Looking back over 2016!

With 2016 almost drawn to a close I wanted to look back over our year. It's not been a bad one, neither has it been a fabulous one! Just a normal one (if there is such a thing!). 

For me personally 2015 was great. So I started 2016 feeling a little underwhelmed and keen to set myself some goals for 2016. They included doing a tough mudder run with my friend (which we decided not to do in the end) and doing the London Moonwalk back in May! Training went well (and I loved being outdoors whilst keeping fit). Sadly, when it came to the walk I was too ill to take part! I'd picked up a gastro bug and was too weak for a whole 7 days to even contemplate doing the walk. To say I was gutted is an understatement. My friends did it without me. I'd raised money in preparation for it though and kindly everyone was still happy for the money to be donated! I felt so bad! My friends said it was tough and two of them even almost passed out. I know I would have done it, had I been well enough but there is no way I would have survived. I lost 7lb that week! 

Things have been on an even keel for the monkeys during 2016. They have continued to do well in school, both moving up a year back in September. Little monkey was quite anxious about making the move from Foundation Stage, but when it came to doing it, he was fine. 

We did find out he has a medical condition this year, which affects his bowels. I've not featured it on the blog, as I don't want to embarrass him when he is older! It's in hand and I'm pleased we know there is a reason for the complications he is suffering! 

The blog and in particular social media channels, have continued to grow! We're not the biggest, best, or even the most read but it's our space and we like it! We reviewed some great products and had some great days out through the blog. Highlights being days out at Kew Gardens with Muck Boots, lunch and the cinema with Pizza Express to see Ice Age Collision Course in Soho and reviews of the sought after Hatchimals, the Gtech Multi and a Tom Tom Spark to name a few! We've been very lucky.

With a renewed confidence, 2016 saw me get two new jobs. Meaning at one point I had three (excluding the blog). That was a juggle to say the least. I was working 22hrs a week in the job I've done since moving to Essex back in 2006. Then to top up my hours, I got a post for 10hrs a week with a Children's Charity. The work in the original job started to dry up, so by the middle of the year I needed to find something else. Getting a post working 32hrs+ a week, meant both other jobs had to go! I just couldn't fit it all in! To be honest, it's good to have just the one job, in one place. I'm enjoying it! 

Big monkey (and the rest of us) got to go to his beloved Anfield for his Birthday back in May. The guinea pig 'babies' turned one then too! 

We managed a wonderful family holiday in Cornwall in August, which was so lovely, we are going back in 2017! Friends joined us and are doing so again next year. We fell in love with Cornwall (I'd not been in several years or more, and the males of the houeshold had never been!). It was just lovely, albeit the very narrow roads at times, which gave me kittens. The weather was mainly kind too! 

I've continued to manage to get to classes at the gym most weeks. Some more than others. Despite remaining in the same clothes size I have put a few pounds back on, so the gym and more healthy eating will feature heavily in 2017. I've loved being smaller again and buying and wearing clothes I want to buy, as opposed to clothes I felt I should buy, so putting all the weight I lost in 2015 back on, is not an option! 

During September I got to go to the Mad Blog Awards as a guest for the 2nd time. Dressing up and dining, plus catching up with blogging friends was awesome.

Due to my new job, we managed to get another car at the end of September, a fab run around, which is right up my street. I feels good to own my own car again and the monkeys also love it.

Hubby remains a constant rock (and continues to work hard for the family). The monkeys adore spending time with him, when he isn't at work and all three love nothing more than playing football over the park.

Big monkey has been a mascot again at The Emirates. A fantastic opportunity for him, with memories and a fab poster of him walking onto the pitch with Sanchez from Arsenal, to cherish forever! When little monkey is 7, we'll be applying for him to get the same chance.

One of the most exciting things to happen this year, has been the birth of my new niece. She is adorable and I'm so pleased and happy for my brother and his fiance. I'll be spoiling her during 2017 I'm sure! The monkeys are happy to have another cousin too.

Christmas came around far too quickly for my liking, but we had a good one, despite the news of George Michael's death on Christmas Day. Wham (and in particular George) where my favourite band during my teens and they were like Take That are to me now. I was genuinely gutted by his passing.

As we move into 2017, we do so with goals to keep fit and healthy and continue to give the monkeys a happy home and lifestyle. We're looking forward to celebrating being married for 10 years, our holiday to Cornwall and making more happy memories for the monkeys! 

We would like to thank you for reading and wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year! Below are some of our highlights in photo's. Enjoy! 


My Sunday Photo (early!)


Help! Sometimes I want to pull my hair out!

How stressful can having two lively monkeys be?! I often want to scream or hide or even pull my hair out! In reality though, I slope off for a peaceful cuppa or shop for shoes! My little sanctuary in our male dominated household with 2/3 nutters!

In this fast paced and often stressful world, our skin and hair can suffer. Obviously gene's and age have a huge bearing on how we look and how we with-stand the test of time. Luckily for me, my skin has good elasticity and I've got a good head of hair! I keep it short but it responds well to frequent cutting and colour. I just love trying out new styles (and dabbling with different colours). Having a best friend who is a hairdresser helps lots! 

However, there are many people not so lucky! Stress can play a huge part in the how a persons hair can look. Often resulting in hair loss, which in some cases is known as Alopecia. The worry of losing hair is often the cause of more of it falling out and then the cycle goes on.
Hubby and I often joke that before he got married to me and we had the monkeys, he had a fine head of head! The same can sadly no longer be said. The early stress of sleepless nights, being the main bread winner and supporting the family, plus his age (and gene's) have taken their toll on his hairline. He now sports a number 2 haircut, which incidentally is rather grey too. Sorry love! 

Hubby has also joked about having a hair transplant but I know he would never go through with it! A new alternative treatment is available though. Called Advanced Tricho Pigmentation treatment, it works to achieve the appearance of natural hair, where hair is thinning but a hair transplant is not suitable! The treatment is very similar to a tattoo.
Photo credit : Harley Street Hair Clinic
Something to consider if hair loss is an issue but I think hubby looks quite distinguished with his very short greying hair. Hell, we're both a lot older than we were when we met and our lives are very different to back then too! 

Still, at least I know where to go if my hair starts to change or the monkeys really do have me pulling my hair out! I wonder how many pairs of shoes I can get before I resort to doing that! 

On a serious note, I'd be devastated if my hair did fall out! My hair is my crowning glory, as I know it is for many people. I take pride in how it looks.

Would you or your man consider such treatment should the need arise? I'd love to know!  

Collaborative post




It's a Minion Party!

Ever since the monkeys watched the Despicable Me films and subsequent films they have loved the Minions! In particular little monkey. He adores them, maybe because they are always up to mischief just like him and his big brother! He has a minions duvet, PJ's, a onesie, tops, books.....you name it!

With Christmas just a few days away now the monkeys have been looking at the toy gift guides in case they see something they may have forgotten to ask Santa for! (Not that they'll be getting anything else now!) It's little monkeys Birthday next month too.

We've been sent a fab bundle of Minion toys (which will be given to the monkeys at Christmas and on little monkeys Birthday).
How cool is this bundle? I just know both monkeys will LOVE them!
Sing 'N' Dance Bob looks great fun.
Bob (British Invasion) has a moving mouth and eyes!
The monkeys will have great fun playing with Minion Dave and his rocket launchers! Best we find cover when this is opened!
Ha ha, Minion Jerry has a jelly blaster! I bet they'll be fighting over this!
I can't wait to give them these. They will be so pleased and the good thing is there's a new film out next year AND you still have time to go and buy Minions this Christmas! 

Why not follow them on the following social media channels and keep up to date with these yellow mischievious creatures now and into the new Year!  

Facebook @MinionsMovieUK Twitter @Minions Instagram @MinionNation


Nice places to take a last minute holiday in December!

Fed up with the dreary 3.00 pm darkness? Sometimes what you need in December is sun and a siesta, rather than drizzly days. Luckily for you, it's never too late to book a last minute getaway. In fact, you could even take the Christmas festivities abroad and cram in one last sun fix before the end of the year. 
Where to? Here are a few suggestions:

Escape to Tenerife

The coastal resorts of Costa Adeje in Tenerife offer golf courses to perfect your swing on - are you a golfer mum? - and calm, inviting waters for families to dive into. There's no shortage of entertainment here - spend a fun-filled afternoon wowing over whales and gawping at gorillas at the highly acclaimed Loro Parque zoo. 
Image by Javier Lastras, used under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

A short drive from Costa Adeje, you can lose yourself to the dramatic volcanic scenery of Teide National Park. Here you can find postcard-perfect views made easily accessible thanks to a wide-reaching network of roads. On one side you'll see Mount Teide - an active volcano towering over the island - and on another you can delight in the far-reaching view over the Atlantic - both of which trump torrential rainfall and freezing temperatures back home!

Resorts in Costa Adeje provide no shortage of things to do on your holiday - whether Christmas galas or New Year's Eve parties, and even if you
haven't planned your stay ahead, you'll have a blast. Temperatures are currently in the low to mid twenties - what's not to love?
Image by Carlos A. Rodriguez, used under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

Christmas in the Canaries

Further south in the Canaries, the sun-kissed town of Maspalomas rewards visitors with tranquilising beaches sat on the shores of the cool clear Atlantic. The spectacular Fataga Valley is just over an hour's drive from the resorts of the coast, with public transport links departing every twenty minutes or so. Here you'll have the chance to ditch conventional transport for a more traditional ride - a camel. Scale the rocky peaks, or simply tread gently and relish the wandering mountainside scenery.

No matter the season, the beaches of Maspalomas bring in choppy waves which attract daring surfers and adventurous families alike. It's frequently referred to as the Hawaii of Europe due to its volcanic landscape and variety of surf spots - so why not take advantage and enrol on one of many surfing courses on offer? With balmy temperatures and clear blue skies year-round, Maspalomas makes for the ideal end of year getaway no matter what month you choose to go.

Fancy a change this Christmas? Replace scarves for swimsuits and ensure that your December holiday makes for a festive adventure that you'll never forget. 
Article by Daniel Holyrood


A Pug Like Percy!

I used to read so much and loved to immerse myself in a great book! Since becoming a Mum and reading Parenting Magazines instead, then working and blogging, I rarely get the chance to read books now, sadly. Every year I say that I must start reading again but I never find the time! However, this book looks so good, I'm making time!

Fiona Harrison has written A Pug Like Percy, this festive period. Her debut book, published as a lead title by Harper Collins this winter. A tale about a Pug called Percy who, rescued by Gail and her family, is hoping that this time, it's forever! 
Fiona Harrison is a dog lover and writer from the West Country with fifteen years’ experience as a national journalist, frequently writing for all the women’s magazines and has also taken on ghost-writing projects. Now married to a fellow animal lover, Fiona lives in Berkshire and is focusing on her two passions; animals and writing. 
The family are at breaking point with daughter Jenny in and out of hospital with dilated cardiomyopathy. Fiona worked closely with Great Ormond Street, hearing personal stories from families who are dealing with their child’s sickness every day. Is Percy the furry friend they've been waiting for? Can he mend a family that are at breaking point? 
Fan's of Pugs and stories 'A Street Cat Named Bob' and 'Alfie the Doorstep Cat' will love this tale full of hope. Utterly heartwarming it's a must read this Christmas. Flick through the pages and see Percy move!

Published at £9.99 this book is set to be a hit! Happy reading! 


Stigu Planner Giveaway!

I've been fortunate enough to have been gifted planners from Stigu at two Blog On conferences in the past year and can now offer my readers a giveaway. First let me explain who Stigu are! 

Stigu's ethos is to Plan Hard, Play Hard and Rest Hard. With life getting busier and busier for most of us each and everyday a planner is ideal for jotting down those important things. Be it work related, a session at the gym or coffee with friends, a Stigu planner means you'll never forget anything again!

"The Stigu Planner in short is an annual planner, a to-do pad, a notebook and a diary but here is the twist. Embedded within the planner is a guidebook on how to prioritise self-care".

I used to be so good at remembering appointments and plans, but with a home to run, a family to bring up, a full time job, the blog and ever thing else, it's neigh on impossible for me to remember everything now! Plus I'm older and more forgetful! Sadly I do get confused and I do forget things, so I have resorted to using a planner.  

This Hard Cover Planner from Stigu is new. Just £21.90 it's perfect for busy people. With inspirational quotes and illustrations inside to help combat stress and teach yoga moves, each page is set out to add information onto! The pages have a tear off corner, to remove as each day is over.
The planner also has a contrasting 'page marker'. Here's a peek inside!
This Stigu Planner is:
  • Many things in one: a planner, a diary, a calendar, a notebook and a to-do pad.
  • High quality faux leather cover – perfect for on-the-go and business use.
  • Smaller (210 x 160), sleek and 80 blank pages for notes!
  • Filled with weekly changing mini-practises, illustrations, quotes and tips to relax and energise your body and mind!
  • Perfect quality gift to all hardworking jugglers: makes planning fun & resting legal.
I'm really looking forward to putting it to very good use in 2017 and you can own your own Stigu Hard Cover Planner by entering our giveaway!
To win a Hard Cover Planner just like the one above, please complete the rafflecopter form below! Giveaway closes Midnight Sunday 18th December 2016. T&C's apply. UK residents only. Good Luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Win prizes with theprizefinder.com
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky



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