Review: Morphy Richards Vorticity Plus a Massive 50% off for my Readers!

**This is a Product Review Post**



Product Name: Vorticity Vacuum by Morphy Richards
Buy Online Here: See at the end of the post for a special discount!
Here’s a link to the general product site www.vorticityvacuums.com
Price: £199.99 or £219.99 depending on the spec
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The blurb: It’s a vacuum cleaner called Vorticity and it differs from other vacuums on the market in that it uses air in a completely different way. It’s defining feature is the floorhead, which uses the power of 22 mini cyclones to draw in ambient air and force it down, dislodging particles of dust, dirt and other undesirables from in between carpet fibres and floorboards. This means that even dirt that is stuck on gets sucked up.
This vacuum will make the cleaning less of a chore and should dramatically speed up the process. Work-at-home mums and business owners don’t want to be bogged down by housework when they should be getting other things done and investing in a good quality vacuum cleaner could help minimise time spent doing this.

Initial Thoughts: Well - I love a good challenge so when I read that this vac will suck up even stuck on dirt, this was my focus! I started glaring at my carpet with a beady eye to find dried cat vomit, the kids discarded pez sweets or some muck from my builder husbands boots' to tackle - all of which are usually staples on my living room carpet. But on the day I wanted to trial the vac, there was nothing! Only the usual carpet dirt- biscuit crumbs and bits of shredded tinsel from my daughter's cheerleader pom poms - this wasn't a challenge! This was dirt that moved! Anyway FYI - the Vorticity sucked it up! There was also a gobstopper sized bit of artificial Christmas tree that one of the cats had pulled off and was using as a play toy. Normally I would pick up any larger bits of debris before running the vac over the rest of the floor, but today I wanted to throw something at the vac, and it just swept over the bit of tree and neatly sucked it up - no getting stuck in the tubes for this vacuum!! Result!


I Liked: I loved the way the vacuum looked. I know it shouldn't matter what something looks like as long as it does the job, but it was a bit trendy, which made me happy! The floorhead nozzle with the cyclones in it was really easy to manoeuvre, especially in awkward places and I could get right under some of my higher furniture that shows the carpet, which I couldn't do with my usual upright vac without having to dismantle it to use the hose attachment. The vac itself was a little heavy to carry, but when you have it in the room, the hose is long enough to do what you need to without moving too much, and it is on wheels too so it follows you round. It is just if you carry the vac upstairs for example, it's heavy, but I suppose most vacs are. I loved how easy it was to empty and I was amazed by how much dirt was in the chamber. Now before you cast me as a sloven housekeeper who never cleans, and therefore has loads of dirt, I should say that I have a cleaner who comes weekly, so the house is kept up to standard!


I wasn't Keen: I trialled the vac on my kitchen floor too, where there were a few bits of dried on dirt. Some crusty Weetabix dropped by my 3YO and some other dried up spill, but I have to say this was where I was a little let down by the Vorticity. It wouldn't pick up these bits and it was a wooden floor - I'd imagine, a lot easier to collect from than a carpet. I had to dislodge the bits of dirt with my fingernail before the Vorticity sucked it up. To be fair, dried on Weetabix is like cement, but my dishwasher copes with it on bowls so I was kind of hoping the Vorticity would win on Weetabix too, sadly it didn't.

Overall: This vacuum was really good. It did the job quickly and neatly and was easy to use. There was just one thing I was confused about when setting it up in the first place. I clicked all the parts into place according to the instructions, but on the bit where the hose meets the body of the vac, it didn't 'click' into place, just sat there so I was unsure if I'd done it right! Everything worked ok and nothing fell apart whilst cleaning but I would have liked a satisfying 'click' when I pieced it all together! The things that please some people eh? But R&D people - if you are reading, this would have made me feel more satisfied.

Time management is a big passion of mine - I love to get things done more effectively and with less fuss - especially boring things like cleaning. Let's face it - who would rather clean the house than snuggle up with the kids on the sofa watching a Disney DVD with a bowl of microwave popcorn? So products like this help me create more time to do what I really want to be doing. I love how we are living in more enlightened times now where big companies listen to us mums who are using their stuff, and not just pushing products onto us in a 'sell, sell sell' mode. The nice chap who does PR and Social Media for Morphy Richards, Tom, told me about their blog and social community portal www.homeofthehouseproud.com which I have 'Liked' on Facebook. I want to hear what other real people think and any tips, and you can get that here so if you want a nice home, check it out!

PLUS.....
I've negotiated a fantastic 50% discount on this vacuum for the readers of Juggle Mum! There are two models of this vac, and here are the links to each and the codes you use at the checkout...

For the 71080

http://www.morphyrichards.co.uk/ProductDetail.aspx?Product=71080
Use the code TMM8050

AND
For the 71081


http://www.morphyrichards.co.uk/ProductDetail.aspx?Product=71081


Use the code TMM8150

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

Melt into a Good Book like I Did... & Maybe Win One!

This is a sponsored post

I love this time of year as it is the only time when the rest of the world seems to slow down (after the initial chaos!) and we retreat back into our families, taking time to do things like play board games together, try out all the new smellies we got for Christmas or actually read a book!!

Juggling a busy life nowadays makes it tough to find the time to read for pleasure, I know I was speaking to one of the mums at the school gate a few weeks ago and she was an avid reader and nowadays collapses into bed at the end of the day having had no chance at all to read one of the stack of books on her bedside table! I'm the same. Pre-kids, I used to be able to take 14 books on a 2 week holiday with me and read every single one! I'd do a book a day, so much that I love reading, so when Galaxy chocolate said they wanted to send me a few books and some chocolate bars, how could I possibly refuse!! They knew where my soft spot was, the chance to read and a bit of chocolate as well - a perfect night in!!




When my parcel from Galaxy came, it contained 3 books and a few bars of Galaxy -some of the flavours I'd not seen before like Orange & Shortcake. It sounds very Christmassy so I'll have to break that bar out on Christmas Day, but the book I chose to review was one I'd never heard of before and wouldn't normally choose for myself at the book-store. It was called 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen.

I like books that I can relate to in some small way, and I liked the main female character Patty. The authors observations of her and of the way she relates to the life around her were really insightful. I admire it when someone is able to articulate themselves in a clear way so that they can be understood by everyone else, and in writing this book, Jonathan Franzen has demonstrated that he can get inside the female mind of his main character and portray her in a believable and empathetic way so I feel as though she is a living, breathing friend of mine.

This book was a winner in the recent Galaxy National Book Awards in November, which is designed to celebrate and promote British Authors and the best books of the year. The Awards covered 9 categories and Jonathan Franzen's book 'Freedom' won the accolade of Galaxy International Author of the Year!

I'm still halfway through this book, it is over 500 pages long and I only get chance to read a few pages in bed before sleep takes over, but I'm enjoying being taken along Patty's journey, and the mysterious twists that the book unfolds the deeper I get into it.

Galaxy has launched a competition to help us all 'melt into a good book' with 1 million books to be won before May 2011. To enter, simply buy a promotional bar of Galaxy and enter the code which is inside the wrapper at this website http://www.galaxybookclub.co.uk/ You will be told straightaway if you are a winner or not, and if you get chance to choose your top two preferences from a list on the site, you will be sent one of them, stocks permitting! *****NOTE: This competition is now closed*****

The five best-selling books that are in the One Million Book Giveaway Competition are

1. Audrey Niffenegger – Her Fearful Symmetry
2. Katie Fforde – Wedding Season
3. Lisa Jewell – The Truth about Melody Browne
4. Jane Green – The Beach House
5. Ian Rankin – Knots & Crosses

However just for readers of Juggle Mum, I have two prizes up for grabs for people who comment on this post!
The books I have to give away are Ian Rankin- Knots & Crosses, which is an Inspector Rebus novel, and Audrey Niffenegger's 'Her Fearful Symmetry'. Audrey also wrote 'The Time Traveler's Wife' which I recently enjoyed watching the movie version of with the gorgeous Eric Bana, so I bet this one is just as good! Plus, I will send a bar of Galaxy chocolate out with the book too so you can have a luxurious night in, just like I did!

*****NOTE: This competition is now closed*****

To win in my competition, you must be based in the UK as I cannot post outside of this area. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your contact details (an email address is fine)and tell me which of the two books would be your preferred one, and I will choose winners randomly from all the entries received by 4th January 2011 when I'll be switching my computer on again after a Christmas break!!

*****NOTE: This competition is now closed*****

In the meantime, you can read author interviews, book snippets and take part in polls at Galaxy's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/galaxy

More information on the Galaxy National Book Awards is at www.galaxynationalbookawards.com

Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope you get a chance to rest and have a bit of 'me time' over the festive period!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

History Repeating....

I remember as a kid going to see the Blackpool Illuminations with my family. My dad would drive out to the coast and we'd time the return journey home to co-incide with the big light switch on. My brother and I would stare from the back seat at all the twinkly coloured lights, thinking it was fantastic, eating biscuits my mum had brought and saying we needed a wee every five minutes, but loving the time we were spending as a family - in the case of my childhood, times like this were times my parents weren't fighting. Thankfully my own children can enjoy these days for what they are and not because they are a respite from what was going on at home.

The funny thing is my husband and I found ourselves doing exactly the same recently - quite by accident! We'd driven from Yorkshire to Lancashire to purchase something I'd found on Preloved, and whilst we were out that way, Hubby suggested going to see the lights. As it was lunchtime and the lights didn't come on until 5pm when it was dark, we drove to Lytham St Annes and walked along the beach. It was deserted but for a few dog walkers and young families doing what we were doing, but Simon showed our kids the shells from the Razorfish, and bits of seaweed as we walked along. It was lovely. His family like walking along coastlines - Simon spent many a childhood weekend at his Grandparents place on the East Coast, so this afternoon was spent in the same way he spent his own childhood.

After we'd had some lunch and a nip into town for a rejuvenating Costa Coffee (it was cold on that beach!) and some snacks for the way home, we went back to the car as it was getting dark and headed for Blackpool.

We hit the top of the strip just before 5pm and there were a few cars waiting at the side of the road to set off down the road as soon as the lights were switched on. We were unsure of the exact time it would all start but were hoping it'd be 5pm as it was 4.45pm when we got there. I cracked open the biscuits and gave everyone a juice and we sat munching and drinking until 5pm.

As we drove through the lights, I look loads of pictures (probably shouldn't have been doing as my camera had a flash - the car in front probably thought they had gone through a speed camera!) But this picture is a good one - it shows a tram to the left covered in lights.

The kids loved our special impromptu day at the beach, and I loved creating a day for our kids that they will remember. It's family days like this that make the best memories when you look back, and we had such a great time. What did you do with your parents that you find yourself doing with the kids now? Do leave a comment below!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

At Home Column #4: Get Some TST!

I write a fortnightly column for At Home - the Premier UK celebrity and lifestyle magazine, and this one appeared on their site www.AtHomeMagazine.co.uk a month ago. Do visit their website and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions!


'Get some T.S.T - Time Saving Technology!'


Do you need more TST in your life? I think every woman does, as we are always so busy. Personally, I need a clone of myself. By that I don’t mean I want someone to dress like me and follow me around (that would be a bit weird) but just the ability to split myself in two so I can get everything done! Does this sound like you too?!


I work from home now but I still remember the days when I’d be rushing to work in my smart clothes, wearing an old t-shirt over them so any stray porridge or bogeys from the kids didn’t get onto my ‘office wear’! Then at the other end of the day, I'd be screeching to a halt at the front door, having raced home in the dark to get back to my family and still having a meal to prepare, washing to do and the marketing presentation to finish!

We all do it, and we either deserve a medal or certifying, but if neither are forthcoming then see if any of these little gems can make your daily juggle that bit easier...


At the Start of the Day
My parents used to have a Teasmade in the 1970’s but in our ‘Grand Design’ and ‘Property Ladder’ era, this would seem naff, so how about a solution that lets you switch on your downstairs kettle from your bed? The Siemens Home Automation system from B&Q allows just that! You use the remote control to activate the kettle so your ‘wake up’ coffee can be making whilst you are still waking! Genius! Once you are up, you can make a dent in the household tasks by getting a wash load done in only 14 minutes! The Beko machine has a 9KG drum and the fastest cycle time of all washers of this size, so you can hang the clothes to dry before you leave and they’ll be ready to iron that evening!

During the Day
I firmly believe that the internet is any Jugglista’s best friend. You can be everywhere at the same time – shopping, ordering birthday presents and working out what film to see at the weekend, all without leaving your seat! But it can become more trouble than its’ worth when you have to get up even earlier than you already do to arrive at the postal depot to collect all the parcels that got delivered when you were out at work. Shop Box is a new device that you can rent to stay outside your home and provide a secure drop off point for any deliveries. It is secure, but has its limitations (for example, they recommend emptying it between deliveries which you can’t do if you are at work all day- so you’d have to plan and make sure your stuff arrived on different days), but it is a possible solution to avoid the running around after work! See www.shopbox.co.uk for more details.

With the Kids
I recently found this little lifesaver - it's a funky child’s wristband that you programme with your mobile number (up to 5 numbers in total) so that if the child wanders off, an adult can use the band to get your number and call you! Its heart stopping in a busy shopping centre if you can’t see them, and this device provides peace of mind – genius! It’s called a Me Finder and it’s from www.kidsshowandtell.com.

At the End of the Day
How cool would it be if you could let your dinner cook itself?! It can if you use the Jamie Oliver Multicooker. Just chuck in your chicken and it can be left unsupervised and cooks really fast! This is perfect to allow you chance to help with your child’s homework whilst the meal is getting sorted!

Remember that washing you hung out this morning? It's dry and ready to iron by the end of the day, but this usual chore can be 30% quicker with the new Rowenta Steamium iron. Keeping on top of the ironing pile is one of the biggest time stealers but this just got easier, and trust me, I’ve tried it and this iron works!

Sweet Dreams
If you have a baby in the house, you will do anything for a bit of extra sleep. This new technology in baby bottles promises an extra 30 minutes in bed as it delivers a perfect breast-milk temperature feed at the touch of a button - in under 60 seconds! Yoomi is the UK’s first self warming baby bottle, which brings an end to stumbling around the kitchen in the middle of the night. All you do is pick up Yoomi, push the button and baby’s feed is ready in under a minute so you can get them settled quicker and back to bed yourself! For more information, go to www.yoomi.com.

Let’s face it, when we have everything to do, a little technological help can go a long way! Do you have any secrets for bending technology to fit your life? Leave a comment on the At Home article and let me know!


Before you go, I have a confession... I originally called this article "Get Some TiTS!" (Or 'Technology that is Time Saving)' but At Home thought it too risque! Do you like my headline better? Just for fun, let me know what you think below!!

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I hope you like this blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

Review: EasiYo Yogurt Maker


**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Yogurt Maker by EasiYo
Buy Online Here: www.easiyo.com or at http://www.juliangraves.com/foods/easiyo/easiyo-fresh-yogurt-maker.html
Price: £16.49
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The blurb: The Tastiest, Freshest Yogurt in the World! People have been making their own REAL yogurt for thousands of years. That’s because no other yogurt tastes as good, or is more beneficial than freshly-made real yogurt! Besides it being truly delicious, EasiYo Yogurt is rich in absorbable nutrients and has BILLIONS of live lactic cultures (those beneficial 'good guys') in every spoonful! You just can't beat yogurt when it's at its freshest! The EasiYo Yogurt Making System is adored around the world for its fabulous taste, wholesome New Zealand ingredients, simplicity and economy! As soon as you taste EasiYo, you'll realise why millions of people have made it a part of their daily lives!


Initial Thoughts:
The PR Lady who sent me this said it was so easy, it was like making a cup of tea, only you have to wait 8 hours for it to brew! It does sound very impressive to say you are making your own yogurt, but the reality is is the most easy thing in the world to do, so you can accept all the culinary praise for this, knowing that it is really as simple as adding water and giving it a shake!

I opened the box with my 3 YO son and as he played with one of the packets of flavouring, I read the instructions and boiled a kettle. All you do is half fill the yogurt maker tub with water from the tap, then add the powder from the packet - put the lid on and give it a shake, then pour boiling water into the main outer tube, place the inner tube with the shaken yogurt in it into this chamber and leave it for 8 hours or overnight until it sets! ANYONE can do it, it really is that simple. Plus I'm now addicted to the taste of this yogurt - it has a lovely thick consistency and tastes really creamy, and I'm assured by the packet that this yogurt is healthy and less calories and saturated fat that other shop bought yogurts.


I Liked: I loved several things about this. Besides the health factors like having billions of live lactic cultures in the yogurt, I loved practical things like the fact that that the packets of un-made yogurt keep in the cupboard for at least a year before their 'Best By' date so you know you can ALWAYS have fresh yogurt in the house. Plus I loved how you decant your made yogurt into little pots so you have individual servings. I don't suppose you HAVE to do this, but I did to make life a bit easier, and I loved eating my yogurt from a ceramic ramekin rather than a plastic pot. I guess it's the difference between having your cup of tea out of a china mug rather than a plastic vending machine cup! For me, it just made the experience of eating my yogurt that bit better!

I wasn't Keen: When your fresh yogurt is ready you can store it in the fridge, but I didn't want to store the whole 1 litre I'd made as it was. I wanted to store in individual servings so I got out my ramekins which only usually get used at Christmas! When I was pouring the yogurt into the pots, a great big blob gushed out before I could stop it and covered the ramekin and half my counter! You have to be careful when decanting, but other than that, this system is foolproof!

Overall: I'm really impressed with this yogurt maker and the two flavours I initially tried (peaches & cream and raspberries & cream) which were really tasty. As you can see from the picture, I have been out and bought several more flavours to try. I couldn't find them at Tesco, but when I searched the EasiYo website I could see a couple of local stockists plus Lakeland who sell by mail order, so I can get hold of the sachets fairly easily. I can't wait to try the 'Fruit Squirt' which adds a real fruit topping to the yogurt you make, and there is a 'Greek Yogurt' style which I've bought to see how it compares to supermarket varieties!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

How Quickly they Grow up!

My son is a monkey! No, officially he is! He is only 3 but since he started going to morning nursery, I've noticed him coming along in his development, his talking and understanding of things - and also his mischievousness!

He took a long time to toilet train. We are there now (finally!) but in the early days he didn't seem to mind when he was wet- he'd stand around in his wet trousers and not even tell me if he'd had an accident. Then later on in the process as he'd started to 'get it' and he actually did run to the toilet when he felt the urge, we'd have the excuse of " I couldn't get there in time" if there were wet trousers to be changed. I'm not talking about a dribble here - I'm talking about proper sodden clothing, but he'd found a good 'excuse' as to why they were wet- he couldn't get there in time. How can I be mad at that when he'd tried? He had caught on!

So patience was the order of the day. I was inwardly experiencing frustration, but outward patience to him and gradually he got it, he made it on time to the loo and he learned to hold it a bit when there was no loo around (or nowhere to stop if we were driving!) I got good at carrying round an empty Oasis bottle (larger spout!) which was perfect for popping his tinkler into when we were in public but not appropriate places to go against a wall! (Boys are much easier than girls in this respect!) and now, finally, we are there. The boy is dry and I say "we are there" because it feels just as much my achievement as his! I was with him every step of the way, running to the bushes at school to relieve him before he wets in front of everyone, picking up poo off the carpet when he threw it there after wiping his bum (I don't even know why!) and pulling over in the car at any convenient layby to pee on the wheels, getting my own hand covered with sprinkles as much as his as I had to help him shake it after. But finally we are done.

So today I see him run from the toilet with no top on. I've seen him streak, naked from the waist down loads of times as his wet pants sit on the toilet floor, but this time he was naked from the waist up! His trousers were dry, so I asked "Where is your top?"

He looked at me in the eye and said "I couldn't get to the toilet in time". I said "What?!" How do you get pee on your top and not your trousers, are you having a laugh?" (said in a tone of voice which is clearly not about joking and more said in annoyance!) "Where is your top"

He took me by the hand to the top which had a wet patch but from the positioning I could tell is was where the taps splashed him whilst he was hand washing, so I got him a new, dry top to wear. He said "I'm having a joke with you!"

Little monkey!

I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

Review: Fade Out Moisturisers



**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Fade Out Skincare Products
Buy Here: Boots, Savers, Superdrug and Independent Pharmacies
Price: From £7.99 to £8.99
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The blurb: An advanced range of mass market skincare products to visibly brighten, even out skin tone and restore a youthful, natural radiance. This re-launched range is being compared to Clinique and can help solve and prevent pigmentation problems such as hyperpigmentation, freckles, age spots, melasma and sun spots, to achieve a flawless, youthful glow.

Initial Thoughts: I do suffer from uneven skin tone and dark circles under my eyes - these are just my genetic make up. My daughter has a similar complexion, but I've learned to conceal dark circles and even up my skin tone over the years with make up. So I was keen to see whether these products could make any real difference to the natural state of my skin.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog this, but in the interests of visual proof on this review, here is a picture of me looking very tired 'before'!

...and this is me after 4 weeks of use:


Now bear in mind that I'm make up free on both pictures (hence my reluctance to post my bare naked face!) but what do you think?
The first picture was taken when I was extremely tired one morning. I don't always look like this! Plus you have to bear in mind that the second photo is taken in more flattering light - it is sunny and I'm stood by the window against a yellow curtain, but to be honest, I personally cannot see any real difference on my skin, when I look in the mirror, as I still have uneven skin tone.

I Liked: The day and the night cream both moisturised. They were a nice, thick consistency and they kept my skin feeling moisturised and soft, but as for any 'fading out', I'd have to disagree. I don't have freckles to speak of, so for me, the aim was to even out and brighten my skin tone. I would probably say that my skin is a little brighter on the second photo, but not massively so.

I wasn't Keen: The smell of the product is not very nice. It's not stomach churning or anything, after all, I did use it for 4 weeks day and night, but it wasn't as pleasant as my usual Olay moisturiser. I stuck with it to do the trial and also I don't like to waste, but once these pots are used up, I won't be dashing out to buy new ones.

Overall: The product is a moisturiser and it does moisturise, so this product is not a total loss. I really don't like the smell all that much so now this trial is over I might just use up the pots as a body lotion and rub it on my legs where I don't have to smell it!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

At Home Column #3 Run Your Home Like a Business!

I write a fortnightly column for At Home - the Premier UK celebrity and lifestyle magazine, and this one appeared on their site www.AtHomeMagazine.co.uk a month ago. Do visit their website and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions!



Have you ever heard of a Managing Director getting onto their hands and knees to scrub ketchup out of the carpet? Or maybe the Head of Marketing stopping during a presentation to discipline a subordinate for shouting “Poo”? I have. It happens every day in our house, *oops* “firm”.

Seriously, I used to think I worked hard doing 12 hours a day in Public Relations, but the business world is no match for the business of being a Mum! Over the 8 years I’ve been doing it, I’ve seen many similarities in home making and the world of commerce, so over this time I’ve developed ways to apply business solutions to my little home team as a way of making order out of the chaos! Here are my best tips...

First challenge – keeping them in line!

In the business world, incentives are regularly used to keep employees motivated and performing well. A company I used to work for took the top sales performers on a booze cruise or to Dubai for doing well, and the prospect of a nice jolly away from the office did wonders in producing the right attitude at work. So I have developed my own little incentive scheme in the form of a “Lucky Dip” box! Every time we visit McDonalds, I take the toy out of their Happy Meal, before they see it. I reckon that a meal out is a treat enough, so my kids don’t expect a toy too. I put these little toys into my Lucky Dip box then whenever I want to incentivise good behaviour, I promise them a dip in the box when we get home. The Lucky Dip box is a real treat and they love to rummage through and choose a new toy. Plus, it hasn’t cost me anything extra as I already had the toys! Try this – it works wonders!!

Challenge Two – Know Your Bottom Line:

In other words, know how much you are prepared to give before the deal on the table becomes unworkable for you. So the kids want a later bed time but you want some peace and quiet sooner, so offer an extra 10 minutes of play if you know you are willing to allow 30 minutes. This gives you room for manoeuver. Also consider extra incentives that you can use to sweeten the deal of going to bed on time. If they go now, they get to watch a DVD in bed for 20 minutes or they can play in their room for a bit. My daughter has become an expert negotiator which stands her in excellent stead for when she is unleashed into the working world, as she can spot a win-win deal at 20 paces! We were at the supermarket last week when she spotted a £2 headband. She doesn’t need it, but it caught her eye and she liked it, so I asked what she was prepared to give to get that headband. Based on the price tag, I decided that it was worth 2 household chores to earn the money, so we shook on the deal and she has to fold the laundry and tidy up downstairs before that headband becomes hers. She might be wearing it now but really that headband is mortgaged! She doesn’t fully own it yet!

Challenge Three: Eliminate Waste to get ‘More Bang for your Buck’!

Think of your kitchen as the engine room to your home. It produces the goods that keep the rest of the family working, but it can also be the room with the biggest cost wastage. When unused food is thrown out for being past its best and overspending occurs on luxury items, the kitchen can affect your homes’ balance sheet. So like any good restauranter, do a stock check and apply stock rotation, so the newest items are placed at the back of the cupboards and you use the oldest first. Getting the most out of your stock is good home economics, so look at how you can use every bit. I was in a cafe over the weekend and they sold delicious home-made cakes by the slice. By the till they had a box of ‘cake ends’ priced at £1.95 (a slice of cake was £1.85) but this box had a variety of cake flavours and it was just the off cuts – the bits that didn’t look ‘perfect’. I thought it was very enterprising of them to use every resource rather than just eating the off cuts themselves!!

Being the Chief Jugglista in your home is not just about ‘doing’ it all, but developing strategies to get it all done. If you apply some business thinking to your home, you can keep the plates spinning and even find some time to yourself! What are your thoughts on running your home like a business? Drop me a comment at the original article!

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I hope you like this blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

Review: Slendertone; System Abs!



**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: System Abs by Slendertone
Buy Online Here: http://www.slendertone.com
Price: £119.99
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The blurb: 'Slendertone System Abs is our most powerful abs belt with advanced technical features to deliver results in just 4 weeks. It delivers a complete abdominal workout to the rectus, oblique and transversus abdominis muscles. Use 5 times a week for 4 weeks to see firmer, flatter, more defined abs.'

Initial Thoughts: Who wouldn't want flatter, firmer abs in just 4 weeks?! I was excited to try this out, so when it arrived I excitedly measured my waist so I could see how much I would lose over the coming weeks! Staring measurement - 99 cms. (I'm currently a dress size 18)

The first time I used the belt it was a weird sensation - it takes some getting used to, but on the second night, I realised that I'd only turned on one side the night before! You have to increase the intensity on either side of the belt at the same time - the controls are on separate buttons, so I was only working one side the first time - doh! The picture above is my son modelling the box!

I Liked: I liked the promises, I liked hearing how I'd be more toned and firmer in just 4 weeks, and I loved the daydreaming I was doing about the little skirt I was hoping to get into! I really wanted to give this product a glowing review and tell you how I'd managed to get into my skirt but alas it didn't happen!

I wasn't Keen: When you press the pads onto your skin they are a bit slimy. It reminded me of the TENS machine I had with my first birth. Of course the pads have to stick on and these do, but I didn't like putting them on and taking off because of their texture, but this is just a personal opinion - you might not think anything of this! The other thing is that I found it hard to remember to use it every night! They recommend 5 times a week for 4 weeks and I did do this. One of the weeks I probably did 4 times rather than 5 but overall I stuck to the plan. It just got tricky to remember. I'd settle down with a cuppa after rushing round after work and kids all day then I'd see the Slendertone box and remember to put the belt on! Of course the 'exercising' itself is easy as pie! You just put the belt in the right place, set the routine you want and let it work whilst you watch tv or do something else. It takes no effort to exercise - the effort I found, was in remembering to use it!!

Overall: If you are hoping to have a stomach like the model on the box in a month or two then you will be disappointed. Plus you won't be able to eat what you want and still expect to be toned! I go to the gym 3 times a week and eat healthily although I do have sweet foods if I want them, so I wasn't just relying on the Slendertone belt to do all the work for me. I was working out myself too. I did lose 0.5cms from my waist in the 4 weeks but it's hard to tell whether this was because of my own weight loss efforts or the belt! Maybe a combination of both! As I say above, I am currently a dress size 18 - I've lost 3 stone so far on a 6 stone journey, so I am a bit 'cushioned' around the middle! Maybe the results of this belt would be more noticeable on a woman who has less fat left to lose - someone nearer to her goal. I will carry on using the belt, and maybe as I get into a dress size 14 I might be reporting more toned abs, but we'll have to see!

My results were as follows:
Start of trial- 11th October 2010. My waist measurement is 99cms
End of trial after 4 weeks - 8th November 2010. My waist measurement is 98.5cms

Have you ever tried using something like this? How did you find it? Drop me a comment below!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

Review: iPod Car Transmitter



**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: FM Transmitter for iPod & iPhone by Mobile Fun
Buy Online Here: www.Mobilefun.co.uk
Price: £19.99
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The blurb: This accessory fits the iPhone, iPod nano G4, iPod Touch G2. I have an iPod - not sure what spec but an old one!! However my husband has an iPhone and we could use it with that too! This transmitter charges the iPod whilst in use too.

Initial Thoughts: At first I wondered if I was putting the device in right as it needed a good shove to get into the cigarette lighter! However once it was in, it sat nicely so I could mount my iPod into the cradle and figure out the next step! I had to get my husband to show me how to find the frequency on the in car radio, but once I'd had my 'lesson', I was away! I loved being able to access my iPod playlists in the car as I have built lists for myself but also my children onto my iPod, so we could listen to Camp Rock or Hannah Montana when they were in the car but then I'd switch to some Eminem or Tinie Tempah when they'd got out!

I Liked: How we could use it with both my iPod and my husbands iPhone so we could both have 'our' music on, when we were driving! Makes for less arguments over the radio!! Plus the sound quality is good whilst you are driving and you can change the volume through the car radio which made things easier!

I wasn't Keen: The only downside was how long it took me to figure out how to get it in the car and find the frequency, but this could just be me!! My hubby got it sorted within minutes, but it did take me a play with it before I gave in and asked for his help! You'd probably be ok!!

Overall: If you are looking for iPod Touch accessories that would make excellent Christmas presents, then this is a fabulous product and definitely something to get for those 'hard to buy' for people! It is something quite different too so you wouldn't risk duplicating presents with anyone else!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

The Truth About Getting Braces in Your 30's!

Yes, just like 'Ugly Betty' I have got fixed metal braces on both sets of teeth - just had them fitted, and they will be in place for 18 months!
One part of me (after I had tooth and jaw ache for 3 days after having them applied) wondered "why oh why did I do this again?" but my more 'sensible' side told me to get on with it, and it will all be worth it at the end!

I had braces as a teenager you see. But being young and stupid I demanded that they be removed before my treatment had ended. I probably had about 6 months to go until *perfect teeth* but now I will have to wear them for 18 months and then wear a retainer to sleep -every night, forever! A few people have expressed surprise that braces still work when you are an adult - that you can still get results, and I have to confess that I wasn't sure they'd be viable when I went to ask the dentist, but indeed you can, and the Treatment Co-ordinator at my Orthodontist told me she had her braces applied at the age of 38 and taken off at 40 and never regretted it!

When I was a teen, I'd just started seeing my boyfriend (who became my husband), and I had braces, spots, glasses and was overweight. I was the most tragic teen *looks wise* that there was, and I'd become fed up with it all and just wanted to be pretty like my friends! So I asked for my braces to be taken off, so I could snog my boyfriend all day and night with no chafing! (I didn't tell them that of course!)

So I got what I asked for and the braces came off and I was happy, but when I got into my late twenties, I started to wish I had *perfect teeth*! It was just a niggling thought that was always there, but I was self conscious about my crooked teeth, not so you would notice, but the fact that I didn't have the 'perfect arc' smile like you see on TV would always be on my mind. So I decided to take the plunge - again! It is very true that you can't put an old head on young shoulders!

This time I'm older and wiser *guffaw!* but at least I understand the commitment I'm making and am prepared for the dentist visits every 6 weeks to get the brace tightened, the fact that I have to thoroughly brush my teeth and brace after every single meal which takes a good 5 minutes each time, and that I have finally given up drinking Diet Coke (and fizzy drinks in general) because I was warned that my addiction to Diet Coke would rot my teeth (which I knew but chose to ignore before) but now, with braces fitted it means that if I continued to drink Diet Coke, there was a strong possibility that I'd have little white squares on each tooth when the brace came off, after the teeth around the brace got eroded.

This was finally the kick up the backside I needed to ditch the Diet Coke, which I had an addiction to- I had a headache for 3 days after I stopped which was the sugar/ sweetener withdrawal, but quitting has made me definitely snack less, and I've visibly lost weight after just 3 weeks.

So braces in place I was a bit shy at first, my speech was slightly affected- I felt like I had a lisp, and I didn't really want anyone to notice my braces. My kids (7 and 3) said that I look 'sparkly' with them and I look like I have jewels on my teeth, so I decided to embrace the mouth bling and just tell people "I've added a little extra sparkle into my life" if they ask about my brace!

People do notice- my friends who know me well enough to ask directly have all asked about the brace! But bless him, my dad didn't notice. I sat through a Sunday Lunch with him waiting for him to notice and ask, and when I actually said "Dad- can you see anything different about me?" he said "You've had Botox!"

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

Win some Whooga UGG Boots- Great new Competition!


Guys- those of you who see me on the school run know how much I love my UGG boots - so comfy and warm in this Great British weather!! So how excited am I that I can tell you about a fab new competition to win yourself a pair of Whooga UGG boots and I've secured an exclusive discount for readers of my blog too, so you can purchase some at 10% off!! See how warm they look....


The people at Whooga have offered a pair of Whooga UGG boots to people who sign up to their newsletter. You can do that by clicking here. The winners are drawn at the end of each month and it's open to everyone in all countries..

If you can't wait that long, then I’ve secured an exclusive discount code for readers of this blog. You can get 10% off for the next week only by entering the following code: 966TIME
at the website: http://www.whooga-eu.co.uk/ ***NOTE: This offer has now expired***

Happy shopping!!!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x

Review: Babysitting Mama Game for Wii

**This is a Product Review Post**
Product Name:
Babysitting Mama game for Nintendo Wii
Buy Online Here:
http://www.game.co.uk/Games/Wii/Activity/Cooking-Mama-World-Babysitting-Mama/~r351381/?s=babysitting+mama
Price:
RRP £49.99 but use the link above for GAME to get it for £39.99
Star Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

The blurb:
Babysitting Mama is the first videogame to come bundled with a life-sized baby doll peripheral designed exclusively by Cooking Mama Limited. Wii owners will place the Wii Remote™ into a secure pouch in the doll’s back to bring it to life! Each doll is hand stitched, making no two babies exactly the same. Playing along with Mama, players will have to follow instructions to carry out all the duties of a diligent baby sitter, including feeding your baby food, playing with toy blocks, changing nappies and helping baby take its first steps.

Initial Thoughts: Seriously, this game is red hot!! When I first heard about the game, I knew my daughter would absolutely love it, but the surprise was that my husband and I really loved it too! We laughed the whole time we were playing one night, after the kids were in bed!! Have you ever seen the TV show 'An Idiot Abroad'? Well my husband kind of looks like Karl Pilkington and is as 'dry' as him with his humour, and I really thought that he was him on this task! Here is a picture of Simon 'burping' the baby...

It was hilarious! We loaded up the game and got the doll ready with the control then set about 'choosing a baby'. After this we wanted to change its nappy but the game wouldn't let us - it seems you have to do certain things in order, so you can unlock new tasks as you progress. We ended up going to comfort the baby. This involved gently rocking it as the doll made gurgling sounds, children would really love this as it is being 'just like mum'! After Simon swayed the baby a little, it started crying, so he said he'd take it out for a drive in a minute - this is what we did with our daughter when she wouldn't sleep! It made us laugh, remembering the crazy plodding up and down in the middle of the night we used to do - desperate for some sleep!

I Liked: After we comforted the baby, we then fed it with 'milk'. This was where you tilt the Wii control at an angle to put the bottle in, then use the on screen measure to keep the bottle at the right angle. This is harder than it sounds and the bottle kept dropping out of the screen baby's mouth, making it cry! The doll makes 'Mmm' sounds, like it is taking in milk and occasionally says 'Mama'. After feeding the next task was 'burping' the baby - this bit had me in stitches! In 'real life', I breast-fed my two and after I would always hand the baby over to Simon for winding, so he could take part in the whole feeding thing too. This made him an 'expert burper' and on this game he achieved a perfect score when burping the doll! It was so funny watching him do it all again with the Wii doll, and I took loads of pictures of him, for my own amusement! However, he couldn't get the hang of soothing the baby. As the screen said "Just do it like Mama", he tried to rock the baby in time, but at the end his score was a measly 36 points. Mama said "You'll do better next time!" in an encouraging way, to which my husband replied "Cheeky cow!"

Here is Simon rocking the baby!


I wasn't Keen:
There wasn't anything to dislike about this game. Kids will love to role play at 'being mum', and there are enough tasks to master to keep them busy for a while! It's fascinating that Nintendo have created a doll to game with, I'm intrigued to know what they will come up with next!

Overall: My 7 YO daughter and 3 YO son will love this game. My daughter is a big fan of Cooking Mama on the Nintendo DS and my son is starting to play with this game too - chopping and stirring, so the Babysitting Mama with its doll is even better! It is an excellent way for families to introduce the idea of a new baby in the house in a 'child friendly' way, and had this been around 3 years ago when my son was born, I definitely would have bought one so my daughter could have played with it and learned what new babies are like, before the reality hit! For a Christmas gift that is sure to be played for years in a young household, this game would make an excellent present!

I hope you like my blog. I feel like a party host and you are my guests so it's important to me that you feel welcome! Do follow this blog so I know who my guests are! Your support really makes a difference. x