Video- Double Your Muffins!



If that title doesn't grab your attention, I'm not sure what will!
This video shows the cost conscious mum how to get more muffin for her money whilst always having a lunchbox snack ready to go! (And also how to avoid sweet tooth temptation!)

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Video: Days Out? Stay Stocked up on Snacks and Drinks!



Here's a simple way to stay organised on family days out- ensuring that you have enough drinks and snacks for your kids, without breaking the bank!

If the video is not shown directly below, just scroll to the bottom of this blog and you will find it at the bottom of the screen! It's a minor vlog glitch that I'm working on!

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Review: Organic Surge Shampoo & Conditioner

**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Colour Protect Shampoo & Conditioner by Organic Surge
Buy Online Here: www.organicsurge.com
Price: £4.99 each
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


The blurb: Prevent your hair colour fading with Organic Surge Colour Protect Shampoo and Colour Protect Conditioner. This natural duo will care and protect colour treated hair blending natural moisturisers with Lychee extract, scientifically proven to prolong the intensity of your hair colour. Whether your hair is blonde, red, brown or black Colour Protect Duo will keep your colour alive!

Initial Thoughts: I loved the clean and modern feel of the packaging. The bottles looked like they'd be perfect for me to take to the gym so this is exactly what I did! At first I was surprised that the shampoo bottle was larger than the conditioner- mainly because I tend to put LOADS of conditioner on my hair as it's so dry. So I end up running out of conditioner first! But of course sometimes it's good to shampoo your hair twice to ensure it's really clean so this must be why you get more of that! I liked the lovely bright colours on the label, which makes a nice change from some brands of shampoo and conditioner on the market that go for 'minimalist' white or neutral tones. I like brightness!

I Liked: The smell of these products was absolutely gorgeous! I think that part of the whole experience of using the products we choose has to do with how many of our senses it touches. So visually I liked the packaging and I loved the smell too- big ticks for both!! The scent was uplifting and ended up being my favourite thing about using these products.

I wasn't Keen: Being a highlighted blonde with naturally brown hair, my hair has seen a lot of colouring and has become dry through bleach and foil highlights. Coupled with my natural hair texture which is coarse and frizzy (I blow dry a lot and use heated rollers too) which means I am a candidate for really intensive moisturising products! I need as much moisture as I can get and these products let me down a bit on this score. Having said that, I would agree that my hair is quite an extreme case! I am at the far end of dryness with it- and the moisturising qualities of this shampoo and conditioner would probably be sufficient for a person with 'normal' hair.

Overall: The Organic Surge shampoo and conditioner that I tried are sold at a reasonable price point for what you get. I think that they'd be perfect for people who have really fashionable vibrant hair colours which are really 'in' at the moment but can fade very quickly. If you have hair colour that pops and want to keep it, give these a try!

**Addition** Hey readers, I wanted to give you an update! The people at Organic Surge read my review and loved it but were a little sad for my dry, frizzy hair. So, they sent me their shampoo and conditioner especially for dry or frizzy hair- it is called the Moisure Boost duo. This set looks just like the ones pictured above but the label is a dusky pink colour rather than red.
I have to say, the Moisture Boost left my hair in better condition than the other set, so for end results- I'd pick that one! However I did prefer the gorgeous smell of the Colour Protect duo. The Moisture Boost duo smells ok with organic almond and palmarosa essential oils - nice enough, but my vote for smell goes to Colour Protect!!

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At Home Column #15 - Business Mum: 'How To Plan For The School Holidays!'

at home's blogger Nadine Hill is always brimming with top time management tips to help other busy mums juggle their careers with family life – and we absolutely love her fab fortnightly features. And with Easter half term in full swing, Nadine has put together a very exclusive video post to show modern mums (and dads!) how to plan activities for the school holidays and keep the little ones entertained...





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 At Home and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions too!
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About the Author
Nadine Hill is a busy working mum (“Is there any other kind?!”) who has a fascination with time management which borders on the obsessive! She loves to find more effective ways of doing the daily juggle whilst enjoying the journey and has lots of practise through raising her two children, managing her small business, being a best-selling author, running her home, public speaking and finding time to get to the gym! Nadine’s ambition is to help busy mums claw back a bit of ‘me time’ so she shares her tips with at home in these fortnightly columns and her own life stories on her blog- Juggle Mum.
She also micro blogs on Twitter where she is @Businessmum. You can learn more about Nadine at www.NadineHill.com

Review: i-Pic Photo Frame

**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Personalised photo frame by i-pic
Buy Online Here: www.ipic-uk.com
Price: £9.99 plus delivery
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The blurb: i-pic introduce the latest innovative way to frame your perfect moments! i-pic is an innovative new product, designed to display your most cherished photographs, making this product a perfect gift for a wide range of occasions.
i-pic allows you to write personal messages on both the front and back of the frame, really bringing your image to life. The frames are also magnetic so you can display your favourite pictures on any magnetic surface, including your family fridge - offering multiple ways to display your perfect moment, for everybody to see and enjoy.


Initial Thoughts: I thought this was a really cute idea- and would make a fab gift for a special occasion like a wedding or birthday. It is definitely a 'girly' gift, I don't think men would be as pleased with an i-pic gift but women appreciate the personal touch, so I ordered one as a gift for my friend. The website confused me a little initially, as it says the i-pic is a personalised photo FRAME, so I just expected to get a frame that I could put my own hard copy photo into. However the i-pic is both a frame and a photo within it! I realised this when I was asked to upload my photo (thinking it was to put around the outside of the frame) but it was for inside the actual frame!
When the frame arrives you can see that there is nowhere to insert a hard copy photo, so bear in mind that the picture displayed is not interchangeable, but that said, if you match up the displayed image to what goes around it, it makes a very nice, personal, unique gift for a special occasion.



I Liked: The attention to detail. The website automatically checks the resolution of customer images and should put a warning on the screen that the quality may not be as good as they would like. Uploaded images are checked for quality and suitability by their staff too and they will email customers before completing the configuration process if there is an issue so quality wise you are in good hands.

This is the front of my frame and I liked how solid and substantial the frame felt in my hands. It is hard wearing and I love that I can display it on the fridge with it being magnetic. It gives you more display options than just the usual mantle piece or windowsill!

I wasn't Keen: I did find the website a little confusing at first. When I went to 'create your own' frame, it asked me to upload a new photo which I did. I expected the photo to be used around the frame edge- leaving the actual 'picture' bit blank- for the recipient to insert their own treasured photo, but the picture I uploaded went into the centre of the frame as the display photo. I wasn't expecting this.
I decided to go with a pre designed frame and personalise it instead as this was less confusing than the 'create your own' option- but this could be just me! The option to use their pre designed templates was very easy to navigate and I easily found the theme I wanted.

Overall: This frame will make a very special and personal gift and at £9.99 plus delivery, it is set at a price point that makes it very affordable. I'd definitely use i-pic again in the future for a photo frame with a difference!

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Review: Steam Mop by Black & Decker

**This is an amended Product Review Post**



Product Name: Steam Mop by Black & Decker
Buy Here: http://www.blackanddecker.co.uk/steammop/ for store locator or search online
Price: £79.99
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The blurb: Kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria with the Black & Decker Steam Mop.
Clean your home the natural way - the Steam Mop kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria using only tap water - no heavy scrubbing or harsh chemicals needed. (The Black & Decker® steam mop will kill 99.9% of common household germs and bacteria, such as Salmonella and E.Coli, provided the floor surface is visually clean and the steam mop is used as directed in the instruction manual.)


Initial Thoughts: The mop was easy to set up and use but the carpet glider part confused my husband at first! He assembled the mop and started doing the kitchen floor with it but there was an awful scratchy sound. I realised that he'd put the carpet glider onto the end of the mop when it didn't need to be there for wood floors like we have in the kitchen! This was the reason for the scratchy sound, so when the carpet glider was removed, the mop was instantly quiet and worked properly! I do love how you can use this steam mop on carpets though- it won't pick up dirt, you will have to vacuum first, but the mop will freshen and deodorise carpets which is an extra benefit. This feature will save money in the long run as I tend to get my living room carpet steamed once a year so this mop has already recouped its value with that functionality.

I Liked: It felt reassuring when I could see the steam coming off my bathroom tile after swiping the mop over the area! You could tell that the floor was clean and after doing my laminate wood floors first, when I turned the dial to 'tile' I could really see the power. The steam is more restrained on wood although it does lift the dirt. But in tile, you really get the full blast of steam! Another plus is how fast this mop was to use- the heat up time is just 15 seconds so there is no hanging around!

I wasn't Keen: I had to write something in this section but it's hard to find anything to dislike about this mop! Let's face it - mopping the floor isn't my favourite activity, there will always be better things to do but this device makes the whole process easier, faster and dare I say more enjoyable?! I like how the cleaning pad can be removed and washed in my machine so I don't have to purchase replacement pads which is money saving. You just have to make sure that you don't use fabric softener when you wash it, so I've been putting it in with my gym kit. My Nike active wear is all 'dri-fit' which means you can't use fabric softener with that either so I bung it all in together!

Overall: This mop is a very useful addition to any domestic goddess's toolkit! Storing it takes up less space than a mop and bucket, and the fact that it runs on water only has environmental kudos as well as saving money on using detergents. I think this is a brilliant invention and the swivel head makes it really easy to glide over the floor so using it is really simple. In fact, because it is a bit more 'hi tech' than a bog standard mop, the kids showed an interest in it so with a bit of encouragement, I bet I can get them to give it a go on my next use- thereby saving my own energy too!

***ADDENDUM***:
After using my steam mop for about a month, the handle snapped one morning whilst I was stooping low to clean under a chair! It was the plastic handle that broke- maybe I was putting too much pressure onto it but I didn't feel like I was applying any stress to the mop by bending low to clean under a chair!

Anyway I contacted Black & Decker's PR company and I was sent a new steam mop with no quibbles, their attention to customer service was excellent. They also advised me that the Steam Mop comes with a 2 year warranty, so any issues like this can be dealt with quickly. I didn't expect a 2 year warranty as these days most products seem to come with just 1 year so I was very impressed.

I've also decided that in future I will just move the chair to clean, rather than try to clean under it by bending down!! Thanks everyone who was involved in sending my new steam mop- I'm VERY happy with it!

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I'm Speaking at CyberMummy 2011!

I can't wait until June this year! Because it's CyberMummy 2011!

After last year's excellent event where I hosted the lunchtime table discussion "The Blog Life Balance" and we had the rowdiest table of the lot(!) the lunchtime discussion has been developed and improved to become an afternoon workshop on the schedule!


I've been working with the lovely Ellen from In A Bun Dance as my case study for the past few weeks, coaching her through some time management techniques to help make her blogging smoother! The things we've done and lessons learned will form part of the workshop to help other bloggers on the day!

The team at Kelloggs have sponsored me so I'm in a nice hotel! Just as well - with all the freebies we got from Cybermummy last year, I couldn't stagger back on the train with it all so this way I only have to stagger back to the hotel!



So hope to see you there - come say "Hi"! http://www.cybermummy.com/

10k Baby!!

In one month from now I'm doing the Race for Life - but this time, it is for a total distance of 10K not the usual 5k!!

This is when I did it last year!

I'm a little nervous if I'm honest because whilst I KNOW I can do 5k, doing double that in one go is a stretch! I go to the gym regularly for zumba and spinning, and I try to run once a week but the past few weeks have seen me failing miserably at that!


This is me in 2010 (left) and 2009 (right). As you can see I managed to shed some weight from 2009 to 2010 and I've shifted even more from 2010 to 2011! I think I've plateaued as my motivation to exercise has dropped somewhat of late. Even though I know I'll feel better when I do it, after a busy day of working and looking after the kids, I want to get in my PJs and eat ice cream on the sofa. By now I would have expected to be doing an 8k run each week, building up to 9k then 10k by June so I'm prepared for the race, but the most I've done so far is 6k.

However being a generally positive person I'm not beating myself up too much about this. I know I'll get there in the end. I trust myself. I have two strong legs that work and so as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I'll get there in the end. Even if it means I collapse after the finish line!

Wish me luck readers, and think of me on 12th June, pounding the track dressed in pink!

Have you ever done Race for Life or do you have any tips for me? Drop me a comment below!

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At Home Column #14- Time Management Tips for Kate!

The run up to a wedding is a time when the bride is spinning many plates, so can you imagine what bride to be Kate Middleton’s diary looks like this month? But not only will she have a lot to organise, with the world’s media eyes on her she’ll have to do it whilst looking effortless and naturally glam too! Of course the new Princess will have lots of help to pull together her big day, so for her and other brides to be across the country, here are some top tips for being a Jugglista on your big day!

Make yourself less available
As the ‘star’ of the show on your big day, everyone wants a piece of you and you’ll need to be well rested beforehand to be up to the challenge! In the weeks leading up to your wedding, scale back social commitments (except for the hen night of course!) and preserve your energy for the marathon to come! I remember on my wedding day, as the ‘host’ of the occasion, I was present all day and the last to leave on the night! Everyone has come to see you, so you can’t go sloping off to bed early! You won’t get much sleep on your wedding night but it will be due to the entertaining rather than any bedroom shenanigans!

Chief Bridesmaid as a Decoy!
This leads me onto the next point – consummating the marriage. Given that you’ll most likely be on the dance floor until the small hours, if the marriage is to be consummated on the wedding day, the prime slot is after the wedding breakfast but before the night do begins! Your guests will be in a lull period, probably propping up the bar so brief your Chief Bridesmaid in advance that her presence is required to mingle with the guests, looking official in her fancy gown, enabling you to slope off with your new hubby! Having her around for the guests to see will make them wonder less about where you are, and you can join the party again when you’re ready. Guests will assume you’ve been off having photos done on the hotel grounds somewhere!

Plan, plan, plan...
For your day to run smoothly, you will want to have thought out and planned through the day beforehand, leaving you to relax and enjoy when it arrives. This means thinking about your guests and what they might need. If children are attending your wedding, purchase some colouring books and pens or other age appropriate games to keep them quiet during the speeches. When I took my children to a recent family wedding, I took their Nintendo DS consoles, as did some of the other mums for their kids, so they had plenty to do in the ‘boring’ part! (ie: any time they weren’t posing for pictures or eating!). The seating plan is also key so everyone knows where they need to be and can just get seated ready for your big entrance!

Put Someone in Charge!
If you do not have a wedding planner, farm out the responsibilities to your close family guests. The Duty Manager in a hotel will usually run the day for you if you use this kind of venue, but if not, make sure someone is there to shepherd the guests to where they need to be. Ensure they have a running order for the day with timings, and put different people in charge of different things so they can all do their bit then relax and enjoy the day.

Take One Moment at a Time...
The most important thing for the bride on her big day is to be mindfully present. Don’t get caught up in the arrangements, others are sorting that for you now. Your only job is to enjoy the day and savour each moment. The day goes so fast and it’s one that you’ll remember forever, so don’t go into ‘autopilot’ mode! On my wedding day my cousin who had married the year before me told me to get to the top of the aisle then pause and look around to take it all in before I walked down. I’m so glad I did because when I close my eyes now I can see the mental picture. I can see the guests sat waiting for me, and my husband waiting at the front. I remember how it felt to be the ‘queen for the day’ and how much I enjoyed that first glass of champagne afterwards, now the nerve wracking ‘official’ bit was over! Some of my night do is a bit of a blur, although I do remember playing air guitar to Bon Jovi in my white meringue wedding gown! Now that is something I can’t forget!

What memories do you have of your big day, or any tips for Kate? Drop me a line below...



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 At Home and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions too!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
About the Author
Nadine Hill is a busy working mum (“Is there any other kind?!”) who has a fascination with time management which borders on the obsessive! She loves to find more effective ways of doing the daily juggle whilst enjoying the journey and has lots of practise through raising her two children, managing her small business, being a best-selling author, running her home, public speaking and finding time to get to the gym! Nadine’s ambition is to help busy mums claw back a bit of ‘me time’ so she shares her tips with at home in these fortnightly columns and her own life stories on her blog- Juggle Mum.
She also micro blogs on Twitter where she is @Businessmum. You can learn more about Nadine at www.NadineHill.com

Video: What To Do When Your Boy Needs a Wee... and There's Nowhere To Go!

We've all been there- with your toilet trained child in a long queue for the checkout and suddenly he needs a wee!
Here's how to solve the problem without losing your place in the queue! (This only works with boys unfortunately- you'll see what I mean!)



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I Don't Have Time To Write! New Book Out Now!



It's here! My latest book is now available to buy on Amazon!

Have you always wanted to write a book but don't seem to have the time? Do you struggle to get your writing projects, blogs, press releases or articles written on time? If so, this book is for you!

'I Don't Have Time To Write' is written for those people who just don't have enough hours in the day! Whether the dream is to write a book or to regularly produce content for a blog, this book will help you to learn the tips and tricks to get your piece of writing done - AND have a life in the process!

On a personal note, this book was quite fast for me to write but spent a while in production, so I'm so happy that it is finally out and can start to help budding writers to achieve their dream!

There is a chapter focused on bloggers and one focused on Infopreneurs (people who write content for their businesses) but the whole book content works for writers of all kinds. The one thing they will have in common is a desire to write but a lack of time to do it!

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:
Turbo Boost Your Writing Productivity
Whether you write for a living or whether you have a writing project that's absorbing your time, it's very likely that you're over-worked, over-stretched and under a deadline. No matter what you have to get written - from a book, a blog or a press release to an article, an advertisement or anything in between - it always pays to get it written quickly and efficiently. If time is pressing but the desire to get your non-fiction work written is pressing just as hard, or if you catch yourself saying "I don't have time..." this book is for you! Author, mum and time-management guru, Nadine Hill shares a wealth of tried-and-tested tips, tactics and techniques to help you complete your next writing project in less time.
Nadine Hill is a busy working mum ("Is there any other kind?!") who has a fascination with time management which borders on the obsessive! She loves to find more effective ways of doing the daily juggle whilst enjoying the journey and has lots of practise through raising her two children, managing her small business, being a best-selling author, running her home, public speaking and finding time to get to the gym! Nadine lives in Yorkshire, UK with her husband, two young children and two mischievous cats! You can learn more about her at www.NadineHill.com

Want a free copy?
I have five review copies to give away- All I ask of the winners is that they read the book straight-away and post a review onto Amazon.co.uk and also on Amazon.com (use the same review!) within two weeks of receipt!
If you would like a free copy (worth £15) and can commit to writing up your review within a two week time-scale, please drop me a comment below with your email address so I can contact you.
I will post to UK addresses only. **NOTE: All review copies have now been allocated**

You can learn more about the book at its special website: www.IDontHaveTime.co.uk

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The Luckiest Horse in The World

This is the composed 'after' shot:


But before we got to this fine snapshot of calm equestrian life, we had the squeals (this was my kids in over excitement), the brushing of wiry tails, the horses slobbery chops on our hands whilst they ate all the apples we'd took, and the dog with a death wish who wouldn't move from in front of my car as I drove onto the farm!

My friend Claire has this magnificent horse Bryah. Look at her- she's as tall as a police horse (Bryah, not Claire!) and Claire has her stabled a short drive from where we live so we went round to visit last Half Term. Claire is the sultry brunette in all these shots - I was behind the camera!

This is the kids grooming Bryah:


And this is my daughter bravely attempting to get near the tail to give it a brush!


Claire told me that horses like treats, carrots and apples, so we went via Sainsbury's to get some. I took a bag of 'Value' apples, thinking that the horse won't want all of them and I'd be able to put the rest into my own fruit bowl! No such luck! Bryah loves her treats - she's the luckiest horse in the world!

As someone who is clueless about horses, I knew they took a lot of work, but I didn't realise how much! It's like having a newborn baby who stays in newborn stage forever! At least with a baby you get kisses and cuddles in bed. I wouldn't want to bring this beast near my bedroom- she'd take up a whole Kingsize! But my daughter absolutely loved Bryah. Since our day at the stables, she has started plaiting her toy horses tail, just like the show horses! Bless her!