UK Degustabox April 2017 – Unboxing Vlog & Review

With no obvious seasonal theme I wasn’t sure what to expect from the April Degustabox*, which I personally think makes it just that little bit more exciting. As usual Aria and I opened it together and filmed an unboxing video while scoffing some of the contents to provide a review of sorts.

We were happy with the contents of the box, bit of a shock but Aria’s favourite wasn’t the chocolate! She loved the Seabrook Lattice crisps, as did I, but my ultimate favourite had to be the Machu Picchu flavour Dorset Cereal. The crunch of the nuts and the hint of coffee is the perfect way to start the morning, or it would be if I wasn’t doing SlimFast right now!

The Nothing But fruit snacks were nice, but the packs were very much full of air and the majority of the contents had crumbled during transit. Another stand out product was the Doisy & Dam’s Quinoa, Smoked Tea & Vanilla chocolate, it had a very intriguing taste and I kinda liked it. Don’t get me wrong, it is never going to beat a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk for me, but it is a nice change if you fancy mixing things up now and then.

Onto the pricing, the products and prices on my content card were :

  • Seabrook Lattice – £1.50
  • POLO Sugar Free Pot – £1.49
  • CELIA Organic Lager – £2.49
  • Garofalo Whole Wheat Penne Pasta – £2.19
  • GOOD HEMP Hemp Seed Hearts – £4.49
  • Dorset Cereals – £4.89
  • Doisy & Dam’s Quinoa, Smoked Tea & Vanilla Chocolate – £1.75
  • Nothing But – 2 x £1.20
  • Whitworths Full of Super – £1.50
  • VIPnuts – £1.25

Total box contents £23.95

I also received a bottle of Fentiman’s Grapefruit tonic water which isn’t showing on my card, I can only assume that this is an alternative to the lager in the box. This is priced at £2.99 which would mean that the alternative box is priced at £24.45 – two fantastic value boxes this month.

If you fancy trying Degustabox for yourself sign up here and get your first box for £5.99, plus free delivery and a bonus item.

*I receive the Degustabox each month in exchange for an honest review*

*Contains affiliate link*

Chasing the Instagram Dream with Trespass

Developing the perfect instagram account isn’t easy, it takes time, effort and good shoes. Yes, you read that right, if you want the picture perfect instagram account you need to be prepared to climb places that you wouldn’t normally climb, go off the beaten track, therefore good shoes are most definitely an essential.

The Merse Women’s Waking Boots from Trespass* fit the bill perfectly and have become my go to instagram photo hunting footwear of choice. The walking boots are sturdy with a good grip and ankle support, which is very much a requirement when climbing up slippy slope-y hills and climbing over fallen trunks and twigs.

A blog review of women's walking boots from Trespass

Ain’t no tree stopping me with these bad boys on! I discovered the importance of instagram footwear on our most recent photography mission, when we decided to find a bluebell wood and I (stupidly) wore my Vans. We found the bluebells, up the top of a very steep hill. I struggled to get up said steep hill, I slipped and stumbled, at times I bum shuffled because my footwear just was not good enough for where we were. Bum shuffling in a forest is not good, I now have a hole in my trousers, RIP comfy trousers.

bluebell wood in sor brook, Pontypool/Cwmbran

As you can see the bluebells were gorgeous but it was terribly difficult to climb, wearing my new go to instagram trainers would have made this shoot a whole lot easier. Judging by the looks of the above photo I think that Spencer, my (not so) glamorous instagram assistant could also do with a pair of snazzy walking boots like mine.

blog review of trespass merse pink women's walking boots

Watch out instagram – me and my new walking boots are gonna walk all over you!

And if you’re wondering, it was worth it, I got THE shot.

Check out the full range of women’s walking boots available at Trespass here.

*Disclosure – I received the walking boots in exchange for blog coverage*

Exploring the Wetlands with Bax and Bay

We were recently sent a few items from Bax and Bay for review, items included their waxed cotton changing rucksack, The Zack, a Mama Fox sweater and the cutest little Fox Cub sweater. With new items to try out and photos that needed taking we decided to head to Newport Wetlands for a family day out / photo shoot.

Family photo at Newport Wetlands - Mother and Daughter are wearing matching mama fox and fox cub sweaters from Bax and Bay - a review

The Wetlands, based in Nash Road, Newport is an RSPB site, and with a visitor centre, cafe, play area, lots of walks and wildlife it is a the perfect family day out. It ticks all the boxes for us as we got to go for a nice walk, Aria got to spot some birds and I got a pretty backdrop for my photos. Winning.

Mama Fox and Fox cub sweaters from Bax and Bay - a review

Aria and I love our matching Mama Fox and Fox Cub sweaters. They are great quality and a lovely fit. Aria’s is a hoody style sweater which she loves, this girl is a huge fan of walking around with her hands in pockets and also stashing items in said pockets. We did think it was a shame that they don’t stock a matching men’s jumper, well I did, Spencer was actually relieved as, unlike me, he finds the whole matching clothing thing a little cringe!

fox cub hooded sweater for two year old from Bax and Bay review

We’ve been looking for a practical rucksack changing bag for a little while, now that Aria is walking and we don’t always have the pushchair with us we wanted a more practical bag that didn’t fall off our shoulders and hit Aria in the face when we bent to pick her up mid strop. Not that that ever happened of course…

a review of the zack rucksack unisex changing bag from Bax and Bay

The Zack bag from Bax and Bay suits our needs perfectly. It is functional and unisex but doesn’t compromise on style. The inside of the bag is bright orange and it comes with a thick changing mat and a bottle insulator. There are two stretchy inside pockets which are perfect for storing the nappies and other changing essentials like cream and nappy bags and another smaller pocket on the outside of the bag which is the perfect size for a mobile phone. I would prefer an easier to release clasp but that really is just a matter of personal preference.

the Zach unisex changing bag from Bax and Bay comes with a bright orange portable changing mat and a bottle insulator

The portable changing mat that comes with the bag is nicely padded which makes it ideal for impromptu outdoor changes!

Bax and Bay are a relatively new Scottish based company specialising in multi-functional changing bags and clothing.

*Disclosure – the Bax and Bay items were sent to us in exchange for a feature*

Butlin’s Just For Tots Week Minehead 2017

As part of our ambassador role for Butlin’s we recently went along to their Minehead resort for a Just For Tots week*. We went last year when Aria was just one and not yet walking and I couldn’t wait to go again now that she is older, crazier and walking.

We stayed in the beautiful West Lakes Village again, you can see my review from last year or view this year’s chalet in my fancy video. The chalets and the location are stunning, as much as we love the fun hub of Butlin’s it is so nice to escape to the peaceful chalet and surrounding area for a break. These chalets come with housekeeping as standard so you can truly relax. They even load the dishwasher each day so that you don’t have to.

There is so much to do on a Just For Tots break at Butlin’s, so much that we didn’t get to do all of it. Our favourite things to do were to sit in the pavilion and take in the various shows (favourites being Teletubbies and The Skyline Gang), wander around the fair ground, play on the slot machines and join the singing and dancing sessions. You can see more of what we got up to in this short video.

Butlin’s Just For Tots truly was magical for us, Aria came away a different child. Her confidence came on leaps and bounds while we were there, she was playing independently and making new friends, saying hiya to children in the park, even chasing one little girl around and kissing her goodbye. Aria is usually very shy and keeps herself to herself, to see her come along so much in such a short space of time was incredible.

Spending money wise we spent less than £50. All we bought was a treat one day which was milkshakes for Spencer and I and a chocolate egg for Aria, rainbow the dog for Aria’s souvenir and we spent £20 on a fairy makeover. We could have easily came away without spending a penny. We had the premium dining plan which included a delicious choice of foods for breakfast and dinner. We snook out a few pastries and pieces of fruit from the breakfast for snacks and made sandwiches for our lunches. We bought a multi-pack of water and drinks for Aria and took plenty out with us each day. Be warned though, it is very commercialised so you do have to be prepared to either spend a lot of money or say no a lot.

Would I recommend a Just For Tots break at Butlin’s?Absolutely. Aria loved it, and so did we. Though parents be warned, you may want to book a relaxing break the following week to get over it. It is full on.

A blog review of Butlin's Just For Tots in Minehead West Lake Village Chalet

Aria loved it so much she didn’t want to go home.

*Disclosure – we are Butlin’s ambassadors and received a break and the dining plan in exchange for promotion* 

A Work From Home Mam – The Reality

I had so many plans for when I became a work from home mam. I would cook from scratch daily, bake regularly and make my own bread. Aria and I would spend a lot of time crafting, and also go out on play dates at least once a week. My house would be spotless and the washing baskets would never overflow again. Who was I trying to kid!?!

The reality has been somewhat different. In fact, the only one of those things that happens on a regular basis is the bread making, and, to be completely honest, The Hairy Biker bread maker from Ideal World* makes it so easy that there is no reason I couldn’t have made my own bread back when I was working and blogging, so there is definitely no excuse not to do it now.

Review of the Hairy Bikers bread machine from Ideal World

It’s a  winner though, and I am glad that this is one of the few things that I actually do. Aria loves the bread maker, she sits on the worktop watching it, giggling when it kneads the bread and mimicking the whirring noises as the machine does it’s thing. I’ve yet to get her to eat the actual bread but getting her to eat most things is a challenge, except stock cubes of course (see facebook for more on this particular subject!). Spencer and I on the other hand absolutely love the beautiful, thick doorstop bread fresh from the machine. Getting used to it has taken a while, the paddle got stuck in the bread on the first few attempts but a good coating of oil on it seems to have solved that problem now.

As with most things in life I love to cut corners which is what makes the Hairy Biker’s bread maker perfect for me. I’ve decided to ignore the booklet full of recipes that comes with the machine and just buy ready made bread mixes. I simply measure out the required amount of water and pour it into the machine followed by the bread mix, close the lid and press go. As simple as that. Around three hours later I have a delicious loaf of super fresh and tasty bread. Winning.

blog review of the hairy bikers bread maker from ideal world

As for the crafts, well I was a bit clever there, I know that I always put crafts off so I signed up to become a Bostik Blogger which means that I HAVE to do crafts with Aria at least once a month. It is usually a last minute panic a few days before (or on the day of!) the deadline but she loves it all the same. My crafts are made with a lot of help from Aria so they never look great but believe me when I say that Aria puts a lot of effort into them and yes, I get incredibly frustrated watching her do them, especially when she sticks eyes on bums and that type of thing. It takes a lot to stay strong and not take over.

toddler crafting - the realities of a work from home mam

I dreamed of having weekends and evenings off when I become a work from home mam, and I do tend to take weekends off which is lovely. As for the evenings they are usually spent on the ‘gram, although I do try and stick to a posting schedule of Sunday – Thursday so that I get some evenings off. I’m putting a lot more in now and as a result I am getting a lot more out. My Instagram feed is nicely curated and my following and engagement have increased, and I’ve managed this without neglecting my blog. None of this would have been possible if I were still working part time and running a blog.

I wish I could tell you that I was now more organised with my working schedule. But that would be a lie.

And my house is still a tip. I like to spend my days off with Aria having fun, not cleaning and I like to spend my working days, well, working.

While being a work from home mam isn’t exactly what I had expected it to be, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

*Disclosure – The bread maker was sent to me in exchange for promotion*