Gift via text

Would you believe me if I told you that it was possible to send your friend a gift just by sending a text?

I wouldn’t have believed me either but it’s true!  Those clever people behind parcelgenie app have launched a new texting service to make parcelgenie accessible to a lot more people.  If you don’t have a smart phone or if you do and don’t like to download apps this service is perfect for you.


Using the service could not be easier, just send a text to 07480357021 and tell them which gift you’d like to send. You don’t even need to know the recipients address, just their phone number.  Sit back and Parcelgenie will do the rest.

parcel genie txt

I was invited to try this service out for myself, I sent a gift to my mother and my friend Katie.  Both of my gifts were received the next day which is super speedy service and great for those forgotten last minute presents.  The ordering process took less than 2 minutes, my recipients received a text immediately asking for their address and I got text confirmation that the item had been posted.

A week after trying the service for myself this popped through my letterbox:


The personalised note was lovely and everything was wrapped making it really feel like a thoughtful gift.

parcel genie

How adorable are the bumble bee chocolates!  I loved receiving this gift and the big bonus for me was that it fit through my letterbox so no need to go to rearrange delivery if you are out.

First time users of the texting service will automatically get 50% off on their first go just visit parcelgenie for more information.

Thinking Slimmer #1

Over the past 10 years my weight has been up and down like a yo-yo and my clothing size has been between a 12 and 20.  I’m 5’10 and currently weigh 14St 6lbs, I have a BMI of 28.9 which puts me in the overweight classification.  My ideal weight range for my height is 9St 3lbs to 12St 7lbs.  The last time I was 10St was in 2010 when I was a size 12, I weigh heavy so I tend not to dwell on weight too much (I don’t own scales, I use the ones in Boots)

Last week I embarked on a 6 week programme focus group with Thinking Slimmer, the aim of this is that I can cut down my sugar intake and see the pounds disappear.  I’m running the London marathon next year and although I’m slowly shedding the pounds its just not happening fast enough.

I have an unhealthy relationship with food.  There I’ve said it.  I don’t comfort eat, I’ve never been one for doing that.  I eat because I like food and I eat too much food because I’m greedy.  I would quite happily tuck in to a family sized trifle or eat a whole M&S chocolate cake.  Crisps are my downfall I could munch through two family sized packets in a day or even quicker if you hand me a pot of dips to go with them.

I love Coca Cola, only the full fat one non of that artificially sweetened diet coke for me.  Give me a pack of 6 cans and I’ll drink them before bedtime.  So like I said, I don’t comfort eat I’m just incredibly greedy.

Thinking Slimmer will hopefully help me tackle what is going on in my head with a view to changing what is going into my mouth.  Sugar does control me to a point, I’ve ditched it from my coffee and tea although I do find it hard to stomach tea now.

Size 12-20 Thinking Slimmer

The collage of pictures above is going to be my inspiration to ditch the sugar, stop being so greedy and get into shape.

I’m feeling incredibly positive about getting the weight off and keeping it off.  I want to be able to run the marathon with my body in the best shape it can be.  I’m going to continue to use the MyFitnessPal app although I have neglected it over the past month, if you use it and would like to add me as a friend on there my user name is madamegourmand.

If you have any tips or words of inspiration for me feel free to leave them below.


Turning a dark nightmare into a dream bedroom

Living in a rented property where you have no control of the décor can be a bit of a nightmare, my bedroom walls are cream which is a nice neutral colour however they also have dated woodchip wallpaper which is quite horrid and not something I would pick myself.  My dream bedroom would be something fairly neutral, light and minimalist to ensure I get the best sleep possible.

The majority of the décor is cream/beige which can look too much when it’s one texture and all over the house on the walls, carpets and furniture.  My curtains are just nasty, cheap looking baby blue one layer curtains, nothing at all like the plush cream expensive curtains we have downstairs.  My curtains have no blackout layer so I have a stick on black out blind permanently stuck to the window in the summer so that Arthur isn’t woken by the light.

My wardrobes are ok, I have tons of room however the built in set is very 80’s and reminds me of something my parents had while I was growing up.  Like the rest of the room the wardrobes are cream with a bit of gold trim, I do however have two large mirrored wardrobes which give the illusion that the room is larger than it is, they also give a welcome break from the cream.  So you can see that there isn’t a lot I can change to make my room have more of a ‘me’ stamp on it, that’s where bedding comes in to play.

I have a fabulous superking bed, it’s comfortable and plush and large enough for 2 adults and a toddler to sleep comfortably without knocking in to each other.  I have a great mattress protector which is incredibly thick and adds an extra layer of opulent comfort.  I don’t have a headboard as Arthur sleeps in bed with me and I’ve always been scared that he might get trapped somehow.  I know that with the right bedding my nightmare room could be the thing of dreams, maybe even my dream bedroom and I’ve created this amazing moodboard below using items from Yorkshire Linen for some inspiration.

Yorkshire Linen moodboard

You can see that even though my walls are neutral the room is incredibly dark due to the blackout covering on the window.  I’ve gone for a very light moodboard and picked items that will lighten my room up and turn my dark and dismal nightmare into a light and airy dream bedroom.

I’ve chosen the Arctic stripe oatmeal bedspread because it can be placed over the bottom of the bed when a light duvet cover is on or pulled over if the duvet I dark/patterned.  The Warwick 200 thread taupe duvet cover set reminds me of luxury hotel bedding and because I’ve never had a bad nights sleep in a hotel I figured with this on my bed I would sleep better. Finally I picked the fitted flannelette sheet which keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer ensuring that you get a comfortable sleep.

You may be wondering why I have picked plain bedding? after all I moaned at the start of the post about the amount of cream in my room.  I think the different textures on the linens I’ve chosen add some depth, it’s not just one dimensional cream like the rest of the room.  As soon as colour is added it gives the room a feel of cheapness and I really wanted to stay away from that.  I think that by chosing textured linen I may have just been able to bring my dream bedroom into my nightmare bedroom.

How would you style my room to make it more personalised?

*This post is an entry in Yorkshire Linen’s blogger contest




Marathon Training

Next year I will be running the London Marathon.  I only started running this year and prior to this had little experience apart from training back in 2001 when I applied to join the police force. I’m incredibly greedy and I have an unhealthy relationship with food but that’s best saved for another blog post.  I love a challenge and decided that if I could secure a charity place for the 2016 marathon I would really make a go of trying to be a runner, I applied for 3 charity places and was kindly offered a place with Save the Children.

I have a 17 week intensive training plan set up ready and along side this I have started weight training in the hope that I can shed some pounds.  Running will eventually help shed the pounds however I’ve been told there will come a point where I will hit a brick wall and that’s where the weight training will kick in.

I’ve always been a huge fan of yoga and Pilates and I incorporate the two into my weekly training plan where possible. I tried out High intensity interval training a couple of weeks ago which was in the form of boot camp style training, it’s basically high intensity activity like running, sit-ups, squats and push ups broken up by short periods of recovery.   I found this form of training really intensive and not quite right for me which was a shame as I can see how you can lose weight quickly using this form of exercise.


My current training schedule involves weight training on Tuesday and Friday, Running on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and a yoga/pilates mix on Monday and Saturday.

A month ago I started a small running club, it’s basically a social group that runs as part of my local NCT branch, I thought it would be a good idea to start something like this for local mums who maybe wanted to get fit, shed a few pounds and meet mums in the local area.  Our Running group is called Running Mama and we meet on a Thursday evening, we currently follow a C210K programme and next year we will be entering a local 10k race called the Regency Run as a group.

I’m starting my Marathon training plan on 6th October and I hope to have lost at least 2 stone before this starts with the aim that by the time the marathon starts I will have shed 4.5 stone.

Do you run? Would you ever consider running the London marathon?

Don’t fear the mess with Pampers

Arthur is 2 years old.

2 year old boys are messy. Fact.

When you have a small child living in the house you will find that a packet of baby wipes becomes your best friend.  I have several packets lying around and most have never seen a bottom, this is because I spend more time cleaning a face, hands, clothes, toys, the floor, tables, chairs and walls with wipes.

pampers on dirty table

Each day I have to remove some sort of pen/crayon/pencil/food/sticky stuff from Arthur’s table, today it was blue crayon which had been scribbled in a heavy handed fashion.  If you have never tried a baby wipe on crayon before you are missing a trick!  last year I came out of the kitchen to find one of my walls had a new piece of artwork – artwork of the orange crayon variety!  After failing to remove it with water and a sponge I managed to get rid of all traces by using a humble baby wipe, they really are magic.

Pampers wipes in action

Ice-cream is a favourite treat for Arthur, I often have to plan my route around shops that sell the stuff so we can avoid eye contact, Arthur would live on the frozen milky stuff if he could.  Baby wipes come to the rescue again for removing stains from clothing and faces.

chocolate on face

You have probably noticed a pattern here, children make mess. Rather than getting hung up on the mess that can be made I invite you to grab a packet of baby wipes and embrace it.  Arthur has sensitive skin and eczema so not all wipes are suitable on his skin, we had a horrible experience with some “natural” herbal wipes a few months ago when they brought his skin out in a nasty rash after a baked beans round the mouth incident.  I do find that pampers wipes work fine on his skin and you can see why in the video below.

I was asked to put Pampers Sensitive wipes to the test and I knew that in my house they would certainly be put through their paces.

I tested the gentleness of the Pamper wipes in the video above, if you click through you will see me and my helper Arthur testing the pH of a Pampers wipe.  Pampers Sensitive Wipes are proven to be milder than cotton wool and water and I did not know this, I was truly shocked by the results of the experiment. The wipes are dermatologically accredited by the Skin Health Alliance, which means they’re kind to your little one’s sensitive skin. Plus, Pampers Sensitive Wipes are made with a unique Soft Grip TextureTM which makes them thicker and super soft to provide gentle cleaning with less wiping.

Have you seen Pampers adorable new video featuring a baby doing its “pooface” (you know the one: you can tell it’s coming,’s happening…whew it’s over…) to encourage parents everywhere not to fear the baby mess or pooface! You really do need to give it a watch and to be helpful I’ve included it below, the baby at 0:05 has the most beautiful eyes!


*Disclaimer* I’m working with BritMums and Pampers testing their wipes and featuring their new #PampersPooface video. I was provided wipes and have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit for more information.