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

Dressing For A Charity Ball In Your 30’s

In May NCT will be celebrating it’s jubilee and to celebrate 60 years of the charity, branches are going to promote how they have provided parent support across generations and most branches are inviting old and new members to  a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party. My branch, Warwickshire Central like to really push the boat out and to celebrate we’re hosting a charity ball which is incredibly exciting as we get to keep 100% of the profits made which will go towards helping parents in my area.

Dressing for a charity ball in your 30's

As branch co-ordinator I will be hosting the charity ball which takes place at the Hilton Hotel in Warwick.  I’ve never done anything like this before and I don’t think I will have spoken in front of more than 50 people before so it’s a little daunting and therefore important to me that I wear the right outfit.  I’ll be talking at a podium alongside a video presentation so I don’t want to be tripping over a flowing gown, I also need to make sure that whatever I’m wearing isn’t too low cut or see through and I need to make sure that my shoes are comfortable as I’ll be chatting to everyone who has bought a ticket to find out their NCT story.

I wear black, grey or dark blue all of the time and it’s a very rare occasion when I add something else into my colour chart so my first task is to decide if I’m open to colour or something pale.

I’m already a tall girl at 5’10 so I don’t want to wear heels that are over 3″ high if possible.  I’ve narrowed it down to 5 options and I’m finding it incredibly difficult to decide which dress to go for, here are my favourites:

Coast dress suitable for a charity ball with new look shoes.

This is the Roccabella jacquard dress £195 from Coast which is where I usually buy my occasion wear from.  I’ve paired it with some white leather look heels £17.99 from New Look which are the perfect height for me.  I would happily use this dress again for a wedding or to wear to the races so I would definitely get more than one wear from this.

Jenny Packham ball gown with Carvela shoes suitable for a charity ball

This is the most expensive dress out of my choices, the Jenny Packham Luna hand embellished evening dress is a whopping £225 and is incredibly beautiful, the only thing which is putting me off this dress is the fact I probably wouldn’t wear it again unless I was invited to another ball.  It’s hard ot find shoes to match such a beautiful dress especially when there is so much going on, I really love these Gel Carvela £120 at Kurt Geiger heels and  I would be able to wear them with some of the other dresses I own.

ASOS Tall range cocktail dress with Aniston heels suitable for a charity ball

The Little Mistress prom dress £65 from the tall range at ASOS is really going out of my comfort zone as I never usually wear anything so pale.  I love everything about this dress including the price and I would probably wear both the dress and the Aniston Nine West £49 shoes on a night out or for a wedding or the races so it would be money well spent.

Monsoon cocktail dress and Kathin heels suitable for a charity ball

The picture above does not do the Ceilidh pencil dress £119 by Monsoon justice, the detailing to the neck is nothing short of beautiful,  The Kathin by Vince Camuto £95 heels are the perfect height for me and I think I’d happily be able to stay on my feet all evening wearing these.

House of fraser cocktail dress with topshop heels suitable for a charity ball

My final dress is the Untold Broderie lace fit and flare dress £65, I’m still in two minds about this as it’s probably something I would have worn in my 20’s and I keep doubting myself that I can still pull something like this off.  I really love these Ninety Strappy Sandals £49 from Topshop and readers who were with me in my days when I spent most of my money on shoes will remember that at one time I bought most of the heels that Topshop brought out, it seems a lifetime ago that I talked about shoes and my collection that at one point contained over 300 pairs, anyway I digress it’s been a long time since I purchased a pair of Topshop heels (5 years) and these heels are probably as high as I could manage without falling on my bum!

So please put yourself in my shoes, you’re 36 years old and going to a charity ball where you’re representing not only your branch but the charity as a whole – which dress do you pick?

If anyone has hosted a ball or done a presentation I’d love to hear from you for hints and tips!

*This is NOT a collaborative post and links are NOT affiliate



3 Years of Chaos, Laughter and Learning

This August I will have been a parent for 16 years, I’m a different person now compared to the person I was when Lucie was born.  I’d never expected to be a parent again, I was happy with the life I had and the family that we were.  When I found out I was expecting Arthur back in 2012 my world was turned upside down, Lucie was almost a teenager and I wasn’t prepared for the whirlwind that was to be Arthur.

Arthur turned 3 a couple of weeks ago and I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell anyone who thinks they won’t be able to cope with an age gap of 10+ years between their children that you can and you won’t regret a moment of it.

I won’t lie, sometimes having a teenager and a pre-schooler in the same house can be like parenting two toddlers, at times it is complete and utter chaos but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Arthur is the most caring, considerate, intelligent and funny little 3 year old I have ever met, of course everyone says that about their own children but I’ve noticed how different he is to how Lucie was at this age. Lucie could not entertain herself but Arthur will happily play alone for small periods of time, it’s when it goes quiet that you have to worry!

I find it hard to believe that 3 years have passed since Arthur was born, when people tell you to enjoy every moment of your childs life they are not wrong, it flys past you in the blink of an eye.  Next year we will be applying for a school place which fills me with dread because I love our days together when we explore and learn.

Arthur’s perfect day is traveling to London on the train to visit the Natural History Museum which is something we do twice a month, he loves to learn about animals, planets, vehicles and history and he takes everything in.

Dunkin Donuts

Like most children Arthur has developed a sweet tooth although he doesn’t get to partake in said sweet things all of the time, this is one of those occasions where moderation is brought into force, we did make one exception to this rule though when Arthur requested Dunkin Dounuts instead of a birthday cake.

Arthur eating Dunkin Donuts Arthur eating Dunkin Donuts

Slow down little boy, I’m not quite ready for you to grow up just yet, I wonder what the next 3 years will bring?