing there having waved them off and then walking home or back to the car-park alone.That feeling is the pits and I think, totally unnecessary! Now is the time to get in with or make your own Mum Tribe, it will make the next few years so much easier!

Here is the best beginners guide to making mum friends:

Smile Smile Smile, it can take the place of a thousand words and can be a huge pick me up for whoever is on the receiving end.

Make something happen! Arrange a coffee morning as a way to get to know people. Odds on you aren’t the only one feeling the same way. Arranging a time and place to meet takes the headache out of it for other people. We are all so busy that having to hang around and umm and ahhh over where to go often leads to absolutely nothing, nada. If you take the initiative and arrange something, even if only one person can make it then that’s fine, it’s one person you will always have to laugh with about that first get together.

As with the point above, you have to make things happen. So, if someone asks you to go along to an event that they have planned then try your hardest to go. You might feel tired, not of washed your hair or don’t fancy meeting over the other side of town. The thing is making the effort and then feeling the benefit afterwards. You can even have a look at my post 5 tips to help the school run go smoother which should help in getting there on time and without being too stressed!

If you have to go past other mums who are all gaggled together like they’ve known each other for years, take a deep breath, walk over and say hi. You’ll get a feel for them pretty quickly and you have the most legit get out of jail card by saying that you can’t stop as you have to dash off to work – doctors-friends etc. But what you would have done is broken the ice, said your name and made the first move.

I mean, what’s the worst that can happen!!

Volunteer to help out at the school or nursery and before you go all shivery and think ‘No Friggin Way’… do it, even if it’s just the once. Think about it, you probably always have to talk to the teacher right? – So that’s one person who you know and can chat to. It’s your way in. If you volunteer for just one cake, book, uniform or whatever the heck sale it is then you will have people coming to you to talk and it’s ready-made intros.

The Best Beginners Guide to Making Mum Friends

Let's share so that everyone can feel the love to find their mum friendsClick To Tweet

It might seem a little daunting or hard work at first. Over time, just like when we were at school or starting out at work or uni, it falls into place and we settle with friends that we click with. Being in your new mum tribe is just one more path of being a fully fledged grown up. Enjoy the riches that these women can bring to your life.

What tips have you got? What were your first experiences of making your new mum friends.

 

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5 Hot Summer Accessories

Here we are again, Summertime is once again shining down on us. So what else could I do but share my 5 Hot Summer Accessories with you.

Summer Music

1. Now my first gem on the list is a song and oh boy what a summer song this is. Can it be an accessory I hear you cry, oh yes! This will be with you throughout the summer and beyond. Before you do anything else, put this on full volume and enjoy, this is a treat for you.

Sunglasses

2. Second up is sunglasses, for me they are like handbags and shoes, you can never have too many.

So far I have bought 2 pairs to kick me off into the dazzling sunshine. I will now live in them. My top tip is to get ones with moulded nose rests instead of the ones with the little bit of plastic. I’ve got long hair and I find that they can catch in my hair if I’ve had them sitting on top of my head acting as a hair band. When I try to put them back on it can produce a couple of seconds of tugging at my caught hair, not a super classy summer look!

I’m loving mirror glasses this year, here are mine, not with moulded nose rests but beauties and I just have to be careful and suffer for fashion:)

 

Wedge Sandals

3. Wedge Shoes are something I must have in summer. Each year I start looking around to see which stores are going to get them in the shelves first. A maxi dress and wedges are a summer evenings perfect outfit. I have also seen over on the lifestyle blogger uk about skin care ideas for the summer so that we don’t miss out on pampering our skin too.

Hot summer accessories
H&M
Hot summer accessories
House of Fraser

 

Oversized Beach Bags

4.  As a mum I cannot applaud the oversized beach bags enough. I love to have a bag that holds the lot. A beach bag was on my birthday list this year and the boys along with my OH presented me with an amazing bag that I’m thrilled with. I don’t want to still have phone, keys and purse in one hand a towel over my shoulder with the kids holding a carrier bag between them! Oh I’ve done it in the past but now the beach bag can take over and take control! I took the bag on holiday to Alcudia this year which you can see in Fun and Fabulous Food in Alcudia.

Maxi Dress

5. I couldn’t have a summer post without the maxi dress and it’s still a must have summer item. I find it the most forgiving of dresses around. Lumps and bumps disappear – fact! If you’re brave you go for the no straps elastic version around the bust. I say brave because with two young boys, trying to get everything sorted and responding to all sorts of mummy jobs I’m not prepared to take the risk! So, for me it’s thin straps for maximum tan factor. For the days it’s cool and practical and jazzed up for the evening with wedges, bangles and a floaty scarf, you will look a dream.

5 hot summer accessories
Select
5 hot summer accessories
Select

 

Hope you enjoyed my pics and you are feeling the summer vibe with the song. Here’s to a great and peaceful summer.

How do you prepare for Summer? Have you been up into the loft to get down all your summer gear or do you splash out and go wild? I’d love to hear.

 

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