|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. 

 The thing I've found whilst paring back and realigning my priorities is that I don't have time NOT to be organised, being organised and having a tidy house save me so much time and give me that time back to do what I want to. 

 

Here's another for you 'I'm just too busy' ahh this one drives me insane! I'm sure I've said in another post that I really don't like this one, we are ALL busy, we all have lots going on, be it looking after and managing multiple children, working and looking after a home, running multiple businesses, the truth is, no matter how busy you think you are there's always someone with less time doing more, the reason for this?  They are more driven and have more control over their priorities. 

My real pet hate with this goes back to the first statement, people who say they don't have the 'time', of course you have the time, it's how you are using that time. If you don't have time to meal prep but you do have time to sit on the sofa and watch Netflix, you have the time you are just choosing not to use it for something you don't think is important. 

LarabeeUK - About being too busy 2

It was pivotal for me to realise this, I was one of those 'busy' people, I jumped on the 'ain't no-one got time for that' bandwagon in kidding myself that as I was 'so busy' I couldn't possibly fit anything else in. Truth is?  I took a look at how I was using that time and made changes. For me, spending 3 hours a day on social media was a time waster, I was conning myself that I was doing 'blog promotion' gah! Of course I wasn't, I was there looking at other people's lives, getting frustrated by posts in groups I'm in and mindlessly scrolling, all in the name of 'social media promotion'. Wow, I'm so glad I finally sussed that one! 

Another huge time waster for me was chasing my tail trying to find things not put away properly, moving piles from one place to another and repeating things I'd already done. Now I'm still working on this one, housework has been re-prioritised and is THE most important thing for me, of the house is tidy, my mind is tidy and I can spend time doing what I want to.  Yes I've still got the cleaner, but in all honesty I don't need her anymore, it's just a back-up for if I have an off-week, not had one yet though, she jokes that my house is the cleanest she cleans. I do, however, have most of the ironing still done by her.   There's still so much to do to get the house organised, but it is what I call
Guest Tidy all the time, where if we had visitors drop by unexpectedly, I wouldn't go into a mad panic because the house looks like a tip (this would have been common in the past!) It's clean and on the surface looks acceptable. 

 

So, in rounding up what I'm trying to say is, next time you think you're too busy or don't have time for something. Think, have a think about what you did yesterday, could you have used any of the time doing that thing you're too busy for? My bet is that you could. However, if you're happy watching Netflix or scrolling social media, of course that's fine too, just don't be like I was and kid yourself you are 'too busy' to do anything else πŸ˜‰

I'll be back soon to show you what process brought this realisation to light. 

My work time though?? No I don't have time, I don't work enough hours to cover what needs to be done so things get delegated or dropped, still figuring that one out!! I'll be back if I ever work it out πŸ˜‰

Have a wonderful day, Lx 

LarabeeUK - About being too busy 3 

|REVIEW|dino train: paint and match app



Dino Train is a lovely app based on the popular Jim Hendersons TV series. 

The app has both colouring in and a game, at 5 T is at the upper recommended age bracket which is 3-5. He still had lots of fun with it and did find some of the more difficult levels a challenge.  There are 4 difficulty levels. 



We've used the app to keep T occupied when he awoke early, its great that he can use it completely by himself and there are no in app extras to worry about purchasing. 

 

The app contains 24 different pictures to colour in, simple to understand and simple to use, I know T would have loved this when he was younger! 



The memory game has been very popular in our house, T can either play on his own or play with a friend or us! He has great delight finishing that last match before the timer! 

Dino Train is one of many apps from Kuato Studios and can be downloaded from Play or iTunes today for 99p. 

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post

|BRAND NEW ME|11 ways to turn a crappy day around

LarabeeUK - turn a crappy day around 1 

You know when you wake up and the day just feels, well, a bit shitty?  And things just go downhill from there?  I've had a couple of those lately, where you get to school and your 5 year old literally begs you not to leave them, then start your commute (in tears) and hit traffic within minutes, get to work and everyone is acting bat shit crazy???  Yeah, you know the one right??  

They maybe different circumstances but we all have them, do you give in and write the day off as a bad job, ending by drowning in gin before bed or do you try and turn your day around?  In the past I used to give in, wave my white flag to the shiteness and the day generally would get worse. 

LarabeeUK - turn a crappy day around 2 
(Coaster from Happy Paper Club)

Just lately though, I've been trying to force a bad day around, and you know what?  It blooming works!!  As soon as I realised I may not be able to control everything that happens but I can control my reaction to it, things changed. I also realised that there are things I can do to change the flow of the day, I've created a little page in my planner to record these, so next time I have a mare of a morning, I can start working my way through my 'happy list' and start to cross those positive little blighters off and change my day. 

Here's my current list.  
1. Listen to a favourite song, yep we've all got an uplifting one haven't we?  I've now created a happy playlist which I bang on the car stereo or listen to on my headphones at work, some of my happy songs are: 
  • One more time - Daft Punk
  • Boogie 2nite - Booty Luv
  • Sunshine - Tieks 
(I'll be sharing the full current playlist with you soon!!)

2. Smells, how often have you caught a whiff of something and been transported back to a memory?  I know I have, my happy smell is lime and mint, probably because it invokes memories of Cuba and mojitos, but whatever the reason, I can't help but cheer up if I smell that lime and mint.

3. Write down 3 things that make you happy, yeah, I know, this sounds cheesy as, but try it, go on, try it now. Did you smile at least once whilst writing that little list?  Of course you did! Those memories make you happy, so reminding yourself of them 
So mine (which I've just written for this!) are:
  • Cuddling up with my boys to watch a movie 
  • Sunshine on my face
  • Laughing with friends 
4. Look at something that makes you smile, for me it's usually puppies! I know, this is really cheesy too, but I have to admit it works, seeing those cute little pups does bring a massive smile to my miserable face.  

5. Make a plan, plan something awesome to do, it doesn't have to be immediate but pencil it in your diary, tell your other half and start to make plans, planning a good time always works for me. Last time I was in a funk, I arranged our next camping trip, right from the location to trips to the food we'll have. Having a little trip to look forward to always cheers me up and puts me in a good mood. 

 

6. Smile, this is such a simple one, being friendly and giving a stranger a smile is generally reciprocated and really does give you a little boost. 

7. Eat or drink something you love, a good old hot, sweet, tea does it for me but, it's even better if I treat myself from the trendy little hipster cafe beneath my office πŸ˜‰

8. Laugh, listen to a podcast, watch a video or read something funny, I search for 'funny videos' in Facebook and after watching a few ridiculous, cute or crazy videos I'm smiling!

9. Treat yourself, be it a magazine, new make-up or anything that makes you feel good. I usually go for some yummy smellies or a new book. 

10. Look at Instagram or Facebook accounts that are super inspirational, my favourite is:
 
 
11. Exercise, yep as much as I hate to admit it, exercising does make you feel better and a little bit smug if we're honest doesn't it? I love thrashing the punchbag for a good workout when I'm feeling the blue funk. 

What would be on your happy list?  How do you turn your day around, or are you always positive and happy so you're not affected by frustrating situations?  I'd love to hear your point of view Lx 

 

|REVIEW|Schleich New forest European Forest Dweller playset

 

It's no secret that we like our animal figures, we were recently asked if we'd review some from the new Schleich series Wildlife - New Forest Palysets. We were sent The European Forest Dweller set which we really liked. 

 

As with all Schleich figures the attention to detail was spot on, each one is hand painted and they are really well made and durable. 

 

Whenever we look at toys like this T wants to know all about what sort of animal they are and where they are from, I love how Schleich figures spark a child's imagination and he always learns when he plays with the figures, either noticing something about the fine detail, like this deers eyes or asking why the Fox has a white tummy, leading to a google session for Mummy and us both learning something new ;) we also talked about how wild boar are used for finding truffles, which again lead to googling and learning about truffles!

 

This time we thought we'd use our characters to produce some shadow drawings, the weather had let us down and so we attempted this activity indoors with the use of a torch.  Whilst I think outdoors in sunlight would produce better results, T had a lovely time doing this activity, and because of the fine detail and high quality of the Schleich figures, they are absolutely perfect for an activity like this. 

 

T has already decided he would like a forest tuff spot set up so his new Forest characters can be used to create a little forest habitat. 

We always love Schleich figures and play with them in a lot of our activities, I love how playing with them leads to so many questions and learning!

This set is £13.99

Disclaimer: we were sent these figures in return for our honest review. All words and opinions are our own. 

|BRAND NEW ME|12 tips for getting a better nights sleep

  

Sleep is something that has eluded me for years now, since I was pregnant with T I’ve not slept properly so I will do anything I can to try and help my body get ready for sleep.

I’ve searched the internet for the best tips to help get a good night’s sleep and collated them into this post.  If there’s a vital tip I’ve missed off or you have some advice for me, please leave me a comment :)

 1.    Tie up all those loose ends in your mind before you try to fall asleep, for me this means making sure that the house is nice and tidy for when I get up in the morning.
 
2.    Relax!  I make sure that I do a meditation every night before I go to sleep, I find this really helps me to focus on sleep and drift off easier.

3.    Limit screen time before bed, I know, I know, we all hear this but how many of us actually do this?  I certainly haven't managed it yet although it’s something I really do need to do.

 4.    Don’t drink caffeine before bed, reducing caffeine overall should have a big impact on your sleeping habits, but if that’s not possible, at least try to cut out caffeine and other stimulants in the 2 hours leading up to your bedtime.

5.    Make your to-do list for the next day/week before bedtime.  Keep a notebook and pen right next to your bed so mentally you are not writing a to-do list, which could keep you up.  This is a great help to me and something I always do.

6.    Invest in a good bed, did you know that bed specialists recommend changing your mattress every 8 years (hands up who's mattress is over 8 years old - MEEEEEE!!!!!)  for more great tips, Adjustamatic, a company specialising in adjustable beds uk have released this video all about the techniques for getting a good nights sleep and avoid a bad back #sleepexperts

7.    If light keeps you awake, invest in blackout blinds or curtains.

8.    Try to avoid going to bed too early and laying waiting for sleep to occur, likewise, try not to nap during the day, no matter how tired you are, it will only affect your sleep pattern that evening.

9.    Keep your bedroom clean, tidy and clutter free, your bedroom should be a place of serenity not chao’s, this has made a huge difference to me, keeping our room a place for relaxing definitely makes dropping off to sleep easier for me.

10.  If you can shut out any pets which could wake you in the night, the last thing you want is for an outside influence to wake you up, it’s hard enough with children, make your life easier and shut out those cats and dogs (or other pets for that matter!)

11. Having a salt lamp in your room will help to diffuse negative ions apparently, arguements can be found either way on this one but if nothing more it's gives off a beautiful soft relaxing glow. 

12. Diffuse the air with relaxing and sleep stimulating aromas with an electric diffuser, wax melts or an oil burner to help ease you into a blissful nights sleep. Zzzzzzz

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post.

 

|FAMILY|young driver driving lessons

 

A few weeks ago we took both boys along for an Admiral Young driver lesson, sessions are held throughout the country, although the 5-10 'lessons' are only held at selected locations. 

So that both boys could do their lessons on the same day we chose Bicester Heritage which was the clostest location to us running both sessions.  

The lessons are run for 2 age groups 5-10 and 10-16.

H was up first and at 16 he had his half hour lesson in a Skoda Citigo, he was greeted by his instructor, Malcolm who talked him through the process. I really liked that his instructor spoke to him directly at all times, never did he direct any questions to us. 

 
H has driven cars before, both on a rally session and he's also driven my car on private property, so he was allowed straight in the drivers seat and to get moving, this was great for him as he really did get the most out of his 30 minutes. 

 
During his lesson they worked on roundabouts, reversing and gear changing. Because of his confidence, H was also allowed to get to 40mph using gears 1-4, which he enjoyed. 

 
He was given a 'Drivers diary' which details his level
of ability and what he needs to work on next session.  With 11 months until he can officially have driving lessons, we shall definitely be taking him along for Young Driver lessons to give him a head start for getting on the road. 

 
10-16 driving lessons are £34.95 for 30 minutes.  

 
Next it was T's turn to have his lesson.  5-10 year olds drive a 'Firefly', a specially designed car for this purpose. T's instructor talked him through the basics, about which side of the road to drive and the controls in his car. 

 
The course was marked out and contained roundabouts and junctions for the young drivers to manoeuvre. T absolutely loved it, although I must admit I felt his instructor could have been a little more patient given that T is literally at the lower end of the age range and a 5 year olds understanding and attention span is very different to a 10 year olds. 

 
Once he'd learned what he needed to do, he was let loose in his car with his Dad in the passenger seat, the Instructor still gave him directions around the course, but T had a little more freedom.  He did really well navigating round the course and trying to make the right decisions at the junctions. Sometimes he did struggle with steering and definitely needed a bit more practice as a few markers got run over! 

 
T was given a 'driving license' which made his day, he's taken it practically everywhere with him since he got it!

The 5-10 year old lessons are £19.95 for 20 minutes, T absolutely loved it and we shall be taking him again next time we take H. 

Disclaimer: we were given driving lessons for this review. 
 

|BRAND NEW ME|10 ways alcohol has a negative effect on me

 

One of the lifestyle changes I'm trying to make is not to use alcohol has a form of stress relief, having had a responsible and stressful job for 20 years I've always looked for ways to deal with this stress. For a long time I used excercise (specifically kick boxing) to combat stress and it worked an absolute charm. The problem is training 6+ hours when you are young and single is great but trying to maintain that level of commitment is quite tricky with a family and so I stopped. 

I've never really managed to find an alternative that helps me manage stress and fits with my current lifestyle, sadly the only thing which did is alcohol, which didn't manage stress it just masked it. I'm more than happy to admit that I do like a drink and there's nothing better than that first glass of wine after a stressful day!  Am I going to become teetotal?  No.  But I have already cut down the amount I'm drinking and trying to keep it for some weekends and special occasions.  To say I'll never drink again is not going to happen and I'll just be setting myself up for failure. 

I'd love to be one of those people who can just make major lifestyle changes, like the click of a button but I don't think I can be that person, the only time I did was when I found out I was carrying T and I wanted to give him the best start in life, unfortunately doing it for myself isn't a big enough motivator for me. 

Since I stopped drinking nearly 3 weeks ago I've realised that there were side effects to drinking, not just the obvious health ones but simple ones which affected my productivity, which made me make decisions I wouldn't have otherwise and which did make me ill. I thought I'd list down my observances as a reminder why cutting down on drinking is necessary to my new lifestyle choices. 

1. Makes me lazy
Without doubt, I'm so less productive and more likely to sit and watch drivel on the TV if I have a glass in my hand. 

2. Empty calories
There are absolutely no health benefits from drinking alcohol, I know they say that red wine can help some people and Guinness can increase iron intake but they are not scientifically proven and personally I don't drink much of either!

3. Makes me make poor food choices
This is fundamental to my new lifestyle decision, I need to be in control when it comes to my eating habits and if I drink I lose that control. 

4. Poorly tummy
This is a relatively new symptom I've noticed, I'm absolutely sure that I have a slight intolerance to white wine, I'm fine with red wine or spirits but a good old glass of Pinot Grigio or Prosecco really makes my tummy feel bad and gives me griping pains the whole of the next day. 

6. Makes me lethargic
So similar to being lazy I guess although I find I want to fall asleep much earlier if I've been drinking which again makes me less productive in the day. 

7.  Even more disturbed sleep
Despite falling asleep earlier, I find myself unable to get back to sleep once I wake up in the night, this is definitely prolonged if I've been drinking. 

8. Don't do my routines
This is one of my stress triggers!! One thing I've realised since the beginning of the year is that if I live in chaos my mind is chaos, so if I live in a tidy home, my mind is calmer. If I've been drinking, I'm far less likely to clear up before bedtime or remember to put the dishwasher one, take my make-up off etc, which leads to feeling a lack of control and anxiety for me. 

9. Masks not deal with stress
I've really talked about this one above, whilst I've not yet found a way to deal with stress, I'm no longer kidding myself that I have it under control with a large glass in my hand!

10. Tired next day so no exercise
Although I don't suffer from hangovers, my body most definitely knows that I've been drinking, and like I explain above about my tummy problems, my energy levels are always seriously depletely if I drink which makes for not one but two unproductive days! 

I'm kidding myself that this will permanently lead to anything else, I'm just glad that I've recognised this and am making changes, for me it's all about moderation and choices and this is what's working for me right now.  I'm still on the lookout for that elusive way to deal with stress though!!!

Have you noticed how drinking affects you?  How do you manage stress?  Do you have a tried and tested way? Lx 

 

|REVIEW|stickbot zanimation studio


Never has a review stressed me out as much as this one!!! Ok so not a great way of starting a review but just setting the scene!  

When Stikbot studio arrived I thought it would be a great little activity to do with T (aged 5). We were sent 2 kits, the Stickbot zanimation studio and Stickbot weapon pack featuring weapons that can be used for your animation. 
  

We started by downloading the stikbot studio app and watching the app video. All seemed really easy and straight forward, the only thing I didn't take into account was my 5 year old, his 'perfectionist' streak and the fact that we are like two peas in a pod! 

Anyhow, we unpacked the main box, which included 2 figures, a green or blue 'stage' some boxes and a mini tripod. 

 

We first attempted a video without any background, just to give it a try, it was relatively easy, however T did struggle tiny bit with small movements and found it difficult to bend the characters into positions just a tiny bit at a time. 



 

Eventually he did get the hang of it but the background was really unstable so he kept inadvertently moving it, which frustrated us both!!  



For our second video, we added a suitable background, from the app, music and sound effects, T pretty much did the whole video on his own, but it did cause a little bit of frustration for the reasons I stated above! 


The mini tripod was functional, it did the job well although it was a little unsteady when T tried to use it on his own.  I wanted to use the 'proper' tripod but of course T wanted to use the one included in the set πŸ˜‚.

 

All in all now we've 'got the hang' of it I'm sure we will do it again and will get better at it and work with its little quirks.  However, I don't think the 4+ age range is very realistic for a younger child to use on their own, from our experience additional help was needed. 

That being said this will really will last him a few years and give him endless possibilities to develop his videoing skills (and patience!) 

This is a great little toy, certainly not for T at 5 to do on his own, but certainly for older children and I'm sure you'll get better results. 


Disclaimer: we were sent this item in exchange for honest review 
 


|BRAND NEW ME|getting back on track with your healthy lifestyle

 

I'm well and truly off the healthy lifestyle wagon at the moment, I can't quite pin-point when it happened but I think it was when The Hubs and T were poorly with norovirus, I was so obsessed with cleaning all I was doing was cleaning then crashing, no energy meant that I just headed for the ready meals and processed food. Completely the wrong thing to do, but I now realise I was in survival mode and paranoid I was going to get ill.

This has lead to massive anxiety attacks and feeling really low again as well as being bloated, putting on weight, having bad headaches and feeling irritable and emotional. It's also making me have insomnia really badly (hence I'm awake at 01:20 writing this!) 

 

We are still trying to get over the Easter holidays, we had a lovely couple of weeks off and have got lots done, however, we've both eaten and drank far too much and all the wrong things. Just this week I've thrown out a bag full of waste vegetables that hadn't been used and for dinner had a Chinese. We've spent a fortune on food too this week, simply ridiculous. The only saving grace is that T has eaten really well, not too much snacking and making sure he's getting his 5 a day. 

Anyway, today has definitely taught me that I need to get back on it and seriously, I keep saying that a little blip is good because it reminds you how good you actually felt when things were coming together, even if at the time it didn't feel like it!!! 

 

I drank the last of the open wine this evening and really want to stay off that and processed food and find the motivation and energy to get myself back to feeling healthy. 

It's a vicious circle that needs to be broken, eat processed foods and alcohol feel lethargic, anxious and  unmotivated, need to rest, do less and keep eating quick and unhealthy food.   So I need to break the habit (again) and find a way to stop it forming or at least spotting the early signs before it's too difficult to start again. 

I really never thought I was addicted to processed food but the truth is I really am, as a family we are!  It does make it harder that I have to also cater for T and The Hubs but I am determined to do this, we are lucky that T does have relatively healthy eating habits, except for his snacking but The Hubs eats very few vegetables, he has though decided that he too wants to become healthier, he wants to lose weight and so at least we are both in this together now. 

So where do I go from here? How do I get back to where I was?  This is my plan:

1. Cut out caffeine and alcohol 
2. Drink 2l filtered water a day
3. Eat at least 5 fruit and vegetables a day
4. Avoid process food and snacks 
5. Get back to loving cooking healthily
6. Stop thinking of food as 'treats'
7. Hit my exercise goals
8. Meal plan and prep

 

So, tomorrow is another day and all that!  I know what we're all having and we're off to forest school tomorrow morning so that's a ruddy good way to start. 

We will be #fitfam we're just going to need a bit more focus and jumping back on that wagon to get there 😊

Thanks for listening to my ramblings, have a lovely week, especially if you're children are back at school this week Lx 


|FAMILY|Brand new episodes of Kazoops

 

Do your children like Kazoops?  Thomas has watched it before, but it wasn't high up on his list of things to watch. 

However, after watching the first episode of the brand new series, he's hooked. T really enjoyed watching 'Daydreamer Monty' which premiered this afternoon. 

 

T really enjoyed this episode, particularly Monty's suggestion of using a Yeti to move the piano!! 

I love how Kazoops really sparks T's imagination and encourages him to daydream and play make believe. T loves how Monty has a pet pig and would like his own Jimmy Jones, although he might just have to make do with the cat πŸ˜‰
 
 

The latest series is being shown on CBeebies at 4.20pm, we've got record set to make sure we don't miss an episode. 

 

|BRAND NEW ME|Moringa Oil from Wikaniko

 

As I've been trying to improve my health I've also been trying to bring more natural products into routines, and none needed an overhaul more than my facial skincare. 

I used to be a religious user of natural, cruelty free products. 

I'm ashamed to say that a good few years back I stopped this and opted instead for high end, ridiculously expensive brands. I have no idea why I switched, looking back I honestly don't know when it happened, it just sort of did. 

Anyway, during my quest to become more natural (still a long way to go on hair and nails!!!) I made a decision to use natural products again, I've also realised that I need separate products for my aging skin (πŸ˜₯).

Literally within a week of doing this I was offered the opportunity to review some Moringa oil, so it seemed as though it was meant to be. I wanted to give it a good couple of months to make sure that it did indeed work on my skin, I didn't have a breakout and I was happy with the product. 

Wikaniko claim:

' Moringa - reputed to be the best natural nutritional supplement in the world, bar none!

Also known as the best anti-ageing oil in the world, bar none!'

 

I was sent some Moringa oil to try out as a moisturiser, after a bit of research on aging skin (πŸ˜₯) I found that it was nighttime when I needed that extra moisture and goodness that an oil would provide so have been using my Moringa oil as part of my evening routine. Never would I have bought an oil moisturiser for my 'Normal' combination skin. I'd have instantly thought it would make my skin too greasy, but my skin soaked it up! 

As you can see packaging is simple, which I must admit I liked, to me this added more emphasis to the product and allowed the product to do the taking for itself without being swayed by pretty packaging and a product with no substance. 

 

Sorry, this is brutally close, but this is my skin seconds after applying the oil liberally, as you can see not greasy at all and it could easily be used for a day moisturiser too. 

 

The oil comes in pump form and a couple of pumps easliy does my face, neck and dΓ©colletage. 

I apply after I've removed my make-up and cleansed with a muslin cloth. 

The oil has no additives, so there's no fancy smell which I admit, does take a little getting used to. I love my essential oils so would have preferred a little something to make it smell nicer. 

Moringa oil is produced by a Norfolk company πŸ‘πŸΌ to a 'local' and U.K. company, and grown in Spain and is £16.95 for 100ml. 

The oil is 100% organic and cruelty free which again is a big plus point in my book.  There are loads more health benefits of Moringa taken in other forms too, check out this video made by Wikaniko. 

 

I shall most definitely continue using this product. I can see my skin looks more nourished, I've had no spots since using it and I love how natural it is. 

Disclaimer: I was sent the product in return for my honest review.