Thursday, 31 March 2011

Budget Gift Ideas For Mother's Day

A new report from Budget car hire has highlighted that 2 in 3 Brits are now neglecting to celebrate Mother’s Day. I find that really sad, Mother's Day is so important and whilst I agree that it has become a commercial money making event, you really don't have to spend to make your Mum smile. Here's my top tips for a budget Mother's Day...

Make Your Own Cards
Last year Mister A made me a fabulous card (above), that cost just pennies to make. I still have it stored in a special keepsake box. There is something so special about childrens homemade cards and gifts, you really can't go wrong.

Treat Her
My ideal Mother's Day would to be woken up by my children and treated to breakfast in bed by my other half. It's the simple little things that count. Cook her dinner, do the dishes - do something you usually wouldn't - even if it's just replacing the loo roll (grrrr)!

Have Some Family Fun
A Mum loves nothing more than seeing her children smile so why not head to the park and have a giggle. We have a boomerang and when we take it to the park we always end up in fits of laughter - usually because Daddy made it and it never comes back!

This one is for Mums with a sweet tooth! Make some gingerbread (very cheap) and ice your lovely Mothers Day message on to it. 

Make A Memory Box
Get the kids to decorate an old shoe box with crafty bits and pics and then fill it with memories. She'll love it! 

Make a Mothers Day Collage
Use old magazines to cut out words that link to your mum and stick them all down with copies of family photos.

WIN: Why not share your best tips for Mother’s Day money saving ideas. We will pick the best response and the lucky winner will get a weekend (Friday to Sunday) free car hire courtesy of Budget. 

Just comment with your tip below to be in with a chance of winning but make sure you leave a contact method!

Competition closes Midnight Sunday 3rd April 2011. Standard Budget T&Cs apply:,Rental_Advice

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Co-operative Revolution

Sponsored Post
Every year The Co-operative supports thousands of initiatives both in the UK and the developing world, helping people to change the world around them. The Co-operative Group launched a TV ad on 7th March which told the story of the Rochdale Pioneers, the first successful co-operative back in 1844. This revolution is still going strong with over six million members across the UK spanning over 5,000 outlets including pharmacy, funerals, financial services and travel companies all contributing to a Community Fund.

This campaign highlights The Co-operative's ethical credentials and features real people including local community groups. One such group, Play Montgomeryshire, provides families with free or low cost activities that give children greater opportunity to learn through play.

One of their services, the Machynlleth Toy Library, came under threat of closure when its existing funding was cancelled. The library is a well-loved part of the local community, and Mieke and the Play Montgomeryshire team were determined to save it. The group approached The Co-operative and secured a donation of £2,000 from the Community Fund. As a result, they are now confident that the library will continue to serve local children.

The Co-operative Community Fund is funded by the money that members agree to donate from their share of the profits. In 2010 their generosity allowed them to make 1319 awards to local community projects.

I think it's fabulous that The Co-Operative are always giving something back to the community. and I'll be spreading the word in my village. If you want to get involved too, then you can vote for your favourite revolutions online or why not join the revolution and start your very own. Good luck!

Monday, 28 March 2011

How Do You Get Poo Off A Mattress?

*This is not a 'how to' guide - more a cry of help!*

Yesterday, in a hurry to get Little E dressed I decided to just change her on the bed. Normally I would always use a changing mat - just because Mister A used to have a habit of weeing whenever I removed his nappy. Little E has always been good - never done anything of the sort. Yesterday however I was attacked by a machine gun of baby poo mid change. I'd taken Little E's nappy away and had the new one in hand. Just as I lifted her legs to pop it underneath the evacuation took place. 

It went all over the bed, all over my leg, all over my hand, covered the clean nappy- it even managed to hit the carpet. Panic. 

What do you do? I only had one nappy in the room but it was covered in poop. I could mop up the mess but Id have no where to put the dirty wipes. What if more was to come out? I couldn't lift her without covering my clothes. I couldn't leave her because she was on the edge of the bed.

I eventually (after about 20 minutes) managed to 'baby wipe' everything up including Little E, leaving only a neat pile of poo covered wipes and nappies on my unread copy of OK Magazine. Downer. The sheet has since gone in the wash with copious amounts of Vanish but I can't seem to get rid of the poo circle from my mattress. Tips anyone?!

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Day Mister A Made Me Cry

On the way home from nursery Mister A and I often play a game of 'Put Your Hand Up If...' I'm not really sure where the game originated from but the idea is Mister A says something along the lines of "Put your hand up if you drive a black car" "Put your hand up if you go to nursery" and if you do, you put your hand up - you get the picture. It's a pretty pointless game really but we always end up giggling away.

Today the theme was love. "Put your hand up if you love your Mummy" said Mister A. We both put our hands up. "Put your hand up if you love your Daddy." Again, we both put our hands up. 

"Put your hand up if you love your Grandma." I put my hand up, but explained (as I have done before) that my Grandma is in Heaven. "Did she die?" asked Mister A. "Yes" I replied, "and now she's a star up in the sky."

He paused for a minute before responding, "Aaaaah, that's sad but Mummy but I've been thinking and I've got a plan. We can go to the ladder shop and buy a magic ladder, then we'll wait until the night and then, when it's dark, we put it in the road. You can hold the bottom and then I'll climb up and get all the people down and they can go home to their families."

I was overwhelmed. A tear rolled down my cheek, what a lovely thing to suggest.

I'm not sure how long he's been thinking of this plan but I just thought it was such a lovely thing to say and I want to cry every time I think of his innocent little face regaling the idea. If only that was how it worked. Bless him. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tried & Tested: Mothers Day Gifts

It's Mother's Day on 3rd April and if, like me, you always struggle to find that perfect gift then this Tried & Tested guide may be of assistance. All the gifts have been reviewed by real people so you can be sure you're selecting the very best lovelies for your Mum. There's something for every budget so let us know if you find something you like...

Greens Cookies With Love (Asda £1.25)

Nothing can be sweeter than spending a little bit of time and effort on a homemade creation, so with Mother’s Day around the corner, now is the time to kick start your baking bonanza. Convenient and easy to make, these vanilla flavoured cookies come complete with scrumptious strawberry icing and blackcurrant writing gel so you can personalise your cookies with lovely Mother's Day messages. All Green’s products are made with natural ingredients and no artificial colourings and the cookie box also includes your very own heart shaped cutter. Cookies with Love are sold exclusively in Asda for £1.25.

What our reviewer said:

"We absolutely loved this kit, it's so easy - all you need to do is add butter - something we've all got in the fridge. The Cookies with love Set comes with a heart shaped cutter which you can reuse again and again. These cookies are great for any time of year but we'll be buying more packs to decorate for Grandma on Mother's Day. What a lovely handmade gift with not much effort and delicious too - nom nom nom."

Ella Pure Stressy Rollerball (£5.00)

Clary Sage, Geranium & Rose Help combat the stresses and strains of the day with this powerful blend, which also has a strong effect on balancing emotional tension such as feelings of loneliness, resentment, fretfulness, shock, lack of confidence, grief, guilt, and even jealousy. These instant application blends use Grapeseed Oil as the carrier and are ready to be applied directly to your pulse points to gain rapid entry into your blood stream, easy to use, compact and easy to take anywhere. 10ml

What our reviewer said:

"The first time I used this I wasn't particularly stressed but I just wanted to have a smell and see if it had any affect on me. I wasn't really sure it did anything to be honest. A few days later I hit a particularly 'testing' time with my son and thought I'd give it a go. It didn't stop the rage immediately I must but it did relax me and calm me. It's hard to explain how it worked but it left me feeling 'unwound' is that a word - he he - what I mean is - usually I would have been in a bad mood for the rest of the evening but I wasn't. Worth a try - I'm keeping it with me at all times!"

ELF Mineral Glow Kit (£10.00)

Our Mineral Glow Starter Kits will help you on your way to healthier glowing skin. Whether you want to create a subtle healthy glow or summer tan with our 'Bronzed Mineral Glow' or illuminated and shimmering skin with our soft pink 'Shimmer Mineral Glow', these sheer, natural powders will leave your skin looking and feeling healthy and radiant. After following this beauty regime you will noticeably feel and see the pure difference e.l.f. Natural Mineral Makeup can do! All of our mineral glow powders are 100% mineral based with no parabens, no preservatives and no chemical dyes.

What our reviewer said:

"Summers on the door step but I'm one of those people that likes to look glowing without the help of the Sun. I usually use bronzing pearls so I was looking forward to trying something different. I have in the past struggled with loose powder but there's a little 'tray' inside the ELF set so you can't overload your brush. It's not as orange as my pearls, which can only be a good thing, and I found that it left me with a lovely natural glow. Lovely set, soft brush and case. Fabulous."

Hotel Chocolat All About Mum H-Box Selection (£11.00)

Chocolates created especially for mums to enjoy this Mother's Day with their feet up – including melt-away pralines, uplifting fruity recipes, mellow caramel, luscious truffles and more, all beautifully decorated and ready to make sure your mum is well and truly pampered this Mother’s Day.

What our reviewer said:

"It's no secret that I'm a chocolate fiend -I literally tore the box apart when it arrived! I did the usual trick of eating my least favourite flavours first but even they were A-mazing and by the time I got to the end I was in chocolate heaven! These chocolates were something else and they've certainly left me wanting more. I know what I'll be getting for my Easter Treat!"

Simple Radiant Skin Mother's Day Gift Set (£17.99
or half price when you sign up*)

Simple offers the perfect treat for your mum this Mother’s Day with the Simple Radiant Skin gift set. The Simple Radiance range is packed with a blend of vital vitamins and skin loving nutrients, further boosting and brightening the skin, creating a more youthful, healthy, glowing appearance every day. Perfect for mothers in need of a little lift, the Simple Radiant Skin gift set contains Simple Radiance Cleansing Wipes, Simple Radiance Brightening Moisturiser SPF 10 and Simple Radiance Eye Cream. All Simple products are formulated with no perfume, no colour and no harsh chemicals, so you can rest assured that the Simple Radiance range is suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive.

What our reviewer said:

"I've heard a lot about Simple but in honesty I'd never tried it. The range is absolutely gorgeous though and the creams smell good enough to eat. The products are packed full of 'mango goodness and they really left my skin glowing. I use these everyday now and I'm already leaving notes for my OH to buy me more! I would recommend you all to try this and I know my mum would love one of these sets too. The wipes are handy and keep them in my bag at work to perk me up! The range is a great price and is well worth the money."

*Simple are offering a 50% discount on the gift set to anybody that signs up as a Simple V.I.P. (exclusive to in time for Mother’s Day.

MamaJewels (£23.95)

Mama Jewels is all about gorgeous motherhood, whether it's Mum to be gifts, unique new mum gifts or breastfeeding necklaces, we have a gorgeous selection of teething necklaces and nursing necklaces. Mum shouldn’t sacrifice style and we believe that a happy mummy makes a happy baby. Our gifts are thoughtful, practical and above all glamorous. We truly believe that New mums give up so much when baby arrives. Unusual New Mum presents are our speciality and we feel that this is a very important time to treat mum.

What our reviewer said:

"I put the necklace on as soon as it arrived and it wasn't long before an inquisitive Little E started tugging at it and trying to put it in her mouth. I was happy to let her bite on it as I knew that MamaJewels were fully strength tested and non-toxic. The necklace has become a part of my 'mum uniform' and it really helps to wear it when I'm breast feeding. Instead of getting distracted by the surroundings Little E plays with my MamaJewels. Brilliant and stylish - love it- a fab gift for new mums!"
Use the code YUMMYMUM for a 20% discount at the checkout

Aromathetrapy Associates Miniature Bath & Shower Oil Collection (£28.50)
An international best-seller, the Miniature Bath & Shower Oil Collection contains award winning blends of natural bath & shower oils to suit your Mum’s every mood. The Relax oils restore peace and tranquility, De-Stress can help to clear the mind and ease physical stresses and strains, Revive invigorates and energises and Support takes care of your Mum in times of need.

What our reviewer said:

"Having just gone back to work, I'm finding myself quite stressed out and there's nothing better than a nice warm bath to unwind. I've tried all of these fab oils my favourite is definitely the De-Stress Mind Bath & Shower Oil. It smelt good and I believe it helped me really helped me to relax and unwind. If your mum likes a little bit of luxury then treat her - she'll love you just that little bit more."

Philips Quadrante (Amazon £79.99)

Our new model Quadrante coffee machine, inspired by new interior design trends, is more than just a great looking coffee machine. Apart from inheriting the ease of use and speed from it's predecessor it also brews coffee in under a minute.With a unique brewing system for optimal coffee taste,every cup of coffee is freshly brewed and prepared with the ultimate balance between coffee and water - a guarantee for a smooth, full coffee taste and delicious aroma. Removable extra-large water reservoir for fewer refills (4 mugs/8 cups).

What our reviewer said:

"I was so excited to test this - poor Leanne doesn't like coffee so she couldn't test it herself mwahahaha *evil laugh* Firstly I'm pleased to say that it was really easy to set up once I discovered the quick start card but I would recommend that you give the tank a shake before you use (just to realease the sensor). You can interchange the filter thing-a-me-bob depending on whether you want 1 cup or two. (I used the 2 cup for one big mug) We tested the Easy Weekend and the Morning Americano pods (they look like giant teabags) we loved both but preferred the latter. It's a fab coffee machine that's changed the way our house drinks coffee. The only downside was that you didn't get the fancy square cups shown on the box : ( All in all, a great invention, quick brews and I think my Mum would agree!"
Mothers always enjoy the gift of beautiful flowers delivered to their homes. Choose from a wide variety of vibrant, colorful arrangements online. Why not have flowers delivered?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Mister A Is His Own Imaginary Friend!

A couple of weeks ago Mister A asked me if I would play a game of Ben 10 with him. I like to join in with his imaginative games and soon we were both playing the role of Ben 10, fighting aliens and sporting Omnitrix. It wasn't long before Little E started to cry out for attention and so I suggested that we pause the game. "It's ok," Mister A said "Gwen will be fine." Gwen?! Yes it seems, Little E had been cast in the game. too A couple of minutes later Daddy came in. "Mister A, tell Daddy what we're playing." 

"That's not Daddy, it's Kevin!" The game continued and we all joined in. It was good fun and we all played along in the magical world of make-believe.

Chris and I thought the whole role play game was hilarious and when it was time to go to bed we naturally assumed the game was over. Later that night though, after Mister A had been asleep for a couple of hours I heard something. When I went to listen at the bottom of the stairs I couldn't hear his usual cries of "Mummy" instead a voice was crying out for Ben! The little monkey was still playing through the night time hours- even though he'd been asleep!!

After avoiding the game for a while, today we are back in the land of Ben 10. Only this time there are 2 Gwen's (me and Little E) and Daddy had resumed his role as Kevin. It would all be fine but  for the fact that Mister A will now not respond to his own name.

Earlier on I asked him "Who has left these toys out?" he replied with "It was Mister A, he's so naughty sometimes." I tried to contain my giggles but when I heard him telling 'Mister A' off in the hallway and sending him to the naughty step I couldn't contain it! 

Rather than having an imaginary friend - Mister A has made himself the imaginary friend and he is now Ben! Wish me luck - it's going to be a LONG weekend!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Comic Relief - Red Nose Day Fundraising

As I'm sure you are all aware, today is Comic Relief and as it's a Friday, I was at work. We like do lots of fundraising at our office so when it came to Comic Relief this year I was really looking forward to doing 'something funny for money'. Previous events have seen us dressing up, shooting goals at the CEO and lots of other random games. Unfortunately for me, it was decided that our team would  -between us- cycle and row the distance from London to Paris (the rowing was the water bit - get it!)

No I'm not pregnant - the 'big tummy' is actually the sleeves of my sweatshirt tied around my waist!

As you know my fitness attempts so far have failed miserably so I wasn't exactly excited by the prospect of an hour on an exercise bike and half an hour on a rower. Nevertheless I like to do my bit and so today during my allotted time slots I managed to row 3.5 km and cycle 28.9km for Comic Relief.  Between us our team managed to smash the London to Paris mileage and made a total of £452 through donations - that's enough to pay for 3 sight saving operations.

Well done to everyone that's been fundraising today and if you haven't already then you can donate online at the Comic Relief site.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Review: Samsung 3.5" Digital Video Baby Monitor

When the postman arrived with this parcel containing a baby monitor, I unwrapped it and put it to one side. To be honest I expected the Samsung to be like any other baby monitor on the market and so I didn't really rush to open the box. 

It was only later on that day when I was tidying up that I actually took a look at the image of the monitor on the side of the box and then I became intrigued. As soon as I opened the box I started to get really excited and I knew that this piece of 'equipment' was special. In fact, even though I haven't even told you anything about this monitor yet you should know that this is THE BEST baby monitor I have ever come across...EVER!

The thing that enticed me at first was the sleekness of it. It's not at all 'clunky' like a regular monitor, in fact I'd go so far as to say that it is stylish. I know - I haven't gone mad though - read on! The parent unit actually looks like a mobile phone and is fitted with a 3.5" colour LCD screen...

The baby unit is equally as brilliant in it's nature. As well as the camera it also has a built in thermometer allowing the temperature of the room where the camera is situated to be displayed on the parent monitor. 

It has a two-way audio system so when Little E cries I can just sit on the couch and talk to her or even sing her a lullaby without even heading upstairs. (Can I blame Samsung for my lack of weightloss - probably not!) I love that I can see her when she's all tucked up in her cot - it's so great for piece of mind. And if you can't sing- there's a sound activated lullaby player which works a treat if Little E gets unsettled.

Although the monitor looked great I was worried that it might not perform to the same level. I needn't have worried though because I was really, really impressed with the performance. The images are so clear and the camera picks up even the slightest movement.  That might all seem very well but what about when the lights are off? Well yet again I can't fault this fabulous piece of kit - the infrared night vision is just as clear.

I've tried the monitor all over the house and even took it to the bottom of the garden with no interference or loss of signal, which reminds me -
both units can work off battery or mains which is always a good thing.

That's not all either - the monitor also has a unique integration with web-based video chat applications such as Skype, MSN and Yahoo. Using Skype (and the enclosed disc) it is possible to set Samsung’s baby monitoring system to automatically answer your call - allowing you to remotely view from anywhere in the world. This does not mean that you can go on holiday without your children by the way but I suppose you could use it to check up on the Nanny whilst you're at work or make sure no one's burgling your house whilst your on holiday. Or maybe if you're missing the kids if they're staying at Grandma's house then you can just dial in and make sure they're coping without you. Pure brilliance!

And if all that wasn't enough, you can even connect it to your TV  - when Mister A was naughty last week we plugged the monitor in to our TV  in the lounge and used it to make sure that he was being good. The Samsung Baby Monitor also allows for up to 4 cameras to be viewed via one single parent unit making this video baby monitor ideal for use with all of your children!

So what's the verdict?

I can not recommend this monitor highly enough - it's fabulous - it really is. Not only that, it's so easy to use and works straight from the box without any faffing around. If you make one investment for your baby then definitely buy this - it's baby CCTV at it's best. Well done Samsung - you've certainly nailed this one!

The science bit...

Features of the Samsung Baby Video Monitor Include:
  • 3.5" Colour LCD video screen
  • 100m Range
  • 2 x Digital Zoom
  • Two Way Talk Back
  • Lullabies
  • Eco Power Save Mode
  • Night Light
  • Ability to be viewed using Skype,MSN,Yahoo Video chat systems. (PC Connection Required)
  • A/V Output
  • Connect up to 4 Cameras
  • Room Temperature
  • Portable Parent Unit

    Baby Monitor: Samsung 3030WPUK
    Processor: 2.4Ghz
    Screen Size: 3.5"
    Range: 100m
    Talk Back: Yes
    Additional Cameras: Add 3 Extra
    Lullabies: Yes
    Mains Operated:Yes
    Battery Power:Yes
    Tv Output: Yes
    Room Temperature: Yes
    Nightlight: Yes
    Zoom: 2xDigital
    Interference Free: Yes
    Auto Mute: Yes
    Skype Compatible:Yes

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Mister A's Very Naughty Day

I'm always very proud to tell everyone how blessed I am to have 2 wonderful children, in fact I love to boast about how good they are. Today though my patience has been tested to extreme levels as Mister A decided to embark on a household terrorism campaign which resulted in the destruction of the living room carpet and the loss of half a bottle of Cool Water perfume.

This piece of 'artwork' took an impressive 1 and a half minutes to complete which included a dash from his table to the floor. When I returned from the kitchen and saw this... 

... I let out an unimaginable scream and sent Mister A straight to the naughty step.  He had done it on purpose, that I know for sure, but why? Protests of  "It wasn't me mummy" were heard soon after, followed by the "I was just making it nice for you Mummy" line. An hours worth of scrubbing only made it worse and nothing seems to be getting this bad boy stain out so any tips would be gratefully received. This was just the beginning though, Mister A has spent the whole day being incredibly naughty and cheeky with it.

Later on, more silliness resulted in a further trip to the naughty step. This time Mister A managed to locate my handbag and proceeded to pump half a bottle of Davidoff Cool Water in to the hallway. Alerted by the smell I headed for the next confrontation but before I could speak Mister A got in there first, "Mummy can you smell something funny?" "It smells weird round here doesn't it?" I had to take him up to his room this time - I so wanted to laugh but I knew that that would mean I had lost in the parenting stakes.

This evening my Mum rang and I explained what had been going on. She sheepishly asked if it could be down to the Jammy Dodger she gave Mister A yesterday. This made me laugh hysterically but also ask the question if you thought that a biscuit could potentially result in such behaviour, then why on Earth would you give him the Jammy Dodger in the first place!? Clearly the biscuit wasn't at fault, unless Grandma had laced it with mood altering drugs that activate 24 hours down the line.

So now I'm now sat here, wine in hand, staring at my new blue spotted carpet and going over the events of today in my head. What could have caused this unusual outburst? Is this a one off or the start of things to come? And how on Earth am I going to get this bloody stain out!?!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

St Patrick’s Day Cocktails (plus the chance to WIN a St Patrick's Day Celebration Kit)

One week today will be St Patrick’s Day so in line with the latest red carpet trends, green will be the only colour to be seen in. Unfortunately for me getting out to celebrate is virtually impossible with 2 children. So at the weekend I plan to celebrate (in advance) with a green drink instead!

If, like me you like to celebrate St Paddy's Day with a drink or too then when not try these glamourous green cocktails...

Irish Sunset 

MIDORI 25 ml
Cointreau 12.5 ml
Vodka 25 ml
Top with Pineapple Juice

Instructions: Pour ingredients over ice into a glass, and gently stir. This sweet and fruity cocktail the perfect accompaniment to any St Patrick’s Day bash.

Emerald Isle Martini

MIDORI 45 ml
Vodka 45 ml

Instructions: Shake the contents and pour into a cocktail glass for a simple sophisticated St Patrick’s Day celebration cocktail. Garnish with a cherry.

If you fancy winning a St Patrick's Day Celebration Kit courtesy of Midori then head over to the Second Time Mummy Facebook Page NOW for your chance to win. The kit contains: a Leprechaun hat (with ginger beard), 3 miniature (50 ml) Midori bottles , 1 green ice tray, a great Boston Shaker set, and a "grow your own shamrock" kit.
Midori is stocked by Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s and is available in 70cl and 50cl sizes. Guide retail price is £9.34 to £14.85.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Mums Get Just 26 Minutes Per Day To Relax

Did you see yesterday's survey results revealing that an average working mother gets 26 minutes per day to relax. After a month back at work, I'm lucky to get 5 minutes to myself! Sleep time isn't much better either - I only get to bed at about midnight and I'm up again at 5.45am. It really is a non-stop job being a mother and that's before you even start trying to keep your house looking nice.

The study of 1000 women, from across the UK, found more than one third of mothers believed they have less time to themselves than their mothers did a generation earlier. The Changing Face of Motherhood report, which tracked the role of motherhood from the 1930s, was commissioned by household goods firm, P&G. Kate Fox, co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Bristol, said modern mothers had to put in a “double shift” every day because they had to be both a full-time worker and full-time mother. She said: “Motherhood has never been and never should be a solitary endeavour.

“With increasing pressure on mothers to work a double shift – to be the perfect mother as well as a wage-earner – support networks are more important than ever... and mothers are using every means of communication available to build the strong communities and networks of family and friends that they need.”

And according to the Social Issues Research Centre, once the we become grandparents the cycle starts all over again. I'm pretty sure my mum will vouch for that one!

So what else was revealed?

The study’s key findings reveal that 3 out of 10 reckon they have far less “me time” than their own mothers did - barely three hours a week on average.

Almost 9 out of 10 feel guilty about the amount of time they manage to spend with their kids which is 145 minutes a day on an average.

Dads still fail to shoulder their fair share at home - spending only half as much time looking after the kids.

Half of the busy working mothers describe the childcare help they get from grandparents as vital.

But despite their heroic efforts, three in ten of the 1,000 women who participated in the study confessed to being constantly under pressure to be “the perfect mother”.

The research centre said families and fellow mums were becoming more essential than ever in helping hard-pressed women cope.

What do make of these findings? How much time do you get to yourself?

Win Tickets to the Vitality Show with Weight Watchers and Second Time Mummy

Are you ready to be WOWed? Weight Watchers are exhibiting at The Vitality Show 2011, from 24th- 27th March, at Earls Court London! The Vitality Show is the UK’s largest health, beauty, fitness and wellbeing event for women.

Second Time Mummy has a pair of Vitality Show tickets and a gorgeous goodie bag, filled with health and beauty treats to giveaway.

All you have to do to enter the competition is leave a comment below answering the following question:

How many companies are attending The Vitality Show this year?

· Over 300
· Over 50
· Over 25

Don’t forget to visit Weight Watchers at the event on stand E130. Go down and sample the delicious range of Weight Watchers Foods, from scrumptious Muffins to refreshing Wine. You can also pick up the April issue of the magazine, trial their iPhone app, and chat to their Leaders.

And for those of you who don’t win the free tickets we have an exclusive offer for you – get two tickets for £20!* Click here to book tickets and enter the code 'BLOG' to redeem the offer.

*Saving based on door price. Booking and transaction fees apply. To book tickets, visit or call 0871 230 5569 and quote ‘BLOG’.

T&Cs: Competition Closes Wednesday 16th March. The winner will be randomly selected from all correct entries. The winner will be contacted within 2 days. If no response is received within 24 hours then a new winner will be selected. Please note that travel and accommodation are not included.

Find more prizes at ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions and Loquax Competitions

Revisting Old Places... Feeling Old!

On Saturday night I went out with some friends from work. It was my first proper night out since before I got pregnant with Little E so I had been getting really excited about it as the week progressed. We went out for a delicious meal at a posh restaurant and then after a bit of badgering from me (and some horrified looks at the very thought from them) we went to one of my old haunts - Maloney's cocktail bar. Back in the day there were rumours that the bar men had been trained by the same guy that had trained Tom Cruise for his famous appearance in the film Cocktail. At 17, 18 years old that was cool.

So my friends agreed to go - begrudgingly. I haven't been in to this place for 10 years, which in itself made me feel rather old. It's soooo strange visiting places you used to go when you were younger because you expect them to be just how they were. To be fair Maloney's was just how I remembered it - rubbish, full of under age drinkers and at the other end of the scale - mutton dressed as lamb middle aged women that are old enough to know better. Even the decor was the same - now that IS bad! The place hadn't  really changed at all, it was just that I was looking at it from a different perspective. 

We had a fab night and laughed at the women dancing - no longer round their handbags - just holding their drinks above their heads precariously and pulsing their arms in time to the music. There was a guy of around 70 wearing a mac (which I always find suspicious) and he had clearly been to the glow stick shop. I'm serious.. they were in his pockets, tied in to his shoe laces he even had a glowstick necklace like the one I had begged my mum for 20 years ago when we went to see Blackpool Illuminations! It all made for lots of laughs and after indulging in 5 different types of cocktail - including a J├Ągerbomb (for those of you 'old' people who, like me, didn't have a clue what one of these was, it's a cocktail that is mixed by dropping a shot of J├Ągermeister into a glass of Red Bull) which I had to down in one. Dreading the hangover that was sure to hit me when I awoke, I headed home and in true 'old school' style I had my Dad come pick me up!

It was great to get out to see my friends especially to relive my youth, even better that the dreaded hangover didn't make an appearance! 

Have you ever revisted a teenage drinking haunt?

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Cheap Spanx - Loving the Sales!

Just thought I'd share! Debenhams have a massive 25% off their new range and Spanx are included!! Discount prices end tomorrow (Sunday) though so be quick!!

Spanx Black 'Power' Shorts WAS £24.00 NOW £19.20

Spanx Natural Super High Power Shorts was £28.00 NOW £22.40

Spanx Natural High Rise Pants WAS £33.50 NOW £26.80

Friday, 4 March 2011

Win a Lego Duplo Birthday Pack including a Duplo Cake

As Lego Duplo Experts we were lucky enough to be sent an amazing birthday pack to help celebrate Mister A's birthday - the cake was particularly amazing! Lego Duplo have kindly agreed to give away a birthday pack to one lucky Duplo Expert blog reader. The pack consists of:

  • A Lego Duplo Birthday Cake
  • A birthday card from Lego Duplo
  • 20 x dinner placemats – these are made of white paper and can be coloured in
  • 20 x balloons
  • 20 x stickers – three different varieties
  • 20 x paper plates
  • 20 x paper cups
  • 20 x napkins

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is email your details to stating who you’d like to win the birthday pack for. A winner will be randomly selected after the 31st March closing date. 

Leave a comment to let me know you've entered and share who you want to win the pack for.

Good Luck!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

This Is Me Meme

Last week I was tagged by the lovely BabyGenie in the 'This Is Me Meme.' It basically involves bribing your kids to draw pictures of you for blog fodder. So after a couple of hours of badgering Mister A and with the promise of a custard cream in return, here we have it, this is me...

I think it's rather good - well maybe the hands are a little on the large side and a couple of arms wouln't have gone amiss but all in all I'm quite impressed!

And, not one to break tradition, I will be tagging...

Emma: Me The Man and the Baby
Kelly: Domestic Goddesque
Vic: Glowstars
Becca: Beckicklesie
Emma: Adventures of an English Mum's all good fun - I promise! The rules of Me Meme club::
  1. There’s no place to hide. You are tagged and that means you have to join in or forever feel guilty.
  2. Ask your child to draw a picture of you. It doesn’t matter how old they are…age is not an excuse.
  3. Post the picture on your blog.
  4. Call it the ‘This is Me Meme’.
  5. Come back here and post your meme url into the comments so that we can identify the future Picasso’s and plan how to make some dosh.
  6. Then pop over to Tara’s post to add it to her linky too.
  7. Tag some further artists.
  8. That’s it really.
  9. Good luck!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Review: Bravissimo Bra Fitting

Sunday afternoons are usually meant for lazing around watching family films with the kids. This Sunday however, was possibly THE greatest day since Little E was born. Now this may seem unusual to you when I tell you where I was but really – it could not have been a better day. Where was I? I was at my local Bravissimo store in Liverpool. Let me explain...

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by the PR for Bravissimo and booked in for a fitting (it's free you know and there's no pressure to buy). I headed in to town wearing my old faithful Emma Jane nursing bra – size 36D. I hate that I have such a large back and since I haven’t really lost any of the baby weight yet, I had anticipated that I may have actually increased to a 38.

When I arrived I was greeted by a lovely girl called Emma (I was going to call her a lady but I thought that would make her sound old and she wasn’t). Anyway… We headed in to the fitting rooms and Emma explained that at Bravissimo they don’t actually use tape measures, they judge everything by sight. I looked at her stunned, like she was some kind of magical boob fairy (which actually she did turn out to be!)

I took off my top so that she could have a look at the bra that I was wearing (it was black by the way – just in case you have a vision of me in greying antique number). Emma explained that a bra should fit snugly to your back, leaving only room for one or two fingers to slide underneath. Mine actually stretched out rather far meaning that my 36 size bra was too big. Hooray! I tried on a couple of bras so that we could work out which size was fitting me best. At this point I would have settled for a 34” back but the wonderful Emma explained that in actual fact I should be wearing a 32”!!! *Faints*

I know – I’m actually skinny and I didn’t know – I hide it well! Lol Once we’d established my back size it was time to try some different cup sizes, if you remember I said I was wearing a D…. well I tried a few different kinds of bra on and the one I eventually settled on (the nice purple number in the picture above) was a size 32F *gasp* I’m actually laughing just saying this bra size because it makes me sound like some kind of page 3 model when, those of you who have met we will realise that that is certainly not the case. HAPPY? I could have wet myself there and then – I didn’t though! The briefs were quite a generous fit and so I bought a size smaller than I usually would have so I was feeling great.

Just to let you know, Bravissimo have a robe in each fitting room so that you can cover up between bra fittings so if you’re shy and don’t like your boobs to be seen then your fitter will step outside whilst you try on the bras by yourself. Obviously having had 2 children all modesty has gone out the window with me and poor Emma had full view of my mahoosive bangers!

I’d also been looking at some of the new clothing range that Bravissimo now sell and decided to try on one of their dresses. I really liked the fit but my mummy tummy didn’t really look that great in it. I was all set for home when Emma and I got on to the subject of Spanx – I admitted that I’d never been ‘sucked in’ to the World of Spanx (excuse the pun) and I explained this was due to an unfortunate incident in a department store whereby I got a pair of ‘suck-you-in’ knickers stuck around my thighs. The lovely Emma encouraged me to try a pair and even gave me a lesson on how to put (or rather pull) them on properly! We giggled through the experience and eventually I got them on. What can I say? A-MAZING! Why have I never bought a pair of these before?!

So I left with the dress (above) that I had had my eye on for a couple of weeks in a size 12 curvy!!! (I know, mental, but extremely flattering!) I bought with my own money and as a thank you for reviewing I did get to keep the amazing purple set too!

I had such a great time at Bravissimo, Emma was really down to Earth and that made for a fun experience. I left feeling pampered and very very happy, so next time you see me I’ll be jiggling my page 3 boobies with pride!

Visit the Bravissimo site or click here to find your local store.

Finally! A Bottle for Breast Fed Babies

I've talked before about my struggles with Mister A when I tried to move from breast to bottle at 6 months. He had never taken a bottle and rejected and teat that we put in his mouth for a good 4 weeks. At the time I had scoured the Internet and bought possible every kind of bottle that claimed it was suited to breastfed babies - none worked and eventually we ended up using a sippy cup. 

I was determined that this time around we would not hit the same problems with Little E but it was like history repeating itself. Every bottle we tried she would just play with in her mouth before crying out in protest. Then a few weeks ago, we were sent the Medela Calma bottles to try. Calma is an alternative to breastfeeding for mothers still wishing to feed their babies with breastmilk. It works by allowing your baby to retain her natural feeding behaviour learned on the breast. They can drink, breathe and pause regularly and they use the same suckling motion that they would on the breast. There's no need for different teats either - the Calma teats are one size and last for the entire breastfeeding period.

How did the Calma work for us?

Well, as usual, we were a bit late on the band wagon for introducing something new and at first it didn't look like it was going to be a successful trial. I think it would have been more successful, had we introduced the Calma to Little E at around 8 weeks I think she would have been a lot happier and more open to 'something a little diffrent'.  At 6 months old, Little E is not easily fooled and although the same sucking technique is used with the Calma as on the breast, the feeling of a nipple and a teat are very different and she knew something was amiss. The trick for us was to allow Little E to hold the bottle and have a play with it. Eventually she did start to put the teat in her mouth and within a couple of days she began to suck on it. The milk coming out did take her by surprise at first but now we are well on our way. So, if like us, you are struggling to get your baby on the bottle then give the Calma a shot. Yes, they are a little expensive but if it means you can continue to give your baby breastmilk whilst you are apart then surely it's worth a few extra pennies.

Medela say...

Why Calma?

Our latest studies with researchers from the University of Western Australia show that creating a vacuum is essential to successfully breastfeed. Babies learn very early on that they have to produce a vacuum for the breastmilk to flow. Their natural way of sucking requires intensive work during breastfeeding!

Standard teats accelerate an unnatural technique

When you give your baby a bottle with pumped breastmilk and a standard teat, it learns a different technique as to when you breastfeed it. The pumped breastmilk flows automatically and does not stop when the baby wants to pause or breathe. So the baby chokes more easily and can develop difficulties in its regular breathing.
Medela Calma breastmilk teat

Calma - the best teat for your baby

For a mother looking for the optimal teat to feed her child breastmilk, Calma is the ideal solution. Calma was developed based on the results of our studies with the University of Western Australia. That's why Calma is the ideal teat for babies who are being breastfed with breastmilk, as it allows them to suck, swallow and breathe, as learned on the breast. Whether you breastfeed or use Calma, the baby has to create a vacuum for breastmilk to flow. As soon as the baby pauses, the flow is stopped, this is also the way with breastfeeding.

The Medela Calma is available now at