Beach holiday giveaway

Are you off on your summer holiday soon? Then read on for details of a great prize.

win a beach holiday prize bundle

I’m hosting a giveaway to win a beach holiday prize bundle which consists of:

· £10 to spend at Amazon online for books, ebooks, or essentials like suncream and bikinis.
· A twister beach towel game.
· Bar Bingo – bingo cards for you and your friends to play at the cocktail bar.

Bird and Bug Bingo

These prizes are supplied by http://bingo.paddypower.com
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.
Currently I have:-
E: 10/8 Win an entry to the Balance Bike Championship Race plus bike hire
E: 12/8 Win 4 boxes of luxury Yogi Teas
E: 21/8 Win a set of armbands and float

I’d love to hear where you’re going on holiday or your holiday dream place to visit.

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Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any products.  All opinions are my own.

Save a Life, Learn to Swim campaign including giveaway

The boys have been doing weekend swimming lessons this year and I’m very happy to say it has been money well spent. Son1 has been well so we’ve been swimming nearly every day whilst on holiday and they can both jump into the pool and swim out of their depth without buoyancy aids. And they can already both beat me on both front crawl and backstroke as I’m a very poor swimmer. Yes I can swim but very slowly with dreadful style, trying to keep my head out of the water.

So I was pleased to hear about the Save a Life – Learn to Swim campaign sponsored by Swimshop. Go on, take the plunge this summer and find your local swimming pool.

learn to swim, save a life

Did you know that 57% of children age 7-11 do not know how to swim.

This is astonishing since under the national curriculum all schools are required to teach children to swim a distance of 25 metres confidently using a range of strokes so that they can safely rescue themselves from drowning.

It is estimated that children require at least 25 hours of lessons to swim confidently a distance of 25 metres. Primary schools are offered 18 hours of swimming lessons per child a year, way below the recommended hours. If hours were raised to 25 across all primary schools as standard the number of children who can swim would rise by 200,000.

Many schools are unaware of their student’s ability to swim. The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) suggest that swimming should come under the physical education budget and be taught as a requirement much like any other subject.

As well as a lifesaving skill the ability to swim has vast health benefits and is one of the few sports you can continue to partake in into old age.

Swimshop have also come up with some fun family swimming games you can enjoy with your children to make them feel more confident in the water. Take a look and try them out. These are handy workouts for adults too.

float

Steve Sharky

float

Polly Pink

armbands

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway some specialist children’s swimming equipment courtesy of Swimshop to two lucky winners. Each prize winner will win a set of arm bands and a fun fish float (with a choice of Steve Sharky or Polly Pink). Perfect for parents helping their children to swim.

Swimshop is an online supplier of swimming costumes and swim aids.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here. Currently I have:-
E: 10/8 Win an entry to the Balance Bike Championship Race plus bike hire
E: 12/8 Win 4 boxes of luxury Yogi Teas

I’d love to hear your swimming stories.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any product.  All opinions are my own.

How to teach your kids positive money management

Guest post by Vanessa Cameron, Managing Director of Qwiddle.

Vanessa Cameron, Managing Director of Qwiddle

Vanessa Cameron, Managing Director of Qwiddle

Financial skills are essential to navigating your way through life. That’s why I can’t stress how important teaching your kids good money management skills is – the sooner we take advantage of everyday teachable moments, the better off our kids will be.

Recently, it came to light that a whopping 50% of parents don’t discuss money with their children. What’s more, 40% of parents believe that children should not have to worry about money, even though the majority of parents agree that they are the biggest influencer when it comes to teaching their children about finance. From an extremely early age, teaching children about money and giving them responsibility, means not only do they become better at saving now, but they can plan for their future.

As a parent, you probably already understand the importance of introducing your children to the world of finance, or at least to a certain extent – it can help them gain good money habits for the rest of their lives. However, whilst it is up to us to raise a generation of mindful consumers, savers and givers, the financial landscape can be extremely tricky to navigate. That’s why I want to share a few key tips with you.

I think the most important advice I can offer is to start teaching your kids positive money management from an early age. It has been proven that children as young as three can learn concepts such as saving and spending. For example, from a very young age kids can learn all about patience and the right response when they don’t instantly get their way – a skill that will translate into positive money management. Tell your child that if they really want a sweet now then they can, but if they wait longer then they can have two! Try and encourage them to wait a little longer. Something as simple as this later converts into an understanding that waiting longer (i.e. saving) results in a bigger pay off.

As children approach the age of six, I think it’s extremely important that they have some form of allowance. That’s where Qwiddle comes in really handy! You can help your child value their pocket money by giving them the responsibility to save, manage and spend. Talk with your child about having a goal that they can save towards, something that motivates them. Explain this goal will be come closer if they work hard and earn money, rather than waiting for it to just fall into their lap. Qwiddle allows children to set their own financial goals with parents regulating and rewarding tasks and exercises such as chores or when homework has been completed. The importance of hard work will be implanted early, seeing your child wanting to strive towards a positive future.

No matter how old your child is, I strongly believe in the importance of positive reinforcement. By expressing pride in your child’s efforts to save, your child is less likely to purge. And even if they do, (which at some stage is more likely than not) encourage your child to begin saving again. It’s important to remember some of life’s best lessons come from making poor decisions – when your child is young, the financial loss won’t be huge and they can start again. So this lesson is best instilled now!

From any age, I think it’s also crucial to save money in-front of your children. Our kids really look up to us and will always want to do what we’re doing. Therefore, one of the best things you can do is let your child watch you actively saving money. Have a jar or a piggy bank, tell them what you’re saving for and then let them watch as it gradually fills up. They will want to join in too!

These are just a few tips that I think can really help when teaching your kids about money, so they can look to a brighter future.

I’m always keen to hear how you teach your kids about finance and positive money management skills, so please do get in touch!

For other tips from me, join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

Qwiddle online piggy bank

Mumsnet Book Club review – Coming Home by Annabel Kantaria

They say buses always arrive in twos. Well so do books from the Mumsnet Book Club. Before I had even finished reading “Fallout“, I received another free book to review. This time it is Coming Home by Annabel Kantaria. Exactly the same happened last year with the two previous books from the club.

Coming Home by Annabel Kantaria

This is what it says on the back cover.

An ordinary family. A devastating betrayal.

Evie has been away from home long enough to bury the pain that shaped her childhood. Now, with the sudden death of her father, she must return. Back to the same house. Back to the memories. Back to her mother.

At first, coming home feels unexpectedly comforting. But, as she goes through her father’s files, Evie uncovers a secret that opens old wounds and changes her life forever.

That’s only the beginning.

As Evie’s world starts to shatter around her, she realises that those she loves most are also those capable of the deepest betrayal.

Without giving out any spoilers, the book starts with Evie living in Dubai, receiving a phone call from her Mum to say her Dad has died. She flies back to England and we follow her memories and discoveries, interspersed with flashbacks to 20 years ago when her brother died in childhood.

Coming Home” is the first novel by Annabel Kantaria and is published by Harlequin MIRA. The paperback edition is currently on sale on Amazon for £7.99. It is also available in kindle format. I do thoroughly recommend this book. It is a very good riveting read that I didn’t want to put down and I do hope Annabel will be writing a second novel.

Last year I also read the following books from the Mumsnet Book Club.
Falling by Emma Kavanagh
The Girl Who Just Appeared by Jonathan Harvey

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway to win Luxury Yogi Teas

I love to relax with a cup of tea and I’m sure lots of you feel the same. So I’m pleased to be able to share my latest giveaway of 4 boxes of luxury Yogi Teas with you.

Win Yogi Teas

The prize includes four selected herbal teas:
Yogi Positive Energy Tea Cranberry Hibiscus: An uplifting and invigorating tea infused with Green Mate, Guarana & Assam Black
Yogi Detox Tea with Lemon: a tangy detox tea infused with the flavours of Bitter Dandelion, Sweet Liquorice & Spicy Ginger
Yogi Women’s Tea: a balancing tea with a blend of Ginger, Orange Peel, Angelica Root & Ayurvedic Spices
Yogi Bedtime Tea: a calming and organic tea infused with Chamomile, Lavender, Nutmeg & Valerian Root

Each box contains 17 teabags and the lucky winner gets a complete set of all four varieties.

Yogi Tea have been specialising in organic herbal tea since 1960! And are experts in creating flavoured healthy tea.

Prize supplied by Discount Supplements, specialists in Online Sports Supplements. They stock about 40 varieties of Yogi Tea, which currently retail at £2.29 per pack of 17 bags.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here. Currently I have:-
E: 10/8 Win an entry to the Balance Bike Championship Race plus bike hire
E: 16/7 Win 1 of 3 copies of A Home for Molly

Regular readers of my blog will know I enjoy a cup of tea from previous reviews but I’d love to hear what your favourite drink is?

Here are links to teas I have reviewed previously.
Olive Leaf Tea
Butterfly Dance Blooming Tea and Ginseng Oolong Tea Cubed

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Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any product.  All opinions are my own.

Mumsnet Book Club review – Fallout by Sadie Jones

It has been about 6 months since I had a book from the Mumsnet Book Club but I’ve just received a free copy of “Fallout” by Sadie Jones to review.

Fallout by Sadie Jones

This is what it says on the back cover.

London 1972. Luke is dazzled by the city. It seems a world away from the provincial town he has fled along with his own troubled past, and his new life is unrecognisable – one of friendships forged in pubs, candlelit power cuts, and smoky late-night parties.

When Nina, a fragile and damaged actress, strays into his path, Luke is immediately drawn to her and the delicate balance of his new life is threatened. Unable to stay away from her, Luke is torn between loyalty, desire and his own painful past, until everything he values, even the promise of the future, is in danger…

The majority of the book is set in 1972/73, but the first seventy pages or so introduce the main characters at earlier periods in their lives, including events where their paths unwittingly cross. Plus a final chapter of what happens afterwards in 1975. I had mixed feelings reading this book as the 1970s is not an era I can particularly relate to. Although very well written, I wasn’t gripped  by the story. To me it was all smoking, pubs and parties and I couldn’t focus on the relationships. Although I did enjoy the pub theatre aspects of the story, I suppose because of both my own amdram background and my love of the Edinburgh fringe where I have seen several productions in pubs. Even when I reached the end of the book, I didn’t really feel anything for what I had just read, but that may just be me, as it has great press reviews.

Fallout” is by Sadie Jones, the number one bestselling author of The Outcast. It is published by Vintage, a division of Penguin. The paperback edition is currently on sale on Amazon for £3.99 compared to an RRP of £7.99. It is also available in hardback, kindle format and audio. I found it very well written, but not a book for me.

I’ve previously read the following books from the Mumsnet Book Club, both of which I enjoyed a lot more than this one.
Falling by Emma Kavanagh
The Girl Who Just Appeared by Jonathan Harvey

and I will be blogging shortly about my next read “Coming Home” by Annabel Kantaria.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Tuna steaks and mini roast potatoes

Son1 loves tuna cheese melt paninis and tuna mayonnaise sandwiches but he had never tried tuna apart from out of a tin, so I thought it was time to change that by serving some tuna steaks. Son1 liked the idea but requested no seasoning on his.


tuna steaks and mini roast potatoes
Tuna Steaks
Ingredients (serves 3)

3 tuna steaks
oil
coriander seeds
rock salt
pepper
mixed herbs

Method

Crush the coriander seeds, salt, pepper and herbs.
Put the tuna steaks on a chopping board.
Sprinkle on the seasoning.
Drizzle oil over them.
Turn and repeat the last two steps.
Meanwhile preheat a frying pan to a high heat.
Sear the tuna for 3 minutes on each side.
Serve with vegetables and the mini roast potatoes and enjoy.

tuna steaks


mini roast potatoes
Mini Roast Potatoes
Ingredients (serves 3)

600g potatoes
15g dripping

Method

Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces.
Bring a pan of water to the boil.
Boil the potatoes for 5 minutes.
Drain the potatoes.
Preheat fan oven to 180 deg C.
Put the dripping in a roasting tin and heat for a couple of minutes in oven.
Add potatoes to the roasting tin.
Baste with the dripping to coat the potatoes.
Cook for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
Serve and enjoy.

Verdict. Son1 enyoyed his plain tuna steak, although a half portion would have suited him better, so these will be featuring in our household again. But he also had a taste of one with seasoning and agreed that was better.  Although I’ll still have to make something different for son2 who isn’t keen on tuna.

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Balance Bike Championship Series plus giveaway

My boys still haven’t mastered the skill of riding a bike yet, mainly due to the lack of opportunity. When we get free time, they prefer to go swimming. Son1 had a port implanted under his ribs when he was diagnosed with leukaemia and he is worried about bumping it if he was to fall off a bike. Meanwhile son2 hasn’t even attempted riding without stabilisers. So I wish that I had bought them balance bikes rather than trikes when they were toddlers.

son2 on his bike

son2 on his bike

Although I’m not one to talk as I’ve never learnt to ride properly. My mum didn’t want me to have a bike as a child, as she had bad memories from her own childhood of her friend being killed by being knocked off her bike. But silly me, thought it would be easy to learn. So in my teens, when my friends suggested bike hire one day on holiday in the Lake District, I said yes. I soon realised it wasn’t as simple as I thought, so soon let everyone else go off for a ride whilst I either wobbled along on the flat or got off for the hills.

Roll forward 15 years and we decided to hire a tandem for the day. But I didn’t enjoy it much as I didn’t feel in control. I kept saying slow down and my other half said we were going so slow that we were more likely to fall off.

One brand of balance bike is Strider and when I looked at their website, I was surprised to see they also sell balance bikes for older kids and adults. I thought balance bikes were only for toddlers. So there’s a thought. Maybe I should get a balance bike. Hmmm.

Strider have organised a Championship Series this year. The first event took place in Birmingham last month.  You can see the photos here.

Strider Championship Race

The second race in this year’s Strider balance bike Championship Series takes place at Kent’s fantastic Cyclopark on 6 September. The race is open to all Strider Riders ages 2-5 years old and it’s a fantastic and fun family day out. All riders will receive a medal and race plate to remind them of their day and the overall winner takes home a trophy! Under 2’s are welcome but race alongside those aged 2.

Strider Championship Race

Entry is just £10 per child to the next race day, and tickets can be bought here: http://www.striderbike.co.uk/strider-championship-race.html

Strider balance bikes teach kids to ride safely, simply and securely and over one million have been sold all over the world, meaning Strider has taught more toddlers to ride than any other brand.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of Strider to giveaway an entry to the race plus bike hire which is worth £20.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your cycling stories.

Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any product.  All opinions are my own.

A visit to Corfe Castle Model Village

Son2 and I took a fairly brief visit to Corfe Castle Model Village on our recent weekend in Dorset. We would have liked to have spent longer there, but I was conscious of the fact that my other half and son1 were waiting for us. We liked it there and I’m sure son1 would have enjoyed it too, but he was far too tired to come on the visit. Having visited Bekonscot Model Village earlier this year, this was on a much smaller scale, but just as nice. Also a much more modest entry price, plus we were told that our tickets were valid for 7 days if we wished to come back. Corfe Castle model village The garden was divided into several areas. Naturally there were the models of Corfe Castle and the other buildings in the village. These were in the second part of the garden and son2 marched puposefully through the first section of the garden unti we reached this part. He immediately spotted that there was even Doctor Who’s Tardis at the Castle. There were two talking life-size soldiers guarding the castle. Plus working stocks and pillories. We didn’t try them out, as son2 had already been put in the stocks the previous day at the real castle. And we could hear music from the church. Corfe Castle model village We then carried on to the rear which was a wildlife garden with a pond and teepee and a bird hide window. Plenty of giant garden games here although we didn’t stop for a play. Then moving onto the side was the enchanted fairy garden. Son2 wasn’t as impressed here, moving swiftly past the fairies. Even Winnie the Pooh was here. Corfe Castle model village We then returned to the first part of the garden where there were more giant garden games. Whilst son2 built a tower, I went into the potting shed. This had been converted into a mini museum. I learnt that all the models apart from the castle had been built in the potting shed. The castle was built in situ on the mound. Corfe Castle model village There was also a cafe and gift-shop. And we had the place almost to ourselves, apart from one family sitting in the garden and a group breakfasting on the cafe terrace. A lovely place to visit if you’re in Dorset. I’d love to hear about your favourite places to visit. And watch out for another post coming soon about the rest of our weekend.

Help! Too many toys – more storage needed

Recently I re-read my blog post on decluttering from over a year ago and had a wake-up call. I haven’t really made much progress. More action required, especially with regards to the ever-growing number of cuddly toys residing here. I’m sure we have enough to populate a small country. And the boys won’t hear of reducing their ranks even by one.

Qwerkity jumbo storage bag

So I was very pleased to be offered the chance to review a large storage bag from Qwerkity for free. This is a jumbo sized bag which will be ideal to house some of the bears. And luckily son2 has agreed with me sort of. Bless him, he said “Yes Mummy we can move them into there from the bed when you’re washing the duvet.” I do admit it does take me ages evicting the large number he fills his bed with, but that wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I was thinking of more permanent storage for some of the other bears scattered around his room.

Qwerkity jumbo storage bag

Jumbo storage bag – big enough to hide behind

The bag measures approximately 60cm wide by 30cm deep by 45cm high and is very eco, being 90% made from recycled plastic bottles. Surprisingly it doesn’t actually mention this point on the website, which I would have thought worth promoting. It can be zipped shut, very useful if you’re using it for storing bedding. And it can be folded flat when not in use. It currently retails for £5.99, so very good value. It also comes in 3 other designs. I definitely recommend this bag.

Qwerkity is not a brand I had come across previously. But looking at their website, I discovered that it is in fact an umbrella name for four brands, namely Presents for Men, Gifts for the Girls, Essentials and Travel Paraphernalia. They offer unusual, practical and fun gifts for people of all ages from children to grandparents. Do take a look.

Qwerkity jumbo storage bag

They also sent me a voucher for £5 off a £40 spend.

I’d love to hear what product you like best on the Qwerkity website?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.