Monday, 30 January 2017

Our little adventures with Discovery Packs by LittleLife and Super Yummies and competition

L is a very adventurous little girl who likes to discover new things or ways to play outside. We don't always see kids when we go to the playground so opt to have fun on our own or hide away in our garden where L would be jumping on trampoline or muddy puddles or climbing her slide. 
Few weeks ago we had a lovely delivery which prompted us to do something different on our walks. We have received: LittleLife ladybird backpack (which L absolutely loves and calls Gaston after one of her favourite cartoon characters), some snacks from Super Yummies and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Nature Walk Scrapbook.

Firstly, I decided to do something a little different myself and instead of using pushchair I let L walk by my side whilst holding on to reins' strap and her hand for reassurance. I also let L pick up some stones to compare the sizes, shapes and colours, feed birds with couscous, count things around us and generally enjoy the fresh air and the being outdoors.

What could be better than a lovely snack whilst or after a good walk?! I didn't have to ask L twice, I knew by the look in her eyes that if I let her she would finish them all in one go. 

We have tried few of the pouches and biscuits before, but rice cakes were something new, undiscovered. I didn't expect L to enjoy snacks with citrus flavours but she did have a few and by the sounds she made I could tell that she likes them too. 

"The Super Yummies - a new range of deliciously different snacks,
developed by mums and nutritionists for little ones 12 months+. Made from carefullyselected, real ingredients to create new, unique and exciting tastes and textures foryour toddler to discover".

I managed to save few biscuits and rice cakes for our future travels, will see how long they last :-) 

I have an exciting opportunity to win your own Discovery Pack, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 20 February 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prize will contain:
Discovery Pack: 
1 x Toddler Backpack Rabbit
1 x Hungry Caterpillar Scrapbook
1 x Nature Art
A selection from the Super Yummies range

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this feature/activity. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Make 2017 Your Year of Adventures

If you are struggling for things to do this January, how about a low down on some great films for viewing. We have six top films, which will keep you on the edge of your seat and out of this
Each film has its own unique story, but will keep you fully entertained throughout this cold January!

The Hobbit- The Battle of The Five Armies

Join Bilbo, the dwarves and Gandalf on this fantasy adventure for all of the family. If you were a fan of Lord of the Rings, this is a must watch for you! The film centres around the quest to regain
Erebor (lost dwarf kingdom), but they are not the only ones who want it for themselves.

Epic film featuring the much loved Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom.

Why watch this January, why not I say! This film will keep you entertained, take you on an emotional roller-coaster and wow you with the special FX. Must watch for 2017!


A dream within a dream! Mind blowing, gripping Sci fi fantasy Inception will keep you guessing throughout.
Cobb and his gang use dream sharing techniques to steal peoples thoughts and profit from them! He faces the biggest challenge of tackling a big time CEO, but will he succeed?

Oscar winning film Inception is a wonderful, creative and thought teasing film which will keep you second guessing throughout.

Super CGI and some excellent acting by Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page. Why watch this January.. because the film is thought provoking, with stunning graphics/CGI and some excellent acting by the cast! Another must watch for 2017!


Fancy a space drama film? Look no further than Gravity, absolutely brilliant from start to finish.

Director Alfonso Cuaron did an incredible job with the special fx, giving the viewer a true feeling of life in space and the difficulties that come with working on shuttle missions.

The story revolves around Dr Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski, two astronauts who are on a routine spacewalk, but the twist will leave you watching with intensity as this gripping space film will leave you in awe, on edge and desperate to find out the outcome of the twists and turns!

Another stunning and epic film for 2017.. starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney and Ed Harris.

Pacific Rim

Fancy something different? How about some robots and monsters?
Yep Pacific Rim is for you.. non stop action, fantasy and some epic battle scenes, Pacific Rim has it all!

When monstrous creatures began appearing from seemingly nowhere, humans were left with two choices.. perish or fight back.

Enter the Jaegers! Enormous man powered robots, in which two brave pilots (Raleigh andMako) would control each part of these dominant robots.
This adrenaline pumping, action film will keep you entertained throughout.
Superb action/fantasy film for 2017, starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Alba and Ron Perlman.

Jupiter Ascending

How about Channing Tatum (for the ladies) and Mila Kunis (for the fellas), add an action/adventure genre and yep I am sold! 
The film focuses on Jupiter Jones and her wonderful job of cleaning other peoples homes and bad luck! An heir to an intergalactic world and privileged life, which she was oblivious to until Caine Wise appears (a genetically modified engineer and ex military), who reminds her of her true worth and the future fate in which she must embrace.

Other big actors in this film include Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne. A good alternative to the other films as it is less intense but equally gripping and what more to ask for on a cold January day, than Channing and Mila to warm you up!!

300 Rise of The Empire

Now to ancient Greece and 480 BC.. how about strategy and some Greek war this January! Look no further than the latest 300 installment, Rise of The Empire. 

Persia vs Greece, General Themistokles vs Mortal god Xerxes and Artemisia.. this film has epic battle scenes, blood and everything you would expect of an ancient Greek film.

As Xerxes Persian army close in Greek cities, Themistokles (initially an fleet admiral) is left making an unexpected alliance with Sparta (infantry army) in order to defend Greece from both the
sea and on land, from the powerful Persian Army.

Will they succeed.. you will have to pick 300 Rise of The Empire for your January film pleasure, to find out!

Epic historical fantasy war movie starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and David Wenham.

The post in written in collaboration with guest poster- my other half.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Healthy eating food diary

Healthy eating or clean eating means different things to everyone, for me it's about restricting myself from snacking, drinking more water, eating more vegetables and less unhealthy carbs and fats, for others it would be about cutting out processed meats and buying only organic dairy, fruits and vegetables, basically what suits you and your wallet.

It feels more of a diet at the moment rather than a change in the lifestyle, but I am not starving or eating rabbit food, I have never been a fan of that. 

Last week we did our first proper shop since agreeing to do healthy eating, we stopped buying some cans, added whole wheat products and mainly cut down on things that can potentially cause upset stomach and any kind of allergies or reactions.

Here is our food diary with what we have eaten before and what we are incorporating in our meals now, it's not a massive change as you can see, but I can see myself dropping few pounds and feeling lighter and healthier.

Would you add or change anything in your diet? Is there anything you like from our "Ideas for change" section?

Monday, 23 January 2017

Valentine's Day with Prestige Flowers review & giveaway

For loved ones every day spent together can be called a happy and festive. That is why Valentine's Day is so popular among loving couples- this is another reason to express their feelings, to say " I love you", and where love is, there is always a lot of fun, smiles and of course flowers.

Roses of all colors- are classical symbol of love and appreciation. Many girls and women say that roses are like a "floral expression of love". As Valentine's Day fast approaching I have teamed up with Prestige flowers for a review and a competition for my lovely readers. 
"We have an incredible selection of vibrant and elegant bouquets. We deliver 7 days a week and next day delivery is possible when you order flowers before 9pm with our flowers by post.

Each bouquet is designed by our head florist with over 25 years of experience and use only the freshest and most premium quality stems in our arrangements so you can enjoy them for longer. Flowers with free delivery available on select arrangements".

Last Tuesday I have been patiently waiting for my bouquet delivery from Prestige Flowers and it was well worth it. For some reason I was expecting flowers to be delivered by a courier service but was pleasantly surprised when my local postie brought the parcel. A little something to note that Prestige Flowers offer same day or next day delivery. 
Flowers arrived in a tall, branded cardboard box with appropriate signs and ventilation for flowers. Upon opening the box (bouquet called Allure worth £39.99) I saw a combination of lovely, deep red roses, aspidistra (large green leaves) and winter berries wrapped in durable cellophane alike dark grey paper. 
Once I have taken the bouquet out of the box (which is very easy to do, all you need is to pull the long gift bag handle) I discovered a little treat- box of British truffles (a free addition to the bouquet, you can also add balloons, teddy bear, chocolates, cake, wine or champagne for an additional charge), a gift tag with a message and leaflet with care instructions for flowers. 

I couldn't not to smell the roses as they looked so pretty I just needed to know that there is more to them than just a "picture" and I wasn't disappointed, they smell absolutely divine! 

As flowers arrived when L was napping I didn't want to make too much noise unwrapping them so left them for a while in the packaging. Later on we have found out that the first layer of cellophane was merely protecting the bouquet and the actual bouquet of roses was not only nicely wrapped in the same dark grey paper but also were "feeding" all this time from a water bag wrapped around stems.

It's been 6 days since I received flowers and they look as good as new! I didn't add any "food" yet (provided with flowers) as I tend to leave them in water with sugar at first but only hoping that once I have done that they will last us even longer!

Prestige Flowers bouquet would make a great gift for someone special no matter what occasion is!

As promised I have an exciting opportunity to win a bouquet of flowers in time for Valentine's Day from Prestige Flowers all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 8 February 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 20 January 2017

From Mother to Another charity initiative in collaboration with JoJo Maman Bebe

If you remember last year I was sharing "From Mother to Another" campaign with my lovely readers, in 2017 I am following the same traditions.

"The JoJo Maman Bébé, From a Mother to Another recycling/charity initiative was launched in 2015 to make sense of clothing waste and as a responsible move to prolong the lifespan or the often little worn baby and children’s clothes and shoes. Donated pieces were sorted into sex, size and season and beautifully wrapped as gift packs of co-ordinating outfits. The initiative is now offering distribution via the Trussell Trust’s Foodbanks and to those displaced by the war in Syria".

If this sounds close to your heart, follow my blog to know more details in few weeks time.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Battle with the weight: update 9

I have missed December's post for a reason as I found that it's hard to commit to dieting when you have so much food to eat over festive period. With my mum staying over and cooking for us and all those chocolatesI found it hard to stick to exercising and eating healthy until I saw my sister in law, who has obviously committed to looking fitter no matter what.
It was like a wake up call for me and a new motivation/kick to start it again. The moment I saw her I have realised that I want to be skinnier than her, pronto! It may sound daft but I do like a bit of competition and seeing someone doing so well made me realise that I will be the only fatso in our family if I won't do things properly.

I am still visiting women only gym but lately I have lost my desire to go and do exercises, firstly as I didn't see much difference after the circuits I have done and secondly one of the staff members put me off going. When you go somewhere customer services orientated even gym it's not only about YOU committing to exercising, eating well it's also about the vibe you get from the place and people and the latter was not how I saw it. I saw a bunch of mid aged ladies visiting the place to socialise, I saw some very nice staff member and those who are to put it nicely needed to lose weight themselves or were a little bit too informal and brutal with the way they approach you. I felt that some things need to be addressed with the manager but as I am still the member of the gym and everyone knows each other and talk to each other it was hard to do as well as I do know how women's world works- gossip behind your back is not something I wanted so I had 2 options- to quit or to carry on going but to avoid the particular person I didn't want to see. 

As I don't see this particular gym as something I would stick to doing for long time I have decided that enough is enough and as of 9 January I stopped eating unhealthy food, stopped snacking in between, stopped thinking about fatty food. I'm now thinking what I eat and when I eat, try to drink more water as well as convinced my husband to go down healthy eating route too which would be an enormous help and encouragement for me. 

Last week I came across Joe Wicks' social media account who is apparently a new eating lean guru and upon looking through few plans that he offers I found something that I am willing to try. I am not saying I will be committing to yet another diet plan as from what I gathered it's not working for everyone but am happy to try some of his recipes. 

With this clear vision of what I want this year I am happy to start my new battle with the weight!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Learning Russian with Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Peek-a-Boo Cuckoo

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Peek-a- Boo Cuckoo clock were gifted to L when she was about 12 months by my cousin who thought that it would be a lovely educational toy. It was one of our first big plastic toys which would speak Russian.
Made from a very high quality, durable plastic, strong enough to withstand flying out of bed, or smashing on the floor, sometimes L would try to stand on the toy, but the toy as good as new almost 1,5 later.

At first L liked to press the top green button and watch the orange Cuckoo come out and say "Cuckoo". Cuckoo
 lights up and can also sing "ABC"or play the melody, depending on the mode L would choose.

The toy has a little switch on the left front side for different functions such as music mode, off or educational mode. 

On top right corner of the roof there is a colourful wheel, which when turned changes image to "day" or "night", while performing dynamic "morning" song or lullaby, or say, "It's day" or " it's night".

On the left bottom side there is a loop or the"arm" with 2 geometric shapes: triangle and square, which could be used as a teether by younger babies or can be flipped by toddlers from one side to the other.                                           
On the right side there is a green "key winder" which makes a clicking noise every time you rotate the key winder.
If you press on the middle of the clock the orange button starts to light up and sing a counting song "Now the clock will show us 1, 2,3, 4 ..". Clock arms do not move by themselves, but once you start rotating them and pressing the middle button the toy will play different songs.
If the child doesn't want to listen to music, it can be easily changed to a different mode or turned off in order to learn the alphabet, as the letters are presented on the colourful purple roof. There seem to be so much to do with it that L will never feel bored with the toy and what makes it better for us is that all interactions are in my mother tongue "Russian" which makes the toy a great helping hand when teaching language with L. 

I have observed L with this toy for quite some time now and it certainly encourages to learn about colours, alphabet, numbers, times of the day, remembering short songs or melodies and of course motor skills. I can see L learning how to tell the time with Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Peek-a-Boo Cuckoo which would be a great laugh I' sure!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Tiny Tickers' Heart Week- from 11th to 18th February

"One in every 125 babies is born with a heart problem – that’s more than 5,000 newborns each year in the UK.

This February, Heart Week is an opportunity for friends, colleagues, family, team mates or neighbours to join together to do something amazing. . Learn more about Heart Week and sign up to take part here.

Through Tiny Tickers’ Heart Week, each of us can raise awareness and funds to help these babies- ensuring they are given a fighting chance to beat their condition. Finding these babies is vital. Last year, over 1,000 newborns were discharged from UK hospitals with no one realising they had a life-threatening heart condition.

Every penny counts. Babies with undetected heart defects will often fall into the early stages of heart failure- significantly impacting their long-term quality of life and associated risks of heart failure, including brain damage.

When these defects are detected during pregnancy, babies get treatment from the first possible moment. Prenatal detection also means that parents-to- be get the support they need to prepare them
for the future; and it means fewer dangerous and costly emergency admissions to hospital.

"Mel got pregnant with Arthur in October 2014 and experienced all the usual excitement and anticipation of what was to come.
But at the 20 week scan, her sonographer said “I’m sorry- I think there is something wrong with the four chambers of the heart.”

Two days later, Mel had the diagnosis- her baby had Transposition of the Great Arteries. It all became very real, very fast. Surgery was necessary but 99% of children survive it, and early detection of her baby’s condition meant that everything could be controlled and planned.

On 11th June 2015, Arthur arrived and six days later, he had open heart surgery to correct his defect.
Mel says, “To be honest, seeing his little body post-surgery was probably the scariest part of the whole experience. He was swollen everywhere and his puffy features meant that he was virtually unrecognisable as Arthur.
But day by day, he got stronger. The swelling reduced and he was feeding and gaining weight. I was able to take on the ‘normal’ mother duties- nappy changing, holding his hand, singing to him. On the sixth day, we were transferred up to the ward, and by the 
time he was 16 days old, we were home.”

That was almost 18 months ago and Arthur and Mel have barely looked back since. Arthur has had one cold and a viral infection in that time. Not bad going for any toddler! He is strong and resilient, full of energy, with a wonderful scar on his chest that he can tell his
children and grandchildren about one day.

Mel continues, “I will never forget the brilliant medical teams who looked after Arthur and me, but especially the sonographer who saved his life. It was only through her diligence and skill that Arthur’s condition was detected- and I want all babies born with TGA to have the same chance. That is why Tiny Tickers’ work is so important. They train sonographers to be better able to detect these heart conditions and it is vital and lifesaving work.
Ultimately, Arthur is going to lead a normal life. He’ll play sports and there may be limitations later, but that’s ok by me.”

Heart conditions are the most common and deadly birth defect in babies- responsible for 1 in every 13 infant deaths. Tiny Tickers is a small charity but our work is hugely practical and effective- just 
£1,000 is enough to provide training for up to 10 sonographers. If we can raise £10,000 though Heart Week 2017, we will be able to help more babies and their parents this year".

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Little L is 30 months old

I have never done any fancy hairstyles on L's hair as the moment she has ponytails and braids she looks so much older that it become apparent that my little baby is growing way too quickly! 

It's so strange how quickly she blossomed into a toddler who shows that she understands but responds as well. There are no more guessing games L speaks in basic Russian and English (not so much) and understands all very well, t doesn't necessarily mean that she will do what is asked of her after all she is a cheeky little madam!

Putting L to sleep is a massive struggle at the moment, we have changed her cot bed into toddler bed as the cot started to collapse under her weight, and it maybe the reason why she struggles to get used to new bed. Having said that she is used to co-sleeping too, which means that she will be tossing and turning in her new bed for 30 minutes but will insist on going to our main bed and nod of eventually. I could be holding hands, reading a book, telling a story and nothing would work, we had few times where I fell asleep next to her as it was just such a struggle.

Potty training is going slow, L doesn't do well at the nursery even though has her own potty there. It is a bit frustrating as she is doing so well at home, but I guess we just have to wait. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Review: Melissa & Doug Flower Fairy Role Play Costume Set

Until recently L wasn't interested in dressing up but loved imagining that she has a magic wand or that she is a princess. As you can imagine over Chrismas L had all sorts of presents but the one she likes the most is her new fairy fancy dress with wings and wand (price varies between £19.99 and £26). 
Mellisa & Doug fairy costume was a spot on present from my sister which L would insist on wearing pretty much every day now. The set consist of the pretty dress itself, removable wings and a wand. 

"The dazzling dress has a velvety bodice, flower and butterfly trim and accents, and a multi-layered tulle petal skirt. Shimmering fairy wings are removable and a sparkly jeweled wand completes the set!"

The dress is made to fit a little person aged between 3 and 6 years old and can be fastened with velcro at the back, flutter sleeves, colourful flowers on the waist, tulle skirt with stretchy waistband and different layers of "petals" add a little bit more character to the outfit. 
Fairy wings can be put on with or without the dress, they also have stretchy straps and velcro fastening. 

The fairy wand design is made in such a way that gives you an illusion of having gems on it but in fact there are none which is very practical in my opinion. 

It's such a pretty outfit that provides hours of imaginative fun and hopefully will last a long time. Who wouldn't want to feel like a little princess or fairy?! :-) 

Friday, 6 January 2017

What Little L wore- Christmas feature

This year I have bought L a very pretty dress (see below) which I couldn't not buy! I have looked at few dresses online and on Marks and Spencer's website in particular but couldn't find something that caught my eye, until I saw this pretty dress in store. It was the only available in size 2-3 (just what we needed!) and costing £22 which seemed expensive it was not an easy decision to make, but it was totally worth it!

The dress at the top of the page was purchased by my sister last year at M&Co and to my surprise still fits being size 12-18. Both gorgeous velvety style dresses which we just perfect for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Christmas, New Year and Birthday celebrations

What a fantastic break we had, even though it feels that the built up to Christmas was longer than than the day itself, it was very sad to say "good bye" to my other half this morning. 

On Christmas Eve we added few finishing touches to our Christmas tree, prepared a plate full of lovely snacks and a drink for Santa and reindeer and opened a little present with L. I didn't plan to gift any presents to L the night before knowing how spoiled she will be throughout the festive break, but as she used daddy's blanket for the passed few nights prior to Christmas I thought it would be a great idea to give her own fleece blanket which I had in chest of drawers for ages. 
On Christmas day we all opened our presents and after L's day nap popped in to my family-in-law for a lovely meal and more presents opening. It was so strange how fast the time flew, at least we had few more relaxing days ahead of us!
As we welcomed my mum on Boxing Day our festive break became more of a chaotic and loud one with even more presents and surprise eggs for L, she is obsessed with watching Youtube chocolate eggs unwrapping videos. 

New Year was a little bit quieter than last year but nonetheless we had a great time with my husband, L, my mum and in-laws, celebrating New Year by Russian and English time, drinking and eating loads as you do!
Last but not least celebration we had yesterday, it was my 31st birthday with an amazing start to the day- Dick Whittington pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome with my 2 fav actors Stephen Mcfadden and charming John Barrowman! What a performance that was with lots of laughter and amazing effects. I kept waving to John and Stephen in a hope that that would notice me, I think next time we need to upgrade to a backstage experience! Truly amazing and I thoroughly recommend to visit! 

What birthday without celebrations and a cake, the latter was left at home but we managed to stuff our faces with food in one of the local Fayre & Square pubs so no dessert was needed.