Monday, 30 June 2014

The Heart of Our Home #KitchenTales

Our Kitchen is most definitely the heart of our home and probably the busiest room in our house! It's the first room we go to when we enter our home, hanging our coats in the cupboard and putting our shoes on the shoe-rack.

It's a space that brings all four of us together in so many different ways and acts as a gateway to our little garden where fun and games take place along with lots of gardening, bug hunting and learning about how things grow.

It's also the place where my two get creative, and sometimes a bit messy, as they make all manner of fun things. There is lots of space to play and my two terrors can be often found going round the kitchen on their scooters when the weather isn't as nice or sitting at the under-counter fridge playing with the magnets.

It's a room where we bond over food. We cook together and eat together and share what's happened in our day. We have a giggle and enjoy our meal as a family and it's a very important space that brings us all together at the end of the day.

Along with all the fun, food and family time in our kitchen comes the not so fun task of cleaning up. Fairy Platinum all in one dishwasher tablets with liquid power are fantastic for this and are great at removing grease and tough stains using a powerful cleaning action. They leave dishes sparkling clean whilst also helping to remove and prevent the build-up of grease and limescale on your dishwasher parts - full review coming soon!

This post is an entry for the "My Kitchen Story" Linky Challenge, sponsored by Fairy Platinum.

Friday, 27 June 2014

A Dream Bathroom #greatbritishhome

I've been making a good start on the decorating over the last couple of weeks; we've painted the children's rooms and I'm trying to find the time to get the hallways, kitchen, living room & our bedroom painted too! The only room I haven't had to think about is the bathroom; it's covered from floor to ceiling in tiles and I love it but it has got me thinking - what would I do if I could decorate it however I wanted?

I took the Victoria Plumb quiz which described my style as Mrs Glamorous. I'm not sure I completely agree but I'll concede that I do like a 'modern trendy bathroom' as described :)

If I could, I'd love a big corner bath with plenty of space to stretch out. It'd be filled to the rim with warm water and plenty of bubbles, of course. I'd change the layout of the bathroom too and add a combination unit, with a sink, toilet and plenty of storage! It'd make a bit more room and would mean all the bottles of shampoo, bubble bath and the likes could be hidden away from view instead of lining the edges of the bath.

As for colours, I'd go for white with bright aqua blue accents. They're fresh, clean colours but also very calming and I think they always look good in a bathroom! I'd also upgrade the towels to some luxurious 100% Egyptian Cotton; imagine stepping out of a big bubbly bath into a gorgeous bathroom and wrapped in a big soft fluffy towel! Perfect!

This is my entry for the Victoria Plumb #greatbritishhome 'dream bathroom' competition. Find out more and take part here!!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

G is for...

The last couple of years have given us a little practice at growing our own and this year is no different. We planted most of our seeds for assorted peppers, tomatoes, phlox, marigolds and sunflowers along with some sprouted garlic segments back in March. Since then we've had lots of gorgeous sunshine accompanied by some showers, the perfect conditions for growing...and our little plants have LOVED it!!

They've grown so quickly and everything has been moved into bigger pots this week. The peppers have emerged from the greenhouse and have found a new home in a much larger pot. They have begun to flower and we're expecting to see the beginning of the peppers growing soon. Our tomatoes have been following their example and have burst into bloom; our eldest's plant is also sporting the first tomato of the year! She already has plans for cheese and tomato sandwiches once it has grown and ripened :)

Everything is growing well in our garden this Summer and I'm sure a lot of it has been down to the beautiful weather we've been treated to over the last couple of months. My two terrors have been shooting up too!

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Mum's First Moments - First Cuddle

It's with great excitement that I kick off the Mum's First Moments (#MumsFirstMoments) series! I'm starting with one of my own memories of my first cuddle with my youngest and across the coming weeks and months myself and guest bloggers will be sharing a varied range of '1st time' memories from all stages of motherhood.

9 days and 8 nights. That was how long I had to wait until I could pick up our fragile little baby in my arms and hold him close, painfully longer for my Husband. I had been making do with holding hands and stroking his tummy through the constrictive holes of the incubator, watching his sleepy face through the glass until finally, after so much waiting, the NICU nurse approached and asked if I would like to hold him.

"Are you sure?" was my response. After trying to be patient for this day to come it surprised me that my first emotion was fear and apprehension. What if I knocked a cable? What if I hurt him? What if something happened while I was holding him?

After yet another handwash and application of alcohol gel I donned the oh so attractive plastic apron and gloves as I was asked to do. Feeling very nervous, I took a seat in a comfortable chair and tried to ready myself. Although our little man was strong enough for a cuddle he was still very unwell and needed that extra barrier; it felt like a bit of a barrier between us too.

It wasn't the first cuddle I had envisaged. I thought I would have him lying on my chest, skin-to-skin, and feeling nothing but joy. I was over the moon but I was terrified as I sat covered in medical equipment with him swaddled in a blanket in my arms looking no bigger than my eldest's baby dolly.

I had been staring at our little man in a plastic box since he had been born and now he was allowed to come out, and everything felt totally overwhelming. That first cuddle was incredible for so many different reasons. The first seconds were nerve-wrackingly scary and somewhat sad but I remember him snuggling in to me, turning his face towards mine and taking a brief moment to stare up into my eyes before drifting back off into a peaceful sleep in my arms. Joy flooded me and the love for him filled me to the brim. The re-assurance that he was happy and comfortable in my embrace made me feel like the proudest Mummy on the unit.

He was so tiny and fragile but so incredibly perfect. His little blue eyes matched his Daddy's, who sat next to me stroking the fine brown hair on our youngest's head. Our baby boy looked up at us with a mixture of amazement and acknowledgement of the moment. The beeping and bustling of the NICU blurred into the background, my ears listening to his breathing and soft and steady beeps of his own machines. He was here. He was ours and he was happy. And for the first time since his difficult arrival I truly smiled and let out breath.

The 'Mum's First Moments' Blogger Series is all about embracing the first moments of Motherhood. Everything from the moment you discover you're expecting, through all those pregnancy firsts, into child-birth and those first moments as a new Mum and beyond towards the big milestone 'first moments' of bringing your little bundle home, seeing that first gorgeous smile on their faces and more.

If you'd like to get involved comment below, tweet me @shay_noble or email me at for some more information :)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Paper Plate Crowns

The other week we painted some fork flowers and were left with some rather colourful paper plates that had been used as a paint tray. I left them to dry on the side for a couple of days and then used some scissors to cut around the rim of the paper plates, leaving a shape that was decided by my two in the middle.

My terrors were very impressed by their crowns and they instantly became the 'Queen of Hearts' and the 'King of Diamonds.' They spent the rest of the afternoon role-playing in the garden, it's lovely to see such fun from something so simple :)

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Back To School Challenge with NasalGuard

I'm very excited as this Summer my two terrors and I will be participating in the Back To School Challenge with NasalGuard. My eldest is starting school in September and one of my biggest worries (along with how she'll fit in, if we'll be able to keep in touch with Pre-School friends and everything else) is that she will pick up the nasty cold and flu germs that spread like wildfire at School.

NasalGuard's Cold&FluBLOCK has been designed and clinically proven to trap and repel cold and flu germs entering through the nose and is completely drug-free, making it safe for children and pregnant/nursing women to use. We're looking forward to putting it to the test and and seeing if it blocks those nasty germs!

Keep an eye out on the blog in the coming months for our review and the chance to win a NasalGuard Cold&FluBLOCK of your own, just in time for the new school year!!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Fork Flowers

I stumbled across this great idea on Pinterest (credit here) and the kids and I thought it looked like a fantastic idea!! Going back to my trusty box of crafty bits we dug out some paints, found some plastic forks in the cupboard and set to work creating.

We made dandelions and aliums using the plastic forks dipped in paint and drew on stalks with a paintbrush. We also found a spork lurking at the back of the cutlery drawer which made pretty tulips. It was great fun and my two were both very pleased with the results.  :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

F is for...

My word for 'F' had been decided for a while and with Sunday just gone being Father's Day what else could I pick but my fantastic Husband and brilliant Daddy to our two tiny terrors?!

He was there from the very first second they entered the world, took their first breaths and let out their first cries. He has stood behind them, supporting everything they do and helping when they need it, solid as stone and unfaltering. He is caring and loving and gives the biggest, bestest cuddles and he is so much fun; there are always giggles and squeals when he is home. Little monkeys with massive smiles on their faces as they run around the garden with Daddy.

He is a wonderful Daddy who works so hard; he looks after us all, makes us feel safe and loved. I could not ask for a better Father to my children. He has been incredible so far, and this is just the beginning of our family's adventures!

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Would You Like a Girl's Toy or a Boy's Toy With That?

Every now and then, maybe once or twice a month, our two hear the question I'm sure every child waits for, "Would you like a McDonald's for tea tonight?" The answer is always a resounding "YES" followed by some excitement. It's a treat for them and a big part of that is the toy they receive with their Happy Meal.

We pulled into our local McDonald's store at the weekend and made our way round the Drive-Thru. After placing our order we were met with the question "would you like a girl's toy or a boy's toy?" with each Happy Meal. How utterly ridiculous! My initial response was surprise as I thought the UK branch of McDonald's had stopped this nonsense years ago. After that, I was actually a little annoyed and my response of "How ridiculous. Why does it have to be gendered? Just chuck any toy in" was met with some bemusement by the staff member.

Image from

Why does everything have to be gendered? From clothes to toys to shoes to notepads, everything seems to be targeted at one gender or the other instead of either. What is the point of stereotyping children? To put them into neat little boxes or is there something more sinister to it? A purposeful segregation that tells little boys that have to be 'rough and tumble' and little girls they are 'pretty pink princesses'? When you really think about it, how completely silly is that?! Every child is different, they like different things and they play with different toys. Yes, some fit the stereotype but not all..why should they? Why can't toys be just! Why must they be tailored to 'suit' each gender? It's utterly ridiculous.

Toys are there to be played with and the idea that they are gender specific can limit children's play and learning and, to be completely honest, is so outdated it puts me off a brand entirely. There are many shops I avoid buying from due to their gender stereotyping in store, Clarks being the perfect example. Have you seen their ridiculous 'throw-back' advertising lately?

It isn't the choices McDonald's are offering that bugs me, if you ignore the entirely pink range of Hello Kitty toys (another bugbear of mine) it all feels pretty gender neutral and they offer a good choice for the kids. It's the insinuation that one set of toys are for the girls and the other for the boys that really gets to me. It would much simpler to ask "would you like Hello Kitty or Hot Wheels?" instead, giving children an actual choice of what they want to play with instead of trying to cram them into a little box full of stereotypes based on their gender.

Have you encountered gender stereotyping in McDonald's or other stores recently? What do you think to it? Are you interested in banishing these stereotypes from our children's world's? Check out the fantastic Let Toys Be Toys Campaign!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

#SilentSunday - 12

Growing Our Own: June Update

We've been very grateful for all of the gorgeous, sunny weather we've had throughout May and into June. It's been warm and lovely, despite a few days of rain, and all of us have loved being able to get outside and enjoy the garden.

We're not the only ones that have been revelling in the warmer weather though...our little seeds seem to have enjoyed it too! After a couple of weeks of inaction, they have sprung to life and lots of miniature marigold and phlox seedlings have pushed their way up through the compost in their peat-pots. The sunflowers are doing well too and my little terrors are incredibly excited!!

Our assorted peppers are well established now. They are beginning to look as if they will be ready to come out of the green-house and into the big pot I have waiting for them in the garden by the end of the month.

The tomato plants that were living at my Mum's have now taken up residence in our garden and are thriving. They have a few flowers on them and are ready to be planted, they're just waiting for me to tidy up the borders a little.

I found a beautiful royal red buddleia for just a few pounds in my local Supermarket which is also awaiting the tidy up. I have a great spot for it and, along with our neighbour's purple buddleia that overlooks our garden, should attract lots more butterflies and bees into our little patch of green.

I've also been growing garlic from some leftover cloves which is going rather well (look out for a "how to" post in the near future!). They've shot up well and seem very happy on the windowsill in their little yoghurt pots.

Everything is growing nicely and we've been doing quite a bit of work on our garden recently too; I can't wait for Summer when it should be finished, full of beautiful flowers and looking lovely. Fingers crossed this gorgeous weather sticks around too!

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Introducing the "Mum's First Moments" Blogger Series! #mumsfirstmoments

I'm very excited to introduce you to my new blogger series, "Mum's First Moments!" It's all about embracing and sharing the first moments of motherhood and will be a weekly feature on my blog.

Myself, guest bloggers and you (if you'd like to join in, see below) will be sharing our first moments; everything from the positive pregnancy test letting you know you're expecting, through all those pregnancy firsts, into child-birth and those first moments as a new Mum and beyond towards the big milestone 'first moments' of bringing your little bundle home, seeing that first gorgeous smile on their faces and so much more.

If you'd like to get involved please get in touch. Leave a comment here, tweet me @shay_noble or email me at for some more information :)

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC - 12

My biggest reason to be cheerful, excited and perhaps a little nervous this week was the launch of my new blogger series! Mum's First Moments is about embracing and sharing the first moments of motherhood; everything from the moment you discover you are expecting, through all the pregnancy firsts, the first moments after your little one makes their arrival and beyond. If you'd like to guest blog please get in touch, either on here, twitter or by emailing :)

My Husband and I rarely get to go out on our own. With two little ones it can be very difficult to make the time for us and the guilt of leaving them with other people (something I need to start dealing with I think) can get in the way too. We had a lovely trip down to the Cinema last night to watch X-Men: Days of Future Past in 3D and it was really nice to be able to go out as a couple again.

We've had some gorgeous weather recently and all the flowers in our garden have been bursting into bloom. My Rose of Sharon, that runs the length of our fence, has come out in beautiful yellow flowers all the way along and it looks so pretty. My two have been outside enjoying the garden for most of the week and I'm loving sitting out in the sunshine with all the flowers coming out too :)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Mr Nutcase Review & Discount Code for my Readers

Mr Nutcase are an online supplier of personalised phone cases. They put the quality of their cases first whilst offering a large range of manufacturers and models to chose from, including iphone, ipod, ipad, blackberry, samsung and htc cases and many more besides.

I created my phonecase on their website, It was very user-friendly with a wide selection of manufacturers and models to chose from. There was even a handy preview of my phone choice so I could check I definitely had the right one before I started creating.

The case was easy to customise with various layouts/designs to chose from. It took a little while to upload the images but they were very easy to 'add' to my case using a drag and drop feature. I was also able to zoom in and out of the images until everything was 'just right.' You can also add text, clipart and a background colour to your case.

When I was finished playing around with my images, I had a quick preview of my case to check it all looked good and then ordered. My case arrived very quickly, just 2 days after I had ordered it!! It was in a bubble-wrap lined jiffy bag which fitted through the letterbox easily.

The phone case looks great! I'm very pleased with it and the photos have printed perfectly (although they're not quite as bright as they were on the PC). They are clear and true to the original images I uploaded and aren't blurry or pixelated. The case has a matte finish which I was initially unsure of, it looks great but I did wonder if it would scratch easily. I needn't have worried though; my phone gets quite a lot of use throughout the day and has been jumbled around in my handbag and admired by my little ones and there isn't a single scratch in sight!

The case I ordered was an 'Ultra Light Weight Slimline' one and it fits onto my phone perfectly, leaving plenty of space for the various buttons and ports along the edges of my phone. I've had trouble in the past with phone cases unclipping themselves and falling off but this isn't the case with my Mr Nutcase one. It clips on perfectly and stays on. The Slimline case also means it doesn't feel bulky in my hand and doesn't look like an obvious 'extra' on my phone.

Overall, I'm very happy with my Mr Nutcase phone case. It was very easy to create on a user-friendly website and the price of £14.95 is very reasonable for a personalised case, especially when you factor in the free worldwide delivery! The case has a very good quality finish and feels I've had lots of compliments on it and my two terrors love pointing out themselves in the pictures ;)


Do you fancy one of your own? Maybe a custom iphone case covered with your favourite pictures? Or maybe a great, personalised gift for Father's Day? Mr Nutcase are kindly offering my readers a brilliant 10% off when you use the code "Thanku10"!!

Disclaimer : I was sent a personalised phone case from Mr Nutcase in exchange for an honest review. All photos, thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

E is for...

My little man was off Pre-School for most of last week with Chicken Pox. In an attempt not to pass it on to anyone (we failed at this one - my Nephew is covered in spots too!) we spent most of the days at home and in the garden and took the opportunity to spend the rare 1-to-1 time having some fun making things together. Among the crafts we enjoyed was this sweet little card elephant, later named 'Ellie' by her creator :)

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