Thursday, 20 November 2014

Happy 81st Birthday to my Mum

"No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you - life."

mother, birthday
My beautiful mother

I am eternally grateful.
Thank you for being you.
I love you so much Mum. 


It's a Monthly Thing - Teen Parcel #amonthlything

Being a teenage girl isn't always easy - especially when it comes to periods.  Having three daughters, I've had to see them all suffer with varying degrees of monthly misery, and other than offering a hot water bottle, a hug and an Ibuprofen, there isn't much I felt I could do to make it any easier on them. However, I have discovered that there is a way that we can put a smile on our daughters' faces and help make their cycle a little nicer to deal with each month, with Teen Parcel.

girls, periods

Teen Parcel is a subscription service, which sends girls a lovely bundle of treats 3-5 days before their period is due.  With top brand pampering beauty goodies, a sweet treat, a relaxing drink and a supply of sanitary products, the Teen Parcel will make young girls feel a lot better about what they are going through.  The parcels are delivered straight to the door in a cute pink box, which fits through the letterbox.

Teen Parcel

Inside, you will find something 'for now', something 'for later' and something 'for you', all individually packaged in pink.  

teen parcel

The service allows you to pick which type of sanitary product is included so girls can choose between towels and tampons, and also select a favoured brand, such as Lil-lets, Always, Kotex or Tampax and pick the required absorbency.  Parcels are tailored to individual girls' needs.

Pink Parcel

The black drawstring bag, which contains five tampons, is great and allows girls to carry a supply of tampons in their school bag or handbag.  There are two boxes of extra packages of ten tampons that should be sufficient to last for the month. It is an efficient way to get sanitary products delivered direct to your door and saves young girls from having to purchase them in shops, which could prove embarrassing for them. 

Pink Parcel, beauty goodies

The beauty goodies are really amazing.  Kizzy was really excited by the Clean & Clear products, the lovely braided bracelet and the Binky London nail varnish.  She was really impressed with her 'period presents' as she called them!  It even included a sweet treat and a Teapigs chocolate teabag for some comfort. Every month, different pampering products from some major brands are included in the parcels. 

The Teen Parcels are a teen friendly version of the Pink Parcel subscription service for women.  They aim to take the fear out of what can be a scary time in a young girl's life, replacing it with something more positive.  Subscriptions can be taken out as gifts, and it really is a lovely thing for a young girl to receive, making this aspect of growing up much more appealing.

12 year old Kizzy said:

"Periods aren't the best things in the world and they aren't any fun.  Having a cute package delivered every month will definitely make things easier and worth the suffering!  I like that it gives you a month's supply of sanitary products so you never run out and the fact that you get some lovely gifts to cheer you up is great.  I was pleased that the Clean & Clear beauty products were included because they are beneficial to teenager's skin.  The parcels are really thoughtful and I'd be happy to receive one every month to make me feel special if I'm feeling a bit down about things. In fact I'm going to ask if I can subscribe to Teen Parcel right now!"

A Teen Parcel subscription is just £9.95 a month, which is excellent value for what is included.  The first package comes at a special offer price of just £5.95.  You are free to cancel at any time with no obligation. You can manage your account online, adjusting the dates to ensure the parcel arrives exactly when it is needed.

Buying a Teen Parcel subscription for a young girl really can help them get through a tough time in their lives. I think they are an excellent idea and seeing Kizzy enthuse about the contents has made me see just how appreciated  a parcel through the post will be every month.  They can help make periods less embarrassing and increase young girls' body confidence.  Kizzy said it made her feel special, which is exactly how young girls should be made to feel.

You can find out more and subscribe at:  You can also check out their blog for all things period related alongside beauty and health tips to keep you feeling your best.

Teen parcel

We were sent a box to review and I've been compensated for my time but all opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Star in your own TalkTalk Mix Off Music Video

TalkTalk’s Mix Off is a new, free app that creates amazing music videos, with you as the star! Create one of the best, and you could appear on TV!

TalkTalk are the proud sponsors of this year's X Factor and they are giving fans the chance to get close to the talent with their Mix Off app, by creating amazing music videos, which could appear during the show's ad breaks.

With funky effects and some of today's top tunes to choose from, you can go solo or perform with a friend and upload the video to the Mix Off gallery.

TalkTalk, X Factor

How it works:

Step 1: Select your track (choose from Fancy, Salute, Royals, Happy, Ghost and more) and video style (such as Kaleidoscope, Word Art or Street Art) and customise it with colour.

TalkTalk, X Factor

Step 2: Record your performance - sing along, dance like crazy, make funny faces and have fun for 12 seconds.  Lyrics show on screen o you know the words.

X Factor, Talktalk

Step 3: Mix it up by adding up to three other performances to your video.

There are some top tips on how to make a stand out video including using a plain white background, playing with camera angles and dressing up.  You can unleash your inner pop star and have a lot of fun with this app!

music video, TalkTalk, app

You can upload the finished videos to the gallery and you can watch other people's Mix Off videos. 

Find out more at, download the app at the App Store or Google Play or you can create online.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My Christmas Wishlist App

Many children enjoy writing wishlists to inform Santa which of the must have toys they most want to find under the tree for Christmas.  In the past, this may have involved an Argos catalogue, paper and a pencil, but nowadays the process is much more high tech with the launch of the Argos My Christmas Wishlist app.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

You simply download the free app from the App Store or from Google Play and you can begin.  The animated opening sequence features some fun characters and kids can pick a helper to guide them through the process.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

They can personalise their wishlist, by taking a happy, festive selfie, which then appears throughout the app.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

It is simple to browse through the best toys of the season, displayed as thumbnails, and pick the ones you want.  They are sorted by brand so if your child wants LEGO, Nerf or Playdoh, for example, they can click straight through to the relevant section.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

Children can get creative using the virtual pens and numbered stickers to decorate the list before emailing it off to Santa (aka Mum or Dad's inbox!) They can rate their preferences so you will know which toy is their favourite.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

The app is colourful, fun, kid friendly and interactive and parents can set a price limit and limit the number of gifts to avoid children picking too much or choosing toys that are too expensive.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

Once the letter is sent, the designated email recipient gets an email with a colourful copy of the wishlist, with links to the toys that have been chosen so you can click through and buy or reserve direct from Argos.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

Freddy had a go at making his wishlist.  He really liked the app and chose the cute little helper Squidge to assist him.  I limited the price of the presents to £32 and restricted him to five gifts.  He picked four toys: a VTech DigiPet, a Nerf crossbow, a Leapfrog LeapBand and an Innotab game, before decorating his list and clicking the button to send it to Santa.  It was really simple and user friendly, and he enjoyed looking through all the toys in his price range.

This app is also a nice way to send wishlists to relatives who ask what the kids want for Christmas, plus it makes it easy for them to buy direct from the links in the email.


Big City Explorer - Book Review

Little ones aged 5 and over will be nurturing their future wanderlust as they read through the pages of this lovely non-fiction book by Maggie Li.  Featuring 28 great cities from around the world, each double paged spread is filled with fascinating facts including information on sights, food, sports, culture, landmarks and events.  It's an introduction to geography and allows little ones to dip in and out to find out about the world's greatest cities.

Children join the cute character Penguin as he travels through cities such as Istanbul, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Mocow, Madrid, Cairo and Amsterdam.  With very simple maps, lovely illustrations and bitesize chunks of amazing information, children will enjoy exploring the great cities of the world.

To add to the fun, little explorers can play with the real, removable working compass that is embedded into the hardback front cover. This is a great, educational book which will let imaginative children discover the world within its pages, and decide where they will visit when they grow up.

pavilion children's books

Big City Explorer is published by Pavilion Children's Books and is priced at £11.99.  It would make a great Christmas gift.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Manchester Christmas Markets

This weekend, we were among the record breaking 200,000 people who descended on Manchester city centre for the opening of the Christmas Markets.  With Ella being at university there, we parked up outside her halls of residence and walked into town.  The weather was perfect and we felt very festive as we approached the beautifully adorned, wooden stalls each selling their wares from around Europe.

The smell of mulled wine and various foods was enticing and we simply had to sample the Garlic Mushrooms and Garlic Potatoes from Provence, which were cooked in huge pans on the street and smelled so good.  It was nice to find some vegetarian friendly food among all the German sausages on offer, and the potatoes and mushrooms were absolutely delicious - so, so tasty!

The children had their first ever macaroons, hand made by the French people running the stall. Freddy loved them but at £9 a bag they will only ever be an occasional treat!  He also had a white chocolate covered apple, which we bought from a very happy Bavarian man selling various fruits on sticks that had been dipped in chocolate and decorated. They looked really pretty.

The markets have a real international flavour and a vibrant atmosphere. There were so many cool things on display from jewellery to wooden ornaments to traditional nutcrackers to Christmas decorations alongside all the food stalls and pop up bars.  It was so busy and positively bustling, which is always good to see. Ella's boyfriend is working on one of the stalls at the markets selling Lemax Christmas Collectables. We popped across to say hello.  They were doing a roaring trade and selling their stuff off much cheaper than I've seen it in the garden centres. Nice to see some well priced stalls at the markets!  It was also good to see that the pop-up bars had a returnable deposit policy on their mugs, glasses and cups, as part of an environmentally friendly initiative. 

With a visit to the Arndale Centre included in our day out, we really enjoyed spending the day in Manchester.  Freddy coped really well with the crowds and the long walk around all the sites.  My little boy is definitely growing up and getting more able to deal with situations outside of his comfort zone, which is really pleasing.

Afterwards we popped in to see Megan, who couldn't join us at the markets because she'd had friends rounds after a big night out.  We bought some vegan take out food from Eighth Day to make up for her missing the garlic potatoes! I love being able to visit my grown up kids and having two living in the same city is such a bonus.    

Christmas, markets, manchester

The Manchester Christmas Markets are open everyday until December 21st.

Be Safe Be Seen this Winter

The Co-Operative Funeralcare will be helping thousands of children to stay safe on the streets now that the clocks have gone back, by providing high visibility reflective 'Be Safe Be Seen' badges to children through primary schools and youth groups around the country. Over the past 5 years 160,000 badges have been distributed to youngsters helping to make them more visible to drivers, especially as it gets darker in the evenings. Popping a badge on to a coat or onto the strap of a rucksack really makes a difference to the child's visibility and makes sure that they are seen.

road safety

In addition to the badges, road safety lessons and assemblies (prepared in conjunction with Brake the road safety charity) have been delivered to school children aged 3-7, as a part of the Be Safe Be Seen campaign.  It's an excellent way to raise awareness about road safety and reminds us to all to be extra vigilant.  The safety of our children is a prime concern for everyone.

Over 2000 children under the age of 16 are killed or seriously injured on our roads every year* with pedestrians making up over a half of those killed and two thirds of those seriously injured.  In the winter months when evenings get dark earlier, young pedestrians are at their most vulnerable, but there are precautions that can be taken to keep them safe.

Here are some simple steps to teach children how to stay safe when out and about this winter:

  • Wear high visibility clothing or accessories (like the Be Safe Be Seen badges from The Co-Operative Funeralcare) to make yourself more visible to drivers.
  • Look out for hidden entrances or driveways when crossing pavements.
  • Make sure you walk on the side of pavements away from the traffic.
  • When crossing the road always choose a safe place and time to cross. It’s always safer to cross at a pedestrian or patrolled crossing.
  • Avoid crossing between parked cars as drivers won’t be able to see you until it’s possibly too late.
  • It’s important to stop at the curb, look both ways and listen to traffic before crossing. 
  • Pedestrian crossings can still be dangerous if care is not taken. You should wait on the pavement until all the traffic from both directions has stopped. 
  • Islands are often provided in the middle of the road, and you should treat each half as a separate crossing.
  • Avoid playing near busy roads as you may forget your surroundings and become unaware of the dangers on the road.
Here is a video from The Co-Operative Funeralcare Be Safe Be Seen campaign about road safety. It's vital that our children are reminded of the importance of taking care on the streets so we can help keep them safe.


Parents can contact their local Co-Operative Funeralcare branch to order the high visibility badges for children's schools or find out more online at

road safety

“I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.”

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* Figure taken from the Child Accident Prevention Trust report 2011


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