|FUN|15+ fabulous 'forest school' type activities



As I've mentioned many times before, we're spending more time outdoors as a family, we are always looking for fun outdoors things to do, looking for something just that little bit different, I turned to the blogging community, who didn't let me down with these wonderful posts!  I know we'll be trying most if not all of these over the coming months, there really is something for everyone here, and if that's not enough, there's a post at the bottom from Kiddy Charts with even more ideas. 

|REVIEW|the diamonds, the dagger and the classy dame Murder Mystery dinner party game



So, has anyone ever arranged a murder mystery night before?  It's something we've been wanting to do for ages but it's just never happened.

We're currently trying to organise one with our friends and we've been sent the Inspector McClue Murder mystery dinner party game 'The Diamonds, The Dagger and One Classy Dame' to review. 

|FAMILY|Oxford Castle Unlocked



A couple of weeks ago, we were very lucky to be invited to visit Oxford Castle Unlocked, we were booked onto the tour which lasts 1 hour and for T to attend a ‘Knight school’.

|GIVEAWAY|Mokuru fidget spinner RRP £15.90



Has the fidget spinner craze hit your house yet?  Do you have a fidgeter would benefit from a high quality alternative design fidget spinner?  Well this might be the giveaway for you! 

Post contains an affiliate link. 


I have 3 Mokuru fidget spinners to giveaway to 3 people, these new fidget spinners are big in Japan and are crafted out of beech wood, available in many colours the simple design tests the dexterity of fidgeters.   If you'd rather get your hands on one now, I've added the Amazon link for you above šŸ˜Š



Pocket sized and suitable for children and adults alike these sleek and stylish fidget spinners are now distributed in the UK and Ireland exclusively by Peterkin.

There are fakes out there so take care to make sure it’s a real MOKURU. 

This giveaway is open to over 18 year old UK applicants I'm afraid and is only open for 1 week!  Make sure you get your entry in now šŸ˜‰.  Ensure you complete all mandatory entry methods to avoid being disqualified. 3 winners will be selected on Monday 21 August. 

Good luck, LšŸ’•

a Rafflecopter giveaway

|GIVEAWAY|gel-a-peel kit and sunglasses



Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.

This summer if you are heading out to a festival or summer day out your children are going to love the Gel-a-Peel pearly pastel kit.

I'm working with Gel-a-Peel to bring you this great, creative giveaway, we are also including a pair of sunglasses for you to decorate, see the designs below to give you an idea of what you could create.







The set includes 3 tubes of gel and design templates to make necklaces and bracelets.

You can find full Gel-a-peel details and 'How To's' on the following social media accounts:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Make sure you complete all mandatory entry methods for your entry to be valid.  Leave the answer to the question in comments below, good luck L šŸ’•

a Rafflecopter giveaway

|FOOD|25+ family breakfast ideas



Do you ever find yourself having the same breakfasts over and over again because you can't think what else to have?  We do so I turned to my blogging friends to ask them what their favourite healthy family breakfasts are.  There are some brilliant suggestions here, I hope it gives you some inspiration for the school holidays or for nice family weekends :)

|FOOD|avocado on toast


Avocado on toast
by Leandra Bramham
Prep Time: 5-10 mins
 
 
Ingredients (Serves 1)
  • 2 slices multigrain bread
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 7 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 dsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli's
  • Juice from 1/2 lime

|BRAND NEW ME|July healthy favourites



Whilst starting on my new lifestyle I've found loads of things which are good for my wellbeing, handy for meal prep, or just downright delicious!  I thought I'd do a monthly round-up of new discoveries, to share and hopefully inspire you too. I know I like discovering new products and I hope you do too. I've even thrown in something I tried and didn't like this month too.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.



The food will mostly be vegan, vegetarian or plant based, and any beauty and cleaning items will be cruelty free.



1. 5 blade spiralizer
This has been a godsend to me, my little hand spiralizer is ok but when I'm spiralizing for a salad, I need something more heavy duty like this.

 

 2. Pukka lemon, ginger & manuka honey tea
Although I'm mostly dairy free and plant based now, i do still eat honey, I drink this tea daily now since I've stopped having regular tea with milk. The lemon and ginger is really strong and the kick of honey adds just the amount of sweetness not to need any sugar.

 

 3. Wax melt warmer
I really love having a wax melt on the warmer especially when the house is nice and clean and tidy, it  helps with my wellbeing and general anxiety.

 

 4. Himalayan salt lamp
There's so much in the media about the effectiveness of these and whether they can actually cleanse the air of negative ions when they are this size. It's completely riven that larger lamps can cleanse the air but I think the jury is still out on these smaller ones. Nevertheless it's still one of my favourite things. The gentle glow is so relaxing and the colour is beautiful, so even if that's all it does, I'm happy!

 

 5. Aroma diffuser
I find calming all of my senses helps tremendously with managing my anxiety, making sure I always have the diffuser on in our bedroom with an essential oil mix, really helps me relax, unwind and meditate before bed.



6.Avocado on toast!
Oh my gosh, considering I eat avocados at least once a week, I cannot believe that I'd never tried this before, so I have it a go last week and it was the MOST amazing thing ever!  Here's my recipe.

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=285363592

7. Violife vegan cheese
Cheese has been one of the most difficult swaps for me on my dairy free journey, I've tried so many different types of dairy free cheese, and they were all vile until I found Violife! Even T and The Hubs eat this one, it's just a shame it's so much more expensive than regular cheese! 
https://www.aldi.co.uk/raw-cacao-brownie-bars/p/073330140346700
8. Aldi The foodie market, Peanut and choc chip brownie bar
These bars are absolutely divine, I keep these at work to have in meetings when everyone else is tucking into cakes and biscuits. I'm yet to get T or The Hubs to try them, but that just means there's even more for me!

And one thing I'm not loving at all this month!

Menstural mooncup
So I had this crazy idea to try a mooncup each month instead of using more 'conventional sanitary products.  Well without going into too much information, I just couldn't get on with it, I don't know, I might try again next month but sadly I don't think that these are for me! 

What are you loving this month?  Let me know on comments so I can discover some more new things! 
Much love, L šŸ’•

|FAMILY|Holiday Moments with Truprint



What are your favourite holiday moments?  Do you have scrapbooks filled with photo’s, tickets and memorabilia? Do you have album’s stuffed with photo’s? Or like most of mine, are they all on your cloud, camera, laptop or mobile phone?

|REVIEW|despicable me 3 cutlery and tableware from Arthur Price

LarabeeUK - DM3 Arthur price 1

Have you seen the new Despicable Me 3 film yet?  We absolutely loved it, it's definitely going to be the film of the summer in our house and T is swiftly collecting bits of merchandise where he can!

We were sent the Sea of Minions children's Tablewear set and Expressions Cutlery set from Arthur Price to review, Aurther Price are a family run business who have been making and supplying cutlery for over 100 years here in the UK, even supplying to The Royal Family no less! 

|REVIEW|Vac man

LarabeeUK - vac man photo 1

At Christmas The Hubs decided he wanted to get T a Stretch Armstrong, he thought it would be nice for T to have some of the toys from his childhood. 

Stretch was a bit hit and very popular when T received it and the fact that he has the same toy as Daddy had was very exciting to him. 

|FAMILY|20+ essentials to remember when camping

LarabeeUK - 20+ camping essentials 1

Despite hoping we'd get lots of camping in this year, it's just not happened with one thing and another, and I'm literally chomping at the bit to get out and camp!  I've been putting together my own checklist for when we do camp and so I asked some Blogging friends to hit me with their camping essentials.

|REVIEW|spy gear ultimate ninja night vision goggles



As an amateur ghost hunter, I've used a fair share of night vision goggles in my time, ranging from phone apps to handy cam attachments to expensive specifically designed cameras. So of course, when these Spy Gear Ultimate Ninja Night Vision Goggles turned up for T to review, I had to have a little go myself first and to be honest, I'm blown away!!

|BRAND NEW ME|6 months into my healthy lifestyle



Six months ago I made the decision that I really need to start seriously improving my health and improve my lifestyle, I have many ailments and illnesses and need to go on more medication if I am unable to improve my diet and health. I already take 4 lots of medication a day and my ultimate goal would be to get off of those completely too, but for now I'm focusing on keeping off of anything new!  I've had ups and many, many downs but I'm actually feeling really positive at the moment. 

|REVIEW|Sambro minions backpack

LarabeeUK - Sambro backpack 1

Football club, dance academy, sports crew, taekwondo, swimming lessons, since T started school last year, there's always a club to pack for!  In the past year we've been careful not to let him join literally every, single club available otherwise, I'd be spending all my time running him from one place to another! 

As some of these clubs are on the same day and during school hours, we are constantly challenged with finding enough suitable bags to take along the relevant change of clothes or supplies needed for each club. 

|FAMILY|6 tips for a first time school Mum (and reflections on my first year!)



And so in a flash, T has finished his first year of school.

This year has been a rollercoaster for all of us, I don't think The Hubs and I really appreciated how different it would be from him going to nursery. The older 2 went to their school nursery so for them in was just a case of going to a new classroom with their existing friends so the transition wasn't that difficult for them. 

For T, it was a complete change, no longer seeing friends and nursery staff he'd seen every day for the past 4 years and going to a school where he knew 2 children out of the 42 in the school, one was in his class but he didn't know him very well. The other in the older class and luckily knew very well. 

This year was a bit of a change for me too, changing my hours and working school hours only, trying to fit in shopping trips and errands into a half hour lunch. Loosing all day Friday to play with my baby. You know what?  I like it much more, I love finishing at 2.45 and picking T up from school. But the biggest change for me?  Making friends with other Mum's and joining in with school activities. 

Before T started school, I heard all the bad stories about playground cliques and parent bullying and knew I wanted no part of it at all, as far as I was concerned I was there for my little boy, not to make friends and I wanted nothing to do with the bitchyness associated with what goes on in the playground.  

So I prepared myself on the first day, put my big girl pants on and headed down to the gates, yes there were people standing in groups together chatting but there were others standing alone. Should I try and be friendly to someone standing alone too, I thought to myself?  Then I thought, no they probably are happy keeping themselves to themselves just like me. 



And on it went like this for at least the first term, this for me was a huge result, I was being left alone parent would smile and pass the time of day but nothing more. This was just perfect for me. 

Then we received a letter about the parent teacher group and about the 'Friends of' group. I'd always said I wanted to be involved with T's schooling and so I attended both meetings. In my second 'Friends of' meeting I even offered to be the treasurer, I still don't know what possessed me to do that but I'm so very glad I did now. 



After a few weeks T was invited to children's houses to play or to stay after school and join in a game of football in the park. Which meant more small talk and speaking to other Mum's. Before long I realised that I looked forward to turning up at school, I enjoyed speaking to the other Mum's and having a chat and laugh, drinking tea whilst the children were playing. 

And then I was invited out by one of the Mum's who was getting married. There were only 4 of us from school but we had such a fun night, and I realised that although we were all very different, in age, in lifestyle, in nature, we too were all very similar, we all liked a drink, we all swore like troupers, we were all very honest and we just clicked. 

We went on to arrange a Father's Day football tour name to together, where the husbands all met for the first time and have had subsequent other events where we've all got together culminating with a little picnic on the green yesterday afternoon when the kids finished school. 



I wouldn't say I was worried about it back in September, but I was very guarded and thought I didn't want to make new friends. But I'm oh so glad I did. Not only do I now have a lovely group of friends that I can call on anytime, I've become closer again to a neighbour with whom we'd drifted from a bit. There are also many other Mum's who I have a chat with or cup of tea with, not necessarily whom I'd consider friends but who are lovely and friendly.   I don't really think we could be considered a clique, we welcome anyone in as long as you don't mind the swearing, drinking and probably a bit TIM about monthly cycles and tummy issues šŸ˜‚

I thought I'd put together some tips from what I learned in my experience, I know I would have benefitted from this before I became a playground Mum. 

1. Don't automatically assume there will be bitchyness. I listened to too many peoples horror stories so went into the playground always on guard and ready for a fight. In reality (for our school at least) there's none of this at all. 

2. Some people don't have time to make friends, there really are some people who don't want to talk or who really are too busy to talk and that's their prerogative. I've seen some of the more outgoing parents 'bothering'  people like this and they look so uncomfortable, let people come out of their shell in their own time. 

3. As a new parent don't go in thinking you are going to take over the playground, I've seen this happen this year and it was painful. You are walking into established friendships, sit back, mind your own business and you'll be invited in try and bull your way in is a sure fire way of being pushed out. 

4. Don't judge before you get to know someone. Oh god I'm so terrible at this, the Mum who's always on the phone, I found in our playground, she's actually a surgeon, the calls she takes literally are life or death. 

5. Not all groups are cliques, the definition of clique is 'Small group of people often with shared interests who associate closely and exclude others from their group' from my experience everyone is very welcoming as long as you don't try to muscle your way in. I flit about  our few groups I have people I talk to in all, do I get invited for coffee with the 'fit Mum's group'? no, but that's fine we're all have time for each other in the play ground. Have I invited someone from the 'football Mum's group' to a picnic over arranged with someone from the 'Friends of group' no?  But you know what? If they asked we'd tell them as long as they don't mind our potty mouths they are more than welcome. 

6. Let's face it, enjoying a cuppa and a chat makes kids parties sooooo much easier! 

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, don't listen to the tales of woe, sit back, take it all in and then make your own judgement. And if the chairman of the Friends committee asks you out for coffee, go, it might just lead to meeting some wonderful new friends. 



And if you end up like 'Bad Moms' you've cracked it!!!

Much love L šŸ’•



|HEALTH|how pure potions skin salvation healed my sons eczema



Both T and I suffer from Ezcema, mine swings from very mild to being covered practically all over, luckily my more severe outbreaks are few and far between. T has a more regular eczema, he's always red and itchy in patches but he does flare up quite regularly, football socks being a usual trigger culprit!  We've tried lots of natural products on him but the only thing that seemed to work and clear up his skin were steroids and as much as we wanted his skin to clear up, at the same time we really didn't want him to have to use steroids daily to keep his skin clear. 

We were sent Skin salvation cream, bath oil and tea tree rescue salve from Pure Potions to review and although I was hopeful, I felt as though it would have been a miracle if T's skin could be controlled by completely natural, reasonably priced products. 

I've been wanting to give these a good couple of months use before writing my review as I know all too well how ezcema can be alleviated with a new product, only to return within weeks worse than ever once the skin got used to it. 

We've now been using for over 3 months so I feel comfortable that these products are actually working and T is completely steroid free!

Pure potions products are not tested on animals and contain all natural products, which as you know are massive plus points for me, they are also incredibly reasonably priced. 

So... how did we get on? 

Here were his legs before we started using the cream and bath oil, this is the start of a flare up for him as you can see brought on by his football socks rubbing, this would usually have got far worse before it got better with using the steroid cream, the doctors have suggested this would not be the case if we continued to use the steroid every day in key areas, like here. However, we really didn't want his body to become accustomed to the medication like that. 



And here are his legs after *1 WEEK* of applying the cream twice a day and using the bath oil twice. Honestly, I couldn't believe it, we actually had better results with this cream that we have with the steriod cream and since applying it daily and using the oil every now and then he's been completely clear for over 3 months. 



As you can see it's completely cleared and there's absolutely no scarring. 

If you are worried about using a strong medication for your children (or you!) I'd really recommend using this product, we do have to make it through the winter but I'm confident that if we can manage his skin now, we'll be able to continue applying daily and prevent flare-ups and unlike the steroid, I don't mind apply this natural product every day. 


Skin salvation tea tree rescue balm is £4.65
Skin salvation bath and body emollient oil is £12.99
all available direct from Pure Potions



|BEAUTY|Peachy Fox Anti Redness Cream



After I had T, my skin changed so much and I developed a very mild rosacea around my mouth and nose, this meant that I have been having to wear a BB cream to balance my skin a little more which is something I've never had to do before unless I was going out.


When I saw this anti redness cream from Peachy Fox I knew I wanted to try it and see if it would just tone down my redness and allow me to stop having to wear the BB cream.

|FAMILY|10 great reasons to get your family outdoors



This year we have spent June making a more concerted effort to get outdoors everyday as a family and take part in the #30dayswild challenge.

So far we've managed to be pretty successful and with lots of items on our Family Wild List still to cross off, we have lots to keep us busy for the second half of the year.


|GIVEAWAY|Wild science! Perfume factory



Today we have an awesome little giveaway for you.

Just in time for the school holidays, we have this fabulous perfume factory kit to sent to one lucky winner. 

|BRAND NEW ME|getting back on track - healthy eating



This past weekend we went for dinner with a friend who has recently lost a lot of weight, he followed a plan and exercise program and has lost 3 stone in 10 weeks. Enevitiblty we started talking about healthy eating and exercise and the subject of having a 'treat' or falling off the wagon was raised. Our friend explained that he learned something which was fundamental to his success whilst on this program. 

He learned not to punish himself if his healthy eating plan slipped. 

|REVIEW|air hogs jet rocket review



'Don't jump too hard' I said 'I'm not spending all afternoon recovering the rocket from neighbours gardens' I said!  After 10 minutes playing with the Air hogs jet rocket guess what was I doing?


|FOOD|simple & delicious tomato salad



This salad is absolutely heavenly!  I feel a bit of a fraud calling it a 'recipe' because it's not really, but if you are looking for a light, refreshing, simple salad this one is for you. The ingredients used here are for 1 person for a meal, serves 2 as a side salad or 4 as a side dish. 

Use the best quality produce you can get your hands on for better results, if you can use homegrown tomatoes all the better! 



Tomato salad
by Leandra Bramham
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: None


Ingredients (1 serving main meal, 2 side di)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 6 cherry plum tomatoes
  • 1 beefsteak tomato
  • About 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 2tbs extra virgin olive oil, the best you can afford
  • Pink Himalayan salt (or any rock salt, ground)
  • Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
1. Chop beefsteak and garden tomatoes into bite sized pieces, cut cherry tomatoes in half.
2. Tear basil into small pieces
3. Drench tomatoes and basil with olive oil
4. Add salt and pepper and give a good toss
5. Enjoy!!
Powered by Recipage

 

|ORGANISE|my wellbeing bullet journal 'style' planner pages



July is just going to be manic for us, and I'm really worried that balls are going to start dropping and my stress and anxiety levels will increase. With this in mind I'm getting myself sorted and am making sure my planner for the month is all ready so no excuses for not being organised!   I know for sure this will help ease the busyness in my mind!

|REVIEW|family games night with 5 second rule jr



Lately we have been trying to find alternative family activities to do after dinner and before bed. We had got into a bit of a rut where T started watching too much TV/iPad at this time so The Hubs and I could get on with a few jobs. We've now made the conscious decision to have an hour or so family time before T's bedtime now. One of our favourite things to do is play board games. 

|OUT AND ABOUT|turbo peddlers at Willen lake

 

A couple of weeks ago we headed down the road (20 miles) to Willen lake, we wanted to let T have his first proper bike ride around the lake so before we left I had a quick look to see how much the parking was and saw the new turbo racers, we thought that T might like these too, so headed to MK and picked up the MIL.

|FAMILY|my dream pet with Petplan

 

We were contacted by Petplan recently and invited to join in their Dream Pet campaign, where T could draw his dream pet and Petplan would have it made into a soft toy for him. 

The brief encouraged the children to use their imagination and come up with the weirdest, and most fantastic dream pet that they could. 

|BRAND NEW ME|oyster eye brightening serum *giveaway*

 

Who can't do with some extra help with anti-aging?  At 42 I'm now starting to get fine lines around my eyes and the fact I suffer from insomnia is shown in the dark circles I heavily conceal every day.  I was very grateful when I was offered the opportunity to try an new vegan eye serum as I am always on the look out for new products to improve my skincare routine and cheat aging for that little bit longer!

|BRAND NEW ME|Positivity Mail *review*

 

I don't think it's any secret that I suffer from anxiety, I'm slowly finding ways to make me feel better and manage stress and very slowing trying to improve my diet to help maintain a healthier lifestyle. 

One of the main weapons in my anxiety arsenal is to make sure I practice self-care and invest in myself more. This has meant a major life change for me, but I think after 6 months I have found a happy place where self-care fits into my daily routine. 

|REVIEW|clean eating with Everdine



Trying to eat healthier couldn't be simpler with Everdine, we we're impressed to see the number of clean, healthy 'ready' meals Everdine have to offer when we were asked to choose 8 meals to review. 

With lots of vegetarian meals to choose from the only problem I had was to select 4 meals I wanted to try. The Hubs also had a hard time deciding what he wanted to try. 

|FAMILY|30 days wild inspiration

 
This year again we are joining the Wildlife Trust #30dayswild, if you have read our Wild list post earlier in the year you will know we are really trying to get back to nature as a family so this is a great opportunity for us to focus for 30 days and have fun with nature.  In past years when we've joined it, we've not kept up or documented but this year I'm determined!!!

|BRAND NEW ME|about being too 'busy'

LarabeeUK - about being too busy 1

'Ain't no-one got time for that' yes that common saying that people are using (far too often!) on social media when more organised, more dedicated or more tidy people  share  their successes on social media. 

Now I'm not slamming these people but I really do wish people would just keep their comments to themselves and scroll on if they are not dedicated enough to do whatever it is they are commenting on.