Planning A Ball Is Hard Work

Back in October 2015 I decided that my NCT branch (Warwickshire Central) would hold a ball to celebrate the 60th birthday of NCT.

Ball, Charity, NCT, Jubilee

When I first came up with the idea of running a ball I wasn’t sure how it would go down with the rest of the committee, thankfully they were all happy to help. I had big plans for the evening but as the weeks went on and I realised we were the only branch in the country running a ball, I can tell you I was scared! Planning such a big event isn’t easy but as we’re one of the top ten fundraisers in the country I knew we could easily make £1000 from the night thanks to lovely people who had purchased tickets to attend, for example at our November 2015 nearly new sale we made just shy of £4000 sheer profit.  We’re a pretty awesome branch I’m sure you will agree.

The charity is very important to me. I’ve never actually taken an NCT class, which to some people may seem odd – why would I have dedicated the past 3 years of my life to a charity that I’ve never used? Well the answer is simple. I moved to the midlands 4 years ago and I didn’t know anyone – I had no friends or family here so I needed a way to meet people. By volunteering, I’ve made so many friends so not only do I help the charity but in turn the charity has also helped me.

It all started on 4 May 1956 with a small advert in the personal columns of The Times and The Daily Telegraph. The ad called on women to join a new association that would support them through natural childbirth. It would be two more years before the first antenatal classes took place.

Today, NCT courses are attended by over 100,000 parents each year. There are over 300 branches with 15,000 volunteers on hand to help. Online support reaches over 2.3 million parents and parents-to-be each year.

NCT conducts important research to use to lobby for changes to improve maternity and parent services.  Automatic enemas and shaving were scrapped and fathers or partners allowed into delivery rooms all thanks to NCT.  I look forward to seeing NCT help improve services further by the time my daughter has children.

We raised a whopping £1431 on the night and all of the money raised will stay in our community and go towards paying for our breastfeeding services and parent support. We run 3 support sessions every week which are open to all and are free.  These have been invaluable to many local parents.

Cake, NCT, Jubilee, Charity

We were gifted some incredible raffle prizes and one lovely lady in our area donated the amazing cake shown above.  I’m personally looking forward to the next ten years and to see what changes are made in that time.


Save Money With Groupon Coupons

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Everyone likes to save money when they can and I for one spend a lot of time looking for bargains online.  I love spending money and I love it even more when I get a discount as it means I can often buy myself something unexpected or put the money that I’ve saved away for a rainy day. Remember that old saying “Save the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves” Well the meaning behind that is that if you take care not to waste money you will accumulate capital and by purchasing something that you were already going to buy at a discount means that you end up with more than you would have if you hadn’t used the discount.

Did you know that you can save money on hair appointments, afternoon tea and meals for two with groupon?

One website I like to browse on a regular basis is Groupon.  Over the past few years I’ve saved an awful lot of money on hair appointments, spa days and restaurant meals by using Groupon Coupons.  Retailers and discounts may be different depending on where you are in the country but I’ve found that in my local area I can usually pay around £12 for afternoon tea for 2, £10 for a gel polish nail treatment, £16 for a two course Indian meal for two and £15 for a cut and blow dry.

Of course Groupon doesn’t just offer discounts in your local area, there are often a lot of courses available like Interior design, Veterinary assistant and personal trainer courses for £29. If you’re interested in websites and hosting companies like GoDaddy have great deals on domains and hosting and you can save yourself a lot of money by going through Groupon rather than direct.

Have you ever purchased a Groupon Coupon before? What did you buy?




National Stationery Week 2016

I’m a huge stationery fan.  I have a chest of drawers and a small bookcase filled with the stuff, I consider myself to be a collector of stationery but I know others will say I’m a hoarder.

The 25th April to 1st May 2016 is national stationery week and I think it’s important to celebrate it for a couple of reasons which I will go into below.

  1. There is nothing more personal than a handwritten letter or card.  We are a nation of computer/tablet and phone users and I really fear that the art of letter writing may one day not exist.  I’ve been writing to penpals since I was 13, I currently write to 8 people all over the world and for me there is nothing nicer than sitting down to read a handwritten letter.
  2. Handwriting encourages the correct use of language and as a parent there is nothing I hate to see more than text talk.  I encourage my children to write even if it’s just a handwritten thank you letter as this ensures they are using language correctly and in turn stimulating their brains.

drawing for national stationary week

I received a lovely package of stationery bits which Arthur couldn’t wait to get stuck into!  Seeing a child with a pencil and paper instead of watching tv or playing on a tablet makes me so happy.

National Stationery Week

Will you be celebrating National Stationery Week? Are you a collector of stationery?

*This post contains a press sample

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Yoga with Yogaia

Yoga has been a hobby on mine since my late teens but since 2012 I’ve found it increasingly difficult to get to any classes and have been doing it from the comfort of my own home which can get rather boring and repetitive.  I’m not in a position to go to a class through the day as I’m either looking after Arthur or working and I can’t always get out on an evening so I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut, that was until I discovered Yogaia.

Want to try yoga but don't have time for classes? Yogaia offers interactive yoga classes from the comfort of your own home.

Yogaia is available online from a PC or laptop or via an app and offers live, interactive yoga classes from the comfort of your own home.   When selecting a live yoga class you have the option to turn on your web camera and connect to your live yoga instructor who can offer you personal advice, tips and tricks that help you to take your workout further. I’ve not been able to put my camera on as Arthur is usually running around the room in the nude as we’re in the process of potty training and the poor instructor doesn’t really want to see that sight.

Yogaia classes

I’ve used Yogaia both on my laptop and mobile and it’s so good to feel part of a class even though I’m on my own at home.  I’ve discovered yoga styles that I’d never tried before like candlelight flow which is perfect for unwinding in the evening, Barre tone 40 is an awesome full body workout which is usually performed on a ballet barre but if you don’t happen to have one in your home you can use a high backed chair, it’s a great calorie burner and one that I’ve added to my favourites.  if you’re new to yoga there are some great beginners classes and a favourite of mine is the 45 min easy yoga class which is also great for people who have flexibility issues.

Pssst. Time to detox? Join the Yogaia Home Retreat, taking place April 22nd – 24th, and you can win a yoga retreat in Morocco with your friend.

Each week there are more than 100 new online yoga classes available 24/7. The best bit is that a whole month of yoga costs the price of just one studio class (from £7.49 a month).  If you can’t attend any of the live classes that’s totally fine as you can take part in the online yoga recordings which are available, 24 hours a day.

I injured myself a few weeks ago and have been unable to do any running and it also means I had to cancel my place in the London marathon.  I’ve noticed a slight increase in weight since I’ve had to slow down my workouts and I’m hoping that the higher impact yogaia classes help me maintain my fitness levels.

Want to try yoga but don't have time for classes? Yogaia offers interactive yoga classes from the comfort of your own home.

You might be interested to hear that Yogaia are running a home detox retreat campaign from from the 14th April. If you take part in this, you will have a chance to win a yoga retreat in morocco and who wouldn’t want that? right.

Om-azing news! Now you have an opportunity to test Yogaia  – 14 days for free!  Get on your yoga mat and join as many classes as you want during the free trial – no credit cards, no excuses, just great yoga.  Redeem the free trial code before April 25th at

Are you a fan of yoga? Does this sound like something that appeals to you? are you going to give the free trial a go?

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.”

The Ugly Bug Ball Crafts

Fans of older Disney films like myself will know and hopefully love the film Summer Magic which features “The Ugly Bug Ball” which is such a great song to sing with children.  As it’s springtime and the bugs are out in force we decided to focus our crafting this month around mini beasts specifically bugs in all of their glory.

“Once a lonely caterpillar sat and cried
To a sympathetic beetle by his side
I’ve got nobody to hug
I’m such an ugly bug

Then a spider and a dragonfly replied
If you’re serious and want to win a bride
Come along with us, to the glorious annual ugly bug ball”

Ugly Bug Ball Craft

So far this week we have spent 4 hours playing with our Ugly Bug Ball.  Arthur loves bringing new bugs into the play set and explaining what the different parts of the bugs are.

To make the Caterpillar for your ugly bug ball you will need:

Materials needed to create a caterpillar for the ugly bug ball.

4 coloured eggs or pompoms
Needle & Thread
Stick on eyes
Wire for antennae

Ugly bug ball caterpillar tutorial

Stitch the eggs or pompoms together to create the body and put a tiny dab of glue on the thread at each end to secure.

Ugly bug ball caterpillar tutorial

Stick two eyes on the face of your caterpillar.

Ugly bug ball caterpillar antenna

Push two pieces of wire into the top of the caterpillars head for the antennae and your caterpillar is now ready to attend the ugly bug ball.

Of course no ugly bug ball is complete without a sympathetic beetle to listen to the caterpillar and to make this you will need:

ugly bug ball beetle

A polystyrene ball
glue or glue dots
pipe cleaner
stick on eyes

Apply glue to your polystyrene ball and stick a dark piece of lace to it.  Cut your pipe cleaner into 6 pieces and push into the polystyrene.  Stick two eyes on to the front of your beetle. Cut two pieces of light  lace into a wing shape and stick to the back of the beetle.

Your beetle is now ready to join the caterpillar at the ugly bug ball.

ugly bug ball tutorial

*Some of the craft items used in this post were provided as part of the on-going Bostik Bloggers campaign