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The weekly shop is something that every family will have to go through, to put food on the table and to stock up on the essentials that keep powering your family. Whether this is the responsibility of the mum, the dad, or both parents, is entirely up to your family – but the important thing is finding ways to save cash so that you’re better able to make investments in a happy family future through your savings – like holidays, trust funds, or home extensions. Here’s how you’ll save cash on your shopping.

Balance Online to Offline
There are many benefits to be found online that you won’t be able to find offline in the real world. The best spending strategy for you and your family is to find the right balance between the two, allowing you to find savings online, such as:
  •        The array of discount codes available to make your life easier
  •          Special offers emailed to your inbox each week
  •          Price comparison websites to help you make smart spending decisions
  •          Second-hand marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon

If you use the digital world to cut the costs that you wouldn’t be able to cut in the real world, then you’ll be saving cash on your weekly shop. Meanwhile, heading out to food shops later in the day – and into the evening – is a great way to find a large volume of reduced food, which can help to significantly cut down your food consumption costs each week.

Planning Before Your Shop
Many families head out to the supermarket with a blank slate to fill – and no list to guide them. Inevitably, this results in the sorts of impulse buys and poor decision-making that can end up costing you far too much cash – not to mention the sweets and treats you’re pressured into adding to your shopping trolley if you bring your kids along to the shop with you.
As such, you must have an idea of what you’re setting out to buy when you head into a store or supermarket. Take a list with you, and stick to this list where possible and practical. In this way, you’ll always be spending the right amount on your shopping.

Rewards and Coupons
Finally, if you’re shopping regularly in the same supermarket, you must make use of all the incentives that they give out to loyal customers. In simple terms, this usually comes in the form of a rewards card, directed at people who spend in store each time they shop.
But there are also discount receipts, which you can check in as coupons to get further reductions on your shop. By using these two tools in a savvy way – and looking out for discounts in newspapers and magazines, too – you’ll be able to make considerable savings over a calendar year of coupon shopping and rewards card use.
There you have it: you guide to reducing the cost of your weekly shop, using the smart tactics and personal finance wisdom of a wise shopper.


this is a collaborative post

If you're a reader, you will know that we welcomed our first family pet into our family around February in 2019 and it was the best thing that we ever did. We welcomed our Ollie, a labrador retriever and we couldn't imagine our life without him. When we knew that we were having him, my partner and I were a little clueless on what things to actually buy. Little did we know, dogs need quite a few things and one thing I knew I wanted for sure was a comfortable bed for him.

Ollie has his own little room and it still yet needs to be decorated properly (lots of plans for this in the next couple of months). We've been through a few different beds, but we were kindly gifted the Silentnight Airmax Pet Bed in size large a few weeks ago, and it's honestly, an amazing pet bed. It's such a cosy, fluffy and soft bed and Ollie seems to really like it. He loves to cosy up in soft beds and blankets.


Silentnight have a range of different pet beds; the Airmax, Orthopaedic and the Ultrabounce pet bed. The Airmax pet bed that Ollie received seemed like the best one for him. There's a reversible cushion, one side is a cosy teddy fleece, and the other side is a cooler quilted polyester wicking fabric. The cushion also features a mesh fabric that allows air to travel through the cushion to prevent overheating.

The outer pad and the inner pad are both machine washable, and I've washed them both a couple of times since receiving and they both still come out great.

Both the Airmax and Orthopaedic pet beds are available in Argos.
The Ultrabounce pet bed is available on Amazon.



- This product was kindly gifted to me in return for an honest review.
However, all words, images and opinions are my own.




Everyone wants to be healthy, but there is no magic formula that guarantees good health. Optimum health can be a result of what you eat, think, and do. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can allow you to enjoy a full and active life well into your golden years. Although there are plenty of medications that treat common health problems (such as diabetes or high blood pressure) caused by poor lifestyle choices, it’s far better to avoid those conditions in the first place by following the advice listed below.


We Are What We Eat

The science of nutrition has shaped the common intuition that a balanced, moderate diet is greatly beneficial to health. Diet can modify our moods, our concentration, or the quality of our sleep. It can help us get rid of discomfort, such as headaches, drowsiness, and certain inflammatory conditions.
However, it isn't necessary to keep on a diet that requires you to count servings and calories continually. Instead, try to follow a varied and balanced nutritional diet depending on your specific needs, and learn about the nutritional value of foods and also how to choose them. Such information allows us to use beneficial foods, not just those from a diet checklist. To achieve a healthy state of well-being, our body requires a balanced and adequate supply of food elements, including carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytochemical elements, and indigestible fibre.

The primary rule that you should observe for healthy nutrition is the number of meals you take per day. Instead of three square meals a day, eat several light meals throughout the day and pay attention to the combination of foods you eat at any meal.


Health Through Physical Exercise

Doctors often state that many of their patient's conditions would improve dramatically if they took adequate physical exercise, combined with a healthy lifestyle. By letting your muscles waste away from a lack of activity, you run the risk of becoming weak and ill. Some illnesses do not respond well to medication and can only be effectively treated through an improved lifestyle. Physical exercise therapy is applied in several types of rheumatism of the joints, inflammation of the bursa, asthma, lung disorders, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders.
The best exercise for you is that which is adapted for your age and physical condition but, in general, try to follow the NHS guidelines on exercise.
The beneficial influence of physical activity affects all organs. On the cardiovascular system, it stimulates circulation and facilitates the return of blood to the heart. On the respiratory system, it improves oxygen generation by increasing the respiratory volume and frequency. In the digestive system, it improves digestive capacity, and so on.


Sleep

Your body needs rest. There is nothing that can be compared to a night of good sleep - it's a refreshing rest, which reinforces our body's healing processes. Sleep facilitates the repair process of our bodies and helps it fight against infection. Additionally, it stimulates the immune system to activate its defences against any disease-causing agents.
Without adequate sleep, the body may be less able to maintain its good health or resist illnesses, and studies have shown sleep disruption can have a severe impact on quality of life.

During sleep, the whole body, particularly the brain, undergoes the restoration process and readjusts itself. Although many people are aware of their need for rest and peace of mind, they can't find the calm they long for because they are stressed out by everyday events and cannot get enough sleep. They then look for entertainment and amusement instead of peace of mind through rest. To attain well-being and good health, we need to learn how to recognize that stress needs quiet periods and restorative sleep. To get a night of really restorative sleep, go to bed early, and also avoid intense stimuli such as violent films in the hours before sleep.

Exercise is a fantastic way of bonding with your family. It is also a great way of getting you and your
children fit while enjoying spending time with them. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress and
anxiety and therefore helping your family's mental health overall. Many activities are cheap or free.
Most local areas have fitness centres/leisure centres, which are great places for you to exercise.
There's lots of research on this topic which shows regular exercise is an essential key to reducing
you and your children risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other
illnesses. Regular exercise helps develop your children's movement skills. It also helps strengthen
your heart and gives you stronger muscles. 


Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash


Yoga


Yoga is an excellent way of being mindful, and it is straightforward too. There are lots of guided yoga
sessions on YouTube, such as channels such as Yoga with Adriene. Yoga is excellent for beginners
because it is straightforward to get started. All you need is some comfortable clothes, a vast space
that you when your children can practice yoga on and a device you can search up the guided yoga
session on. Getting into the mindset for yoga is simple because you know this will benefit your children.
Most yoga mats in the UK are under £10, so if you and your children get into learning
various yoga levels, you can invest in a yoga mat. This can show your children that you enjoy and
want to continue spending time with them. Yoga benefits children in a lot of different ways, yoga helps
teach children calming techniques, encourages healthy habits and also yoga is non-competitive. If you
are not the fittest but want to do yoga with your children, there are a lot of secure yoga positions out
there.


Walking


Walking around a field or in a wood can be beneficial for the mind. Going out for a walk with your
children can help clear your mind from any anxiety or stress. Even if you don't live near a wood or
field, a walk in the street can also be as beneficial. The benefits for walking can improve the mood
is very relaxing and can clear your mind. Walking with your children can also help their mental health.
Children tend to open up and talk about their problems more when they are walking or distracted. You
may find that just having a chat while walking the dog, or even a walk to the shops together can
strengthen your relationship, and help you overcome any problems that have been bothering you.
Walking has been proven to improve not only physical but mental health in children, they tend to open
up and talk about their problems more when they are walking or distracted. Paragraph you may find
that just having a chat whilst walking the dog, or even a walk to the shops together can strengthen
your relationship, and help you overcome any problems that have been bothering you. Walking has
been proven to improve Our overall health and well-being, and it goes without saying that it’s a
cost-effective and enjoyable form of exercise.


Zumba 
There are some fitness classes and some group activities that you can partake in with your children.
Encouraging your children to move, and spend time doing something other than sitting on consoles at
home, it’s going to improve their lives significantly. If you aren’t sure about the classes available to you
in your area, then you may find social media or local event listing sites can be useful here. Many
companies encourage families to join together, and there are significant benefits to this. A class such
as Zumba as well as being good for you, it’s great fun too, so it could be an excellent consideration for
you to take up this New Year. Many people have taken this course of action before and gone on to see
great results in a short amount of time. Not only physically but mentally too.


Martial arts
Martial arts may not be the first thing you thought of when you are considering a form of exercise with
your children. However, martial arts are excellent for discipline, fitness, strength, and confidence. And
not only physical benefits your child, but gives them so many more opportunities, and that includes
self-defence and tools for dealing with bullying. The effort required to achieve gradings, and working
up the belt system, can improve the brain cells, and determination that will enhance your child's
chances overall the older they become, and the closer they get to a career. Many adults also choose
to take up martial arts with their children, to spend more time together. However, they do also find
themselves thoroughly enjoying and committing to the martial art as well.


Sport
Many children will follow their relatives into the support of some kind, for example, if a father plays
rugby then generally the Sun will show an interest, and especially if a sport is enjoyed on the
television, together, there will be a shared interest and potential to join the activity in real life together.
Mostly this turns out to be a positive and the exercise and fitness benefits from this is well worth the
effort. Many families will spend plenty of hours on the side of the pitch on a Saturday or Sunday
afternoon, in all weather, for the love of the sport. And even if it isn’t a physical kind of competition
that your family chooses, a simple game of badminton, can bring out your child is the competitive
side, and spark a keen interest, in the competition for life.


Ultimately the most important thing is that everyone gets a healthy dose of exercise regularly. If
you’re able to spend time together as a family while doing so, that’s wonderful, and something to
be encouraged. Children are naturally more energetic and enjoy time exercising without thinking
about it too much. But if you can help more activity, especially in those children who are prone to
spending long periods on their computers, then everybody will benefit.

this is a collaborative post
We're heading into 2020 and I'm feeling quite sad. Not sure about anyone else but I always get a little sad at the end of each year. I always catch myself sitting at the end of my bed, reading through my yearly diary and just think back to all those memories we have made. I have always said, no matter how bad things were, the positives always out do the negatives. However, this year feels slightly different. I feel a lot more sad heading into a brand new year and a brand new decade because one of the most important people in my life won't be joining us.

My Nain sadly passed away at the end of August and anyone who has lost someone who was very close, will probably understand how I feel. Grief is something that won't go away and I'm learning new things every single day. I'm not heading into the new year with resolutions this year, but my only 'goal' this year to hit is to smash what I want to do and be that strong person my Nain always was.

Although I'm finding it pretty tough right now, I have still liked to go through the past 10 years and I thought, why not just share it here with you all too.

2010 saw me raising my eldest daughter on my own. It was a very tough journey. I went down some dark roads but rose up again. Not only that, but I also got my first job as a Nursery Assistant 5 months into the new year.



2011 was the year where my life really started to change. I met my current partner, fell pregnant and moved from my childhood home to live in the village where my partner lives.



2012 was the year I gave birth to my second daughter. We also moved to our second rented home. It was a tough year mental health-wise. It was also a sad year, my Great Nain passed away two weeks after my daughter was born.



2013 was the year I started my little space on the internet, this blog - Life as Mum. This blog is one of the things I am so proud of. I've learnt so much over the years. This year was also the year my middle got christened.


2014 was the year I climbed Snowdon. It was bloody tough, but I am so proud of myself that I did it. This was also the year that we bought our first home.



2015 was the year my little family and I went on our first holiday abroad together. We went to Thailand for three weeks, it was absolutely amazing. Another amazing news was, I found out I was expecting my third baby.



2016 was the year I gave birth to my baby boy.



2017 was the year our breastfeeding journey came to an end. It was also the year full of adventures and memories too.



2018 was the year my partner travelled around New Zealand and Freddie saw snow for the first time.


2019 was a huge year for me. In February I got myself a job as a retail assistant and I'm still there. It changed my life, a lot. Something else that changed my whole life, was losing my beautiful Nain. I can't even begin to explain how much I miss her.



What was your decade like?

I have always loved to take photos, ever since I owned my first camera. Over the years, my passion for photography has grown. But as the years have flown by, I've noticed less and less photos are getting printed and being put up on the wall. I do miss the times where we would need to pop into a supermarket to get our pictures printed because the roll in the disposable camera had finished.

I recently received this beautiful frame from Life In Squares, and it features various of my photos over the years in a collage style like Instagram. The photos I decided to go for were the ones that meant something. I wanted to keep the images as photos of my partner, the kids, dog and myself to make it that extra personal. I love how each picture tells a story. One of my favourite things to do is to repeat the story of the memory of the photo that's in a frame to the kids.

Life In Squares is a small North Wales business that offers high-quality products and all finished by hand. There are six products to choose from such as Frames, Floating acrylic (in 2 sizes), MDF, Chromaluxe Aluminum and Single image blocks. They are the perfect gifts for any special occasion.


I was kindly gifted one of the frames. There are 3 types of frames to choose from; White Loft, Black Loft and White Cotswold. There are also 5 different sizes to choose from, the lowest being 25 images and the biggest that will fit 64 images. I went for the White Loft and the print that includes 25 images.

I was able to order online, and I personally think it's a good way to see what the service is like and how the ordering process was like. You upload your photos using a website YourTransfer, and it was straightforward to do. I did get contacted about one image being particularly low in quality, but as I was super busy with my retail job and other personal things, I missed the email. However, they were very kind and patient. I sorted it out by re-sending another image that I'd like instead to replace the low-quality image. So, overall, the online ordering process was no bother at all.

Since receiving the frame I have received many good comments about it. I am overly pleased with the quality of the frame and the high quality of the images that have been printed. I am yet to hang it up the wall, but we are in the middle of decorating. But it sits nicely near our front porch door, so people get to see it when they come into our home, which I love.

There's a lot more information about Life in Squares on their website which you check out here:
I was kindly gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words and images are my own.



As a Mother, over the years I've read many books and watched many shows of Dora The Explorer. Even when I was younger, my younger siblings loved watching Dora. When I saw that there was a film about Dora coming out on film, but aimed more towards older ages, I was super excited to give it a watch.

If you've never heard of Dora before, she has a best friend called Boots, who's a monkey! There's also a fox called Swiper that they have to keep an eye on. In this particular film, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Dora is preparing for a huge life change by starting high school. Starting high school is a huge challenge for her as she has spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents.

Her parents then mysteriously disappear while they search for the Lost City of Gold which then Dora goes straight into action with her gang of high-school friends to go and save them. The film is a great family film and I won't give any spoilers away. From actors such as Eva Longoria, Eugenio Derbez and Isabel Merced, who plays Dora, I'm sure the film won't disappoint you.



* I was gifted a DVD in return for this post.
Many of us these days are choosing to build extensions and convert garages and lofts to create
additional space in our homes. Moving can be expensive, and if you otherwise like where you live,
it can be a pretty effective way of making more space, and if or when you come to sell, it
can improve the value of your home


A loft conversion is an ideal way of gaining an extra bedroom, a games room or a home office. You
do not need any additional land, and as long as you have the correct planning permissions in place, it
is relatively straightforward. However, there are some things that you need to bear in mind before the
work starts, and that is what we are going to be looking at in this post.




Whether you need a bat survey


Bats are one of the protected species listed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This means
that you cannot kill them, injure them or remove them. You also cannot intentionally or recklessly
damage, destroy, or obstruct access to any area used as shelter or protection by a bat.
Unfortunately, bats like accessible spaces that are warm and dark - and the lofts of older houses are
often a prime spot for them. They are not quite so keen on newer homes, because they are harder to
get into, but if you have an old house with high beams in the loft, you will need to think about having a
bat survey done from Arbtech Consulting Ltd, especially if there are any other signs of bat life. If you
do have them, it will not necessarily stop your conversion, but it may make the process a little trickier.


Empty your loft


This sounds like common sense, but actually, it is so important that it needs pointing out. Whether you
are doing the conversion or are hiring the professionals to do it, you need to make sure your loft is
empty. This gives whoever is working up there a safe and clear space to work in. Lots of us tend to
have old childhood toys and seasonal items such as Christmas decorations lurking in the loft. This is
the time to have a good sort out - take anything you no longer need or use to the charity shop, get rid
of anything broken and neatly organise and store everything else somewhere for the duration of the
conversion.


How you will get rid of debris


This depends on who is going to be doing your conversion. If you are hiring a professional builder to
do it, this may be something that they organise on your behalf, but if they don't, or you are doing the
work yourself, you will need to think about how you will get rid of the debris. A skip is usually the best
way, but if you do not have a driveway or space on your property, you might need to seek permission
from your council to put it on the road outside your house.

A loft conversion can be a fantastic way of adding extra space to your home, but it needs some
careful consideration first to make sure it all goes to plan.

collaborative post
Ahh, the January detox. The time we make all manner of health promises only to break them within
minutes of waking up on new year’s day. If you’re anything like most, the health habits you don’t keep
have become something of a festive tradition. But, this is one tradition that you could do with breaking
this year.


The thing is, starting the year on a health kick is always a good thing, and not least for shedding
Christmas pounds. Health is more about lifestyle than anything, and getting into habits early is your
best chance at finally bossing body and mind next year.


If you’re worried about failing all over again, though, fear not, because we have a detox secret that
could be a game-changer this year. It’s just possible that all you need to do to get on top at last is to
plan your healthy January during this pre-Christmas period. That way, your lazy holiday head has a
whole lot less chance at stopping you from getting around to this. And, all you need to do to make it
happen is the following.


variety of sliced fruits


Book exercise classes now


How often have you waited until the pre-Christmas rush to book exercise classes because you knew
there wouldn’t be any spaces? This is the oldest trick in the book, and it’s one you can avoid by
booking classes now. Give that yoga teacher a ring tomorrow, or see about joining that Zumba class
now. It’s still far away enough that you don’t need to think about it, but getting your name on that list
means you can’t just ‘forget’ or let this slide when the January blues start setting in.


Invest in the cause


Investing in your January detox ahead of time is another excellent way to make sure you stick to it,
especially given how tight your funds probably are right now. Scrimping your pennies to
buy yoga clothing or a new smoothie maker is a sure way to commit. You worked so hard to make it
happen alongside all those presents that you just won’t feel right not putting those items to good
January use!


Research recipes ahead of time


If your detox is food-based, then researching recipes before Christmas is another must. The festive
season typically involves a whole load of time in the kitchen, after all, and checking out
healthy soup recipes is the last thing you’ll want to be doing when you finally get a chance to put your
feet up. Too often, this can lead to healthy eating plans going out the window. Don’t let it happen by
doing that January research now when you still have the appetite to get excited about the countless
health cookery possibilities on offer.

These three tips couldn’t be simpler, but trust us when we say that they’re critical to a successful
January detox at last. Simply set your mind to the task, and you’ll (nearly) be a whole new person by
the time the new year rolls around. 

- collaborative post

I'm sure we all have hundreds or thousands of photos on our phones and cameras. We all say we're going to print them, but we end up never doing it. Your Surprise have a great range of photo products. You can find photo albums, photo cushions to canvases, there are all kinds of products you can print your best photos. I was kindly gifted a couple of canvases, and I've chosen two of my favourite photos; one of my Nain and Taid and another photo that features three of my kids in one of my favourite places.

This photo of my three children was taken in one of my favourite places, called Llanberis. It's a place I visited a lot when I was younger, so I always love to take my own kids there when I can. That day it was a really sunny and warm day. We took a walk around the lake, visited the Welsh Museum and even went on a train ride around the lake too. It was a lovely and memorable day. 

I love to put pictures up on the walls and on shelves, as we always end up having conversations about the day and the kids telling stories about what they remember from the day too. But not only is the photo a great way to remember the day, but it also adds that personal touch to a house and makes the house a home.


Before buying our home, we previously rented two houses and weren't allowed to put holes in the walls, which meant we didn't put any photos up on the wall. So I was really looking forward to place some photos up in our current home. We haven't finished our home properly, so there's still a lot left to do, but we are getting there. 

Back to the photo canvas, I was given a voucher code, so I was able to order the canvas myself on their website. The website was really easy to use, and you're able to preview your order before check out, which is always a bonus when you're ordering a photo or personalised product online. I'm really happy with the quality of the photo, and I've had many comments about the photo ever since I've added it to the living room. 

- I was gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words, images and opinions are my own. 
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