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The one where I almost lose my sh*t

I know, it’s been a long time coming. Before anyone feels like being a smart arse.

I like to think I’m some kind of superwoman, give me any task and I’ll nail it. Externally that its, internally I’ll be a big old mess and mentally tearing my hair out. But I won’t tell *you* that, because that would be stupid….

Back in March I decided to take a step towards my dream job, I applied for a place on an access to health and social care course and got it. It started in April, and during my interview the tutor kept repeating how hard it was, how much work there was to do, and how it would take over my life. I chuckled along, thinking OK lady, give it a rest and stop exaggerating.

Only she wasn’t.

It started off slowly then hit all at once like a frigging steam train. I had essays, reports, assignments, exams and presentations coming out of my ears. It’s a full time course. Even though I’m only there for two full days a week but I’m also expected to put in as many hours out of college as I spend in, so that’s 16 hours in, 16 hours out. Add to that a part time job, two kids a husband and two dogs, you can see where the shit was being lost. Something had to give. And it did. I had to make a decision based on my happiness and sanity, before I officially went off the scale. Sometimes you just have to take the whole leap and not just bits of it. (Yes, that’s a hippy statement but whatever!) I couldn’t keep stretching myself in all directions because I wasn’t giving anything my full attention. The kids were getting ready meals and takeaways, the husband was getting a snoring wife every evening, the washing was piling up on top of the piles and don’t even mention the housework. I think my TV has raised an inch or two with the layer of dust under it.

Being a midwife is what I want to do. There is nothing else that I can see myself doing, I kept trying to give myself other options, fall backs if this failed – but nothing sat right with me, because midwifery is what I’m meant to do, one way or another. And because of that I have to throw myself into it 100%. No more half measures. I’ve had two exams, handed in three essays and made one presentation in the last month. Both exams were graded with distinctions, two of the three essays have been marked, both distinctions, and the presentation, a distinction. I still have three more essays to be graded and an exam to sit tomorrow (hence more shit losing) but I’m slowly starting to think I might be ok at this, I might be able to do it. The whole time I’ve felt like I’ve been winging it, waiting to get caught out for being a fraud. I have no faith in myself at all and I really need to work on that. Maybe next week….!

For now, the end is in sight. Two more days of college until September. The kids will be at school for a couple more weeks, I won’t have any revision, any work, I can start to be mum again, stay awake past 10pm, not feel the need for a granny nap every day. I’m looking forward to cooking some proper dinners, cleaning the house (I know, I know) and spending some time with my babes.

And a bloody HUGE gin and tonic.

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Germs – and the chance to win £100 John Lewis Vouchers! **CLOSED – Winner Announced Below**

Yup, random title there but had to grab your attention somehow didn’t I!

I was contacted by GlaxoSmithKline recently as they’re organising a competition for students to broaden their scientific view of the world (school age students that is, not ‘mature’ students like me!) and they asked me what ideas I could come up with to stop germs spreading and the biggest challenges I face when it comes to fighting germs.

The second question, could of course, be answered in one word. Kids. Bless ‘em. They’re grubby little buggers though aren’t they? I think they tend to fall into one of two categories, the ones who love washing their hands and having long showers every morning (meaning you need to fight to get them out and dressed in time) or the ones who seem to think they don’t need have a shower every day. Guess which category my son falls into……?

And this is an actual C quote “I don’t need to have a shower, I had one yesterday…..” Yup. That’s my boy. He will happily dig in the garden, roll around in the park and paint with his hands all day long. Without washing them. Grubby little boy! So, I’m pretty interested in ways to reduce germs that actually attract the kids attention. We’ve tried the fancy kid soaps but they only work for a few days until the novelty has worn off. Hand gels work, but again, not forever.

To be honest, a little bit of dirt never really hurt anyone and if he was more worried about keeping his hands clean than getting them dirty then I’d be worried (lots of worrying in that sentence) but when it gets to winter time and they pass colds and bugs between them like a never ending game of tennis, that’s when I start to get a bit more germ-phobic. My usual tactic is spraying the place with dettol, tissues available everywhere and making sure they wash their hands, but what else can you do? Is there a magic germ gadget you can buy? That would be good!

So, in order to win £100 worth of John Lewis vouchers (I know!) all you need to do is tell me how you fight the germs! Pretty simple huh? All the t&c’s are at the bottom of this post, you have to leave a comment but the rest are just added extras, they all count towards more entries though! Good luck!

To challenge To change is GSK’s way of challenging some of the world’s biggest healthcare issues and creating change to improve people’s lives. For more information, have a look at their website here.

Competition Terms & Conditions

There is 1 prize of £100 John Lewis vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of GSK.
Closing date for entries is 6th July 2015.
Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment.
Optional entry methods are to follow on Twitter, Facebook and tweet on twitter.
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen.
The winner’s name will be available on request.
The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.
Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Teenage dreams…..

Both the husband and I love our sleep. Like, when we were childfree and obviously carefree we would spend hours in bed at the weekend, reading magazines, having a nap, watching tv, having a nap, eating a really late brunch, having a nap, you get the idea. So having an almost teenager who I’ve never had to wake up, literally *never* because she doesn’t actually need that much sleep and would be up at the crack of dawn regardless of what day it was since the day she was born was quite a shock to the system! (Since then we’ve had the boy who likes his sleep just as much as we do, thank god!)

When we moved to this house and she got her own floor, we thought we could create a room for her that might make her want to chill out up there, have her own space and maybe, just maybe sleep a bit longer!

It’s been an ongoing process. As she gets older, her tastes are changing, but the basics are the same. A decent bed, a good mattress, nice furniture, a chill out zone, room for her books, pictures, make up and so on. Basically a room that I’d be happy in, but teenage style.

We bought a new bed for our room, so H decided she wanted our old bed frame, an iron, four poster bed. Which was fine, but we needed to change her mattress from a single to a king size. We decided to go with a memory foam mattress, because it’s soooo comfortable, and, you know, anything to make her sleep! We added a gorgeous, fluffy, feather filled duvet and enough cushions to give the husband a heart attack each night and she was set. I have to admit to laying on H’s bed while she’s doing homework (probably distracting her) because it’s so comfy!

Obviously style is important as well as substance. And not just for H! The furniture is all white, with plenty of storage space, it’s all pretty much Ikea based stuff, sturdy, simple and nice to look at and it all doubles up as shelf space. My daughter is my daughter. She has make up, nail varnish, hair & skin products coming out of her ears. She also seems to “borrow” a lot of my stuff, never to be seen again…..! As for clothes, don’t even get me started! I’ve decided not to fold her stuff anymore, because it doesn’t seem to make it from the pile to the drawers/wardrobe in the same condition. It’s a talent she has. And yes, I’m aware of how old I sound right now….

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So, has it worked? Well, she doesn’t come downstairs to wake us up anymore, because she has everything she needs in her room. TV, iPad, phone – I think if she was allowed a mini fridge up there I probably wouldn’t see her unless it was dinner time, but does she sleep longer? No. Do I have to wake her up in the mornings? No. Is she still dressed and ready to go before I even have both eyes open? Yes, of course she is. I think I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my daughter just doesn’t need that much sleep. But she does love her room & spends a lot of time up there being a teenager and doing whatever teenagers do. So it’s pretty much win win!

Thanks to Dormeo for sending H the fab mattress!

 

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Boujies London – Pink Pomelo *Discount Offer*

I think by now everyone knows how much I love scented candles, I’ve written about it enough and everyone in my real life knows, give me a decent candle over a box of chocs or a bottle of wine any day!

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Give me a scented candle that hasn’t been released yet, and has the most amazing citrus-y, summer scent and, well, VERY happy!

Boujies create hand poured, aromatic candles in England, using only natural wax, the best essentials oils and fragrances inspired by nature and they’ve now created their 8th fragrance, Pink Pomelo.

It’s a really uplifting, fresh scent. It just smells of summer, with notes of grapefruit, sweet lemon and pink pomelo. It’s a really clean smell, it’s perfect for when the sun is shining (unlike today) and you want to feel energised and awake. This is a real day time candle for me, which I love, as I always light them in the evening, so now I have both!

Available from May, in either their candles, diffusers or gift set. The 100g candle is £16.00 with free standard delivery on all orders. Plus, I can give my readers (you, hi!) an exclusive discount on the new fragrance,  just enter the code BOUJIESLOVES for 10% off on order placed between the 1st and 17th May 2015.

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PR Sample

 

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Planning a Family Holiday on a Budget ~ GP

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Life can get a little hectic sometimes. Remembering to breathe and take a break now and then helps with productivity as well as with your own mental health. In a world where everyone is trying to do everything in terms of work, looking after children, socialising with friends and visiting family, it can be easy to forget that we all need time to relax. So, why not take a minute to step off the work/life balance beam and book a family holiday?

Magazines can often fall short of catering to families, with pictures of women in glitzy bikinis and inserts on how to get the perfect beach body. Unfortunately, tips for saving money on family holidays or how not to bankrupt yourself on ice cream and lilos can sometimes be few and far between. Here, we’ve compiled a list of five tips to help you plan a family holiday on a budget.

1. Flexibility is key.

Researching and comparing different holiday types, holiday durations and airports online is one of the best ways to find a bargain. There are also a variety of websites that can help you out in your quest for saving money and finding cheap holidays, even over the impending Easter break. Be flexible and you will find a great deal.

2. Use a budget planner.

If you want to afford more than a postcard on your family holiday, you need to budget and save. Using an online budget planner will help you sort out what you are spending and where you can save money. Lose the luxuries now and treat yourself when you’re surrounded by sunshine!

3. Travel to somewhere different.

Family resorts and holidays to popular countries can often work out a lot more expensive. Some destinations that may not immediately strike you as family spots can turn out to be great, with sun, sea, safety and several delicious cocktails! Be open-minded about your destination and you can find some amazing bargains.

4. Go all-inclusive or full-board.

It may work out more expensive now but, with multiple people to feed and water, choosing to go all-inclusive is a great option for families. It means you don’t need to worry about having enough spending money or dipping into your savings. More importantly, you know the kids can run to the hotel staff for an endless supply of sugar rather than you!

5. Research tourist deals.

Family days out are a must on holiday, so researching zoos, aquariums and water parks can be beneficial. Looking for tourist deals online or vouchers for excursions is a fantastic way to save money before you travel, and you don’t get hit by expensive charges when you reach your destination.

Thanks to these tips, your last minute family holiday doesn’t have to break the bank. You can manage to find a fantastic deal and plan out your break on an affordable budget. With you and your family happy, it’s time to get back on the work/life balance beam and start crossing off the days until departure!

Image credit.

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A bit of an Animal….

Dyson Animal that is. Dirty buggers.

Now, before I start this post I would like to make it known that I am not the type of person who likes to clean. No. I can think of a million more things I would rather do with my time than clean my house. I do, of course, like the end result and sometimes I can REALLY get into it and go mad with the whole thing, but for the most part, no. Cleaning isn’t my thing.

After moving from a ground floor flat to a three storey house I also discovered how much I hate vacuuming stairs. I mean. There’s no easy way of doing it is there? Balance the vacuum with your head and use the weird shaped attachment, or, use a small handheld vacuum and run out of power before you get to the top. And oh my god do our stairs attract fluff and dust and everything else two kids and two dogs can distribute around the place. Loom bands, sequins, small pieces of lego that you can’t actually see but will dig into your foot like a razor blade? Check. I always said I needed two vacuums, one for downstairs up, and one for upstairs down. But you know, never actually got round to it. Until, last month, the new Dyson Animal DC41 available from John Lewis arrived on my doorstep. Queue lots of excitement from C, he’s definitely not his mothers son, that kid *loves* cleaning for me!

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Once the beast was put together (it’s not really a beast, it’s just what we nicknamed it, cos we’re crazy like that) I obviously had to road test it. Now, it was late February when it arrived (ish) so I was already starting the little spring clean I like to do each year, nothing mental, but it involves getting the bloke to change the entire front room round for me so it feels lighter, brighter and more ready for sunshine. We fluff up the sofa and cushions, dust everywhere (nearly wrote everyone then, that would be interesting) get rid of wintery stuff and replace it with spring like goodies. The heavy scented candles go away and I gently hint about the room needing some pretty flowers to brighten the place up. That kind of thing.

So, I’d already given the whole living room a serious vacuum, as much as I dislike cleaning, I’m not going to live in filth, so when furniture moves I am right there sucking up every last bit of dust before it’s replaced. After using the Animal for 5 mins downstairs, I wondered if maybe I’d vacuumed with a toy instead. The amount of  crap it picked up was incredible! Which then meant I had to do the entire house just to make sure it was clean!

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The animal isn’t the lightest of vacuums, but it’s a hell of a lot lighter than my other one, and the huge rollerball in the middle meant it swivelled off in all sorts of directions without even a grunt of effort. The size of the ball does mean you can’t get under furniture but that’s where one of the many attachments would come in handy. It switches between carpet and wood easily and the lead stretches to 9 metres before you have to hunt down another plug socket. The suction power on it is insane (it boasts the strongest suction, largest bin capacity and longest cable length of all Dyson upright vacuums) I was giving the downstairs loo a quick once over and it was still on max, which meant I was practically stuck to the floor! It really does live up the Dyson name, I know so many people who say they wouldn’t look at another vacuum, but being so expensive (albeit worth it) it’s not something everyone can invest in outright. Owning this baby now, I can see why people love them. I’m also imagining I’ll save a fortune on vacuum cleaner repairs as it doesn’t seem to be a brand that crumbles after a few uses!

The DC41 Animal comes with a Tangle-free Turbine tool. It’s meant to be the only turbine tool that doesn’t tangle, with counter-rotating heads with brushes remove hair and dirt from carpets and upholstery. There’s no brush bar for hair to wrap around. But, I have serious amounts of hair, and it has got wrapped around the bristles but that’s nothing new, I just grab the scissors and cut it out!

So, back to the one vacuum upstairs, one down, the Animal is living downstairs with us, where we use it on the whole downstairs, the stairs, the 1st floor (yes, I know I sound like I live in a mansion but I really don’t!) and then it goes all the way up to the top. If for some reason H decides she wants to vacuum her room (NEVER going to happen) she grabs the oldie out of the cupboard up there to save time.

Look at me, cleaning-phobe and I’m in love with a vacuum. Who would have though it!

Disclosure: I received the Dyson Animal Upright Vacuum for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions and images are my own!

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