SLIDER

5 MONEY SAVING TIPS THAT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY ON HOLIDAY

3 Dec 2018

When it comes to spending money, I'm a bit of a bargain hunter. I love to use money saving sites to gain cash back on purchases, and I also enter lots of competitions to win extra luxuries for my family.  I'm always on the hunt for money saving tips, so I thought I'd share some little tips with you today. They are not going to make you a millionaire, but every little bit of extra money helps...especially when you have children!



GETTING YOUR HOUSE READY FOR WINTER

5 Nov 2018

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST 


Here are some useful tips that will help you to get your house ready for winter.

THE TRIUMPH FACTORY VISITOR EXPERIENCE

7 Oct 2018

Motorbikes are a huge part of our lives. My husband is a design engineer at Triumph Motorcycles, and when he isn't designing bikes, he enjoys following the MotoGP. Elise has also become a fan of motorbikes, and they often watch the races together, or head to Mallory Park, which is just down the road from us, to take in some of the live motorbike action. It's a great hobby for them to share together, and so when the factory where my husband works opened up a visitor centre, we knew that we would become regular visitors. Since it opened last year, we have probably been to visit at least once a month...even if it is just to visit the cafe for a delicious slice of cake, and for Elise to have a sit on a motorbike or two!



4 GERM BUSTERS THAT EVERY MUM NEEDS

29 Sep 2018

When it comes to having a toddler, messes are something that occur every day (or sometimes it feels like every minute!). Over the last couple of years, I've come to love certain products, and found that they really keep the germs at bay. I thought I would share with you my essential products for keeping the household as germ free as possible. It's mostly just a love story to Zoflora, which should be a staple of every home in the UK, if not the world!



THREE DREAM CITY DESTINATIONS FOR BLOGGERS

28 Sep 2018

When it comes to blogging, I'm always on the hunt for stunning locations. I love following travel blogs and seeing where they have been on their latest adventures, and living vicariously through them. I recently went to Los Angeles and Orange County and found some incredible photography spots, so I thought I would share some of my dream locations to visit to get some stunning photos. I'm usually more of a city holiday girl, and I love architecture, so my picks are not your typical beach holidays!


THE BEST SCENIC DRIVING ROUTES IN EUROPE

If you have been a reader of A Mundane Life for a while, you may already know the story of how I met my husband, and how we fell in love through numerous journeys in his car. We also took part in a few scatter rallies, and I even accompanied him on a track day when we owned our Peugeot 205 GTI. We've always wanted to go to Europe to test out some of the roads, as we've only experienced what the UK has to offer. Wales has some amazing roads, but I've heard some great things about the roads in places like Austria and Italy.


I've teamed up with KwikFit to let you know about some of the best roads in Europe, and how you can prepare your car for the trip.

COLIC AWARENESS MONTH WITH INFACOL AND CRY-SIS 2018 (PLUS GIVEAWAY)

25 Sep 2018

September is a very popular birth month In fact, statistics show that the nation's most popular birthday is September 26th. I think some people get carried away with the Christmas celebrations, and like the idea of having an extra family member the following year! That is why September is the perfect month to raise more awareness about Colic. Colic affects 1 in 5 babies, but only 1 in 3 mums admit that they know what it is. I wasn't really sure what it was until I got involved in the campaign last year.





INCONTINENCE DURING PREGNANCY

20 Sep 2018


THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST 

Many women are aware that pregnancy can cause urinary incontinence, even on a temporary basis, but one in four women experience faecal incontinence. Although only fourteen percent of women report any symptoms. 

Simple Ways to Make Life Easier

19 Sep 2018

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST


We all want our life to be easy, right? The trouble is that achieving this is never an easy task. We all just seem to assume that life is designed to be difficult, especially in the fast-paced world we live in today whereby we are constantly juggling our careers with family life. However, there are lots of simple ways we can make our life easier. 



Read on to discover everything you need to know.

FROM BOOK TO SCREEN: A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES WITH SKY ONE AND NOW TV

12 Sep 2018

THIS IS A PAID COLLABORATION WITH SKY ONE AND NOW TV

I've always had a slight inclination that there may be something a bit different about me, at last week I finally discovered the secret. I'm not human after all, in fact I'm actually a vampire. Fear not though, as I feel that I may be more of an Edward Cullen vegetarian vampire at the moment, who would rather feast on animals than humans. How do I know I'm a vampire? Well I've had a very high tech procedure done, courtesy of Sky One and Now TV, where my DNA was tested to see whether I was a plain human, a daemon, a witch or a vampire. The procedure took place in Oxford on the 6th September and involved a swab of my DNA and a complicated multiple choice test to find out what type of creature I am. Ok, the test wasn't too invasive, or too complicated, but I completely trust the results.

A witch weighing chair, with A Discovery of Witches written in front


So your next question is probably, why are Sky One in Oxford, on a Thursday, taking DNA samples from the general public to find out whether they are a human? Well, it was in aid of promoting, and celebrating, the release of their brand new original show, A Discovery of Witches. Based on the books from the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches is full of deamons, witches and vampires who are all searching for the same book....and one witch has just discovered it.

SNOW ANGEL COVE BOOK REVIEW

6 Sep 2018

This Christmas season is fast approaching, and with the Christmas season comes the Christmas novels. Christmas romance novels are my ultimate guilty pleasure. I don’t read many romance novels throughout the year, but when it hits September/October time, the novels start hitting the shops and I start stocking up ready for the winter season.

Snow Angel Cove is written in front of a winter backdrop. A copy of the book cover is seen to the right hand side of the picture.


There’s just something different about a Christmas romance novel. The winter scenes just add to the magic of the romance. I’m probably a bigger fan due to the fact that I love winter, and the cold months. I know not everyone likes the cold weather, but for me it is the perfect climate. If I could move to Alaska, I totally would, but I don’t think that my husband would be too happy with that location. Unlike me, he very much enjoys the warmer seasons. The first Christmas novel that hit my desk for review, was Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne.

STYLING MY OFFICE BASED ON MY HOROSCOPE (SAGITTARIUS)

5 Sep 2018

Star signs tell us a lot about our personalities, but did you know that it can also be applied to things like work ethic and work environment? Different horoscopes work in different ways, and our surroundings can either help or hinder us when it comes to being productive. My husband is a Scorpio, and I am a Sagittarius, so according to our star signs, we would both work in different ways, and prefer a different work environment. Our personalities are definitely very different, and so are our careers. I'm more creative, and he works as a design engineer so his world is full of spreadsheets and organisation is very important to him.



I teamed up with Furniture at Work to find out all about how your star sign could affect your working environment, and how you can make your work space more productive. Although I don't personally believe in horoscopes, I do find it interesting to read about star signs and different personality types, so today I'll be sharing the perfect office space if you are a Sagittarius just like me.

GUEST POST: COMMON MISTAKES AND TIPS ON HOW TO SWITCH FROM SMOKING TO VAPING

1 Sep 2018

THIS IS A GUEST POST.

Starting out with electronic cigarettes can be a real struggle for many people. While it may take you a day or two to get the hang of it, making the switch is truly rewarding and good for your health. Many of the people looking to quit smoking switch to vaping for it is not only safer but also makes it easy to ditch the cigarette. According to research and statistics, vaping is one of the most effective ways that has helped many people quit smoking.  This fact alone has made many people make the switch with the hope of giving up the addiction altogether. 


THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO FREE BEAUTY PRODUCTS

30 Aug 2018

Entering Competitions is one of my hobbies, and finding freebies is another thing that I enjoying. Getting free beauty products delivered directly to my door? Sounds good to me! I'm an avid makeup fan, so I am constantly looking for ways to save money when it comes to getting new beauty products. When I discovered that I would be able to get free makeup delivered to my door, it opened up a whole new world for me.



There is a broad range of beauty products that you can be delivered directly to homes across the UK, ranging from free hair products, to toiletries, cosmetics, perfume samples (which are perfect for holidays!) and more. It is a great way to try out new brands, and get sample sizes of your favourite products without having to leave your sofa. In my opinion, shopping online is the best way to shop, especially if you have a chronic illness and struggle to get to the shops.

THE STIG PLAYS A DANGEROUS GAME BOOK REVIEW

29 Aug 2018

Today I am taking part in a blog tour for "The Stig Plays A Dangerous Game", a middle grade book all about friendship, fast cars and featuring the well loved character The Stig from the television show Top Gear. A fast paced, and action packed book, full of humour and car references, this book is sure to be a hit with any car lover, young or old. 

BRIO MY TOWN CAMPING SET REVIEW

26 Aug 2018

If you are a regular reader of A Mundane Life, you will already know that we are HUGE fans of the Brio toy range. We've reviewed quite a few of their toys in the past, including the Light and Sound Fire Truck and the My First Take Along Train Set. Brio toys are incredibly well made, and made to last. We were recently sent the Camping set from the My Town range to try out, and we were not disappointed. Elise was excited to play with it alongside the Fire Truck that we already have, and she hasn't put it down since.



The thing that we love about the Brio toy range, is that they don't just use plastic for all their toys. All their toys have a wooden element to them. The figures are simple wooden figures that are timeless, and can be used with other toy sets. In fact, Elise uses the little wooden figures with most of her other toy sets, and we take them out with us to restaurants so she can play whilst waiting for her food.

GETTING READY FOR PRESCHOOL WITH VAMPIRINA

25 Aug 2018

Elise turns 3 in November, so we thought it was about time that she started attending a local preschool for a few mornings each week. She already goes to a childminder once a week so that she can socialise with other children, but we really wanted to get her into the routine of going to a preschool regularly and being around a larger number of children. Elise seems really excited, and couldn't wait to get a new bag ready for preschool. We lucked out when we were offered some products from the Disney Vampirina range to review, and I couldn't wait to see Elise's face when I gave her her brand new big girl bag.



We were not familiar with the Vampirina character before we were sent the Bootastic Backpack Set and the Spooky Scooter Set. I have to admit that we don't watch very much television. In fact, we don't even have a television plugged in. Elise does love anything to do with monsters or halloween though, so I knew that they would be a hit.

PLANNING OUR FIRST TRIP ABROAD

22 Aug 2018

Elise is almost three now, and we have always been on holiday within the UK and haven't ventured abroad yet. This is something that we plan to do in the next few years, and we have already started planning where we might go. There's so many things to consider when going abroad with a child, from the distance, to everything you need to take, to the cost. We've researched a few places, and options, so far so I thought I'd fill you in with the things that we are taking into consideration.


MY FAVOURITE PRODUCTS FOR WHEN I WANT A BIT OF A PAMPER

1 Aug 2018

As a busy mum, I often forget to give myself a chance to relax in the evenings. My to do list seems never ending, especially as I work from home too. I find it hard to switch off and just relax. When Olverum got in touch and asked if I wanted to try out their bath oil, I knew that this would be the perfect excuse to dig out my pampering products that have been collecting dust, and maybe discover some new favourites.

Photo shows the following products: Big sea salt shampoo, olverum bath oil, hemp hand cream, snow fairy, himalayan charcoal mask

I've never really used bath oils before, instead I usually opt for a bath bomb. Mostly because I'm afraid that the bath will get too slippery and I'll get stuck (like that one time when I was heavily pregnant). I was looking for some nice products to try out when I was on my solo trip in LA and so Olverum's travel size bath oil seemed like the perfect thing to throw in my case and take with me. I ended up loving it, and ended up using it multiple nights of my trip. Read on to find out what other products I have discovered, or have loved for a while now...

CELEBRATING FRIENDSHIP DAY - TROLLS PUZZLE GIVEAWAY (CLOSED)

31 Jul 2018

The 5th of August 2018 is Friendship Day and to celebrate, I have a Trolls Puzzle Giveaway, where one winner will win a 4 in 1 Trolls puzzle (suitable for ages 3+). Trolls is a film all about friendship and happiness, and really promotes how to make other people happy. It's such a great film to watch this Friendship Day, and I will definitely be watching it with Elise and participating in some Hug time.



Ravensburger have a whole range of puzzles to keep your children entertained, and to help their problem solving skills, and I must say that both myself and Elise love the range. One of her personal favourites is the Cars 4 in 1 puzzle which we actually found in a local charity shop. Elise has a whole box of puzzles and games, and we also love the memory games that Ravensburger makes. We also love that lots of her favourite characters can be found on Ravensburger products.

METIKS FADE SERIES - BOOK TWO NAME REVEAL

30 Jul 2018

I love discovering new authors. Especially new authors who are lovely and friendly, and who will take time out of their day to talk to their readers. I discovered Thomas Welsh on Twitter and we instantly clicked. I was really interested in his new book series, The Metiks Fade, and actually enquired as to whether I would be able to get a copy of the book to read before it was released. I loved the first book, Anna Undreaming and enjoyed sharing it with my daughter. The amount of praise and coverage that Anna Undreaming received, and still receives was amazing. Even though I have never met Tom in person, I was so proud and happy to see his book become a success.

Elise standing up and flicking through Anna Undreaming

I've been eagerly awaiting news of the second book in the trilogy, so when an email landed in my inbox from Tom all about the second book, I had a massive smile on my face. Today I get to reveal the title of the second book in the series, along with the blurb!


FRENETIC BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY (CLOSED)

Today I reviewed a new board game that my husband and I have been loving. Frenetic is a fast past word game where you use the elemental table to create words, competing with each other at the same time for the highest score. We love the game, and it has become a staple game in our date night collection. I'm very excited that I have a copy of the game to giveaway to one lucky winner.

close up of the frenetic board game

To find out how to enter to win a copy of Frenetic, continue reading and follow the instructions in the post. There is one prize, so make sure you come back to enter every day to increase your chances of winning!

FRENETIC - FUN WITH THE ELEMENTAL TABLE

When it comes to date night, my husband and I love a break from technology. We love a good board game and often play a game of Scrabble or Rummikub to pass the time in the evenings. As we have a young daughter, date nights outside the house are pretty much a thing of the past, but we don't mind that much when we have a board game to play. I think we are a bit geekish when it comes to games, and enjoy games that challenge our minds. When we were offered the chance to try out Frenetic, a word game based on the elemental table, we jumped at the chance. 

A close up of the Frenetic game. It shows the bag that the letters live in.

My husband works as a Senior Design Engineer so is a bit of a science and maths geek. I'm more creative, so enjoy games based on letters, so Frenetic is the perfect game for us as it mixes the periodic table with a fast paced letter game. It is perfect as a group game, and also works very well as a two player game. As we play games just the two of us, the ability to play just us is very important when purchasing a new game.

AS SOON AS I SAW YOU, I KNEW A GRAND ADVENTURE WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN

29 Jul 2018

When it comes to childhood memories, there is a very prominent figure present in most of them. Someone who was always there for me, and to keep me safe at night, and keep all my secrets to themselves, never sharing them with another sole. This figure is still with me now, and has moved to every new house with me, and experienced all the new things that I have done, including getting married and having a daughter. Without fail, they are always there for me, and now they are there for my daughter too. Who is this amazing person? Well he isn't a person at all, but is my very lovely bunny cuddly toy who I have had since birth! This much loved toy has been through everything with me, and although he is no longer his original pink colour, and has lost most of his fur, he is a treasured part of my life, and I have recently passed him down to my daughter, who loves him just as much as I do. 

winnie the pooh plus toy in front of a polaroid photo of my daughter as a newborn

I think we all have that special toy that we bonded with more than the others, my daughter has her favourite monkey toy that she sleeps with every night, but she has a new addition to her bedtime crew, and that is the adorable Winnie the Pooh from the Christopher Robin Movie Winnie the Pooh Plush Range

BRIO LIGHT AND SOUND FIRE TRUCK REVIEW

16 Jul 2018

Elise is 2 and a half now and has really started to enjoy playing with toys that she can create little stories with. Whether she is playing with Duplo, Happy Land or simple wooden toys, she loves to create her own little world and creates whole story lines for the toys she is playing with. When we were asked if Elise would like to test out the Brio Light and Sound Fire Truck, I knew that she would love it. We already have the Brio My First Take Along Set and love the Brio range of toys, especially as we are huge fans of sustainable wooden toys. 

A close up photo of the fire truck toy. The brio logo can be seen on the front, with a wooden man inside the front of the fire truck. Elise is sitting behind.

Recently, Elise has taken a great interest in the Emergency services, and so she was very excited when I opened up the Light and Sound Fire Truck for her. She immediately pushed the button on the top to activate the fire engine sound, which isn't too loud and only plays for a short time, and started setting up the ladder for the firefighters to rescue a cat stuck in a tree. My first impressions of the toy were also great, and I loved the mix of plastic with wood, and the simplicity of the wooden characters. 

MY FIRST PHOTO BOOK WITH PHOTOBOX

11 Jun 2018

I'm always taking photos to capture the moment, but I'm terrible at getting them printed or put into photo books. They always just remain on my computer, and then I always regret not doing anything with them. When Photobox got in contact to tell me all about their new product, designed especially for little ones, I knew that it was something that Elise would cherish for years to come. "My First Photo book" is a board book aimed at children under 3, and can be personalised with your own photos and words. I was so excited to make one for Elise, and she has been looking at it every day since it arrived. 

The photo book can be seen on a white background with little animals

The board book comes with 16 super thick, wipe clean pages which can be personalised with photos, and even your own words. You can change the background colour of the pages, and there are also different layouts that you can select. We chose to use the same layout throughout, with a photo in the centre and a caption below. I wanted to make it so that as Elise gets older, she can learn to read the words in the book too. 

BABY SECRETS PRAM PACK REVIEW

18 May 2018

Elise is two and a half now, and has really started to enjoy playing with her toys. She creates little stories with them, and puts on little voices for them. She replays events that have happened during the past, and likes to imagine new scenarios. I knew that she would love the toys that Baby Secrets have to offer straight away. She is pretty obsessed with babies at the moment, but has never really been interested in dolls. She would rather play with smaller toys, so the Baby Secrets Pram Pack is the perfect toy for her.


The baby secrets pram pack can be seen on the floor in front of a grassy background. The toys fit into little hands and the set has a bath, 3 babies and a pram.


The thing that I first noticed with the Baby Secrets Pram Pack was that it wasn't just your average plastic toys. There's a few hidden surprises within the pack, and there is plenty to discover. There are also other play sets to collect, and you can buy surprise babies separately. 


WHY TRAVEL INSURANCE IS SO IMPORTANT

16 May 2018

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE  POST WITH TRUE SOLICITORS

When it comes to travelling, travel insurance is something that I've always purchased, but never really thought that much about. That was until I recently had to take out some travel insurance again for my next trip abroad. I have to take out pre-existing medical condition insurance which is a lot more expensive than your average travel insurance, and it really made me consider whether I needed to get insurance before my travels.



It also got me thinking about whether other people actually take out the cover, or risk it and travel without their own insurance. I've teamed up with TRUE Solicitors LLP, accident at work claims specialists, to see exactly how important it is to take out cover before you get on that plane.

5 QUICK TRICKS TO MODERNISE ANY KITCHEN

4 May 2018

When it comes to decorating, different styles come in and out of fashion. Something that may be trending within the interior design world, can soon be out of fashion the next day. This means that when it comes to selling your house, your decorating style may let you down a little bit. There are really simple ways to add up to 4% of the value of your home with barely any effort, and it all starts in the kitchen.



I've teamed up with HC Supplies to show you some quick ways you can modernise your kitchen and add value to your home.

5 Reasons Why Greyhounds are Awesome

30 Apr 2018

We adopted our ex-racing Greyhound 4 years ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Greyhounds are the perfect family pet and are probably the most chilled out dogs in the world.

Elise as a baby playing with our greyhound on the floor


Despite lots of Greyhounds having a rough start to life due to their racing careers, they are so affectionate and adapt really well to being in a home. They love retirement and running for fun, instead of having to run for entertainment with the chance of being injured and then put to sleep.

Here are my top 5 reasons why Greyhounds are Awesome.

How to create the right ambiance in your home

26 Apr 2018

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE GUEST POST

Creating the right ambiance in your room is essential for you to enjoy the space. From pendant lights to cosy furnishings at the dining table, adding the softer touches to your interior design can help to create a room with character, atmosphere and a mood.



Here are some tips to create the ambiance you are looking for:

TEXTURE

Textures around the home need not be uniform. In fact, if you’re looking to achieve an informal, cosy setting then steer clear of a regimented list of restricted textures and you’ll find textures that marry well irrespective of their feel or material. Mirrors and glass objects are a good accent to any texture. To create a broody feel, consider rich, dark veneers. For a softer touch, incorporate silk upholstery, velvet floor length curtains and hints of aged brass and copper...


Toddler Fashion: It's Wednesday

25 Apr 2018

As Elise gets older, she is showing more interest in what she wears, so I decided to start a new series on the blog where I share the outfits she has worn lately. She doesn't have a huge wardrobe, and we try to keep a capsule style wardrobe for her, so I thought it would be interesting to show you how we work with a small wardrobe. I have got some random bright coloured items (like shorts) for the summer, but her wardrobe mostly consists of grey, black, white, navy and hints of pastel pink, mustard and red. She has been in the same size clothes (12-18) since she was around 1.5 years old and she is now 2.5 years old.


For today's outfit, I took a bit of inspiration from Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family, and added a pop of colour with her shoes and bag...


My Favourite "Everything" Online Shops

23 Apr 2018

THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH CONTACT NUMBERS UK

Shopping online can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the sense that everything is at your fingertips, and a curse because it is so easy to click purchase. I find that it is easy to make impulse buys, and this can be a bit of a curse. Sometimes you wonder why you ordered something when it arrives! I found this happened when I was a sleep deprived mum of a newborn. Online shopping for random things on Amazon became a 2am habit, and I often wondered why I purchased what I did.


I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite online shops where you can buy pretty much anything you can think of. The perfect place for those impulse buys, but that also have easy return policies. Being able to return online purchases easily is a huge deal for me. I hate it when you can't return items easily, or the details of how to return items is vague. That's why I like using the Contact Numbers UK website to look up where I stand when it comes to returns. You can find all the contact numbers of major retailers on their website, including Amazon and Very. This means you can talk to an actual human about returns policies, something that can be a huge benefit if you can't find the details online, or the details are a bit confusing. I often forget to keep the packaging for my new purchases, and this is something that I am trying to work on. It is so awful when something doesn't fit, but you haven't kept your receipt or the original packaging. However, there are always options and so talking to someone on the phone is often the best option...

"Frat Girl" by Kiley Roache - Book Review

16 Apr 2018

"Frat Girl" is a debut novel from Kiley Roache,  an 18 year old blogger and editor with the Huffington Post. Kiley has also been a reporter for the Chicago Tribune while she was a high school student, and also wrote for The Doings, a Sun Times Media Paper. She also attends Stanford University.

An open copy of Frat girl, showing the title page. The book is on a marble background.

With a list of achievements like this, it makes me feel like I haven't done very much with my life! After hearing all of Roache's successes, I had high hopes for her debut novel "Frat Girl". This would be my first contemporary novel with feminism as it's main theme. I was a little skeptical before reading the book, mostly due to the fact that I don't know much about Feminism. I only know what I see in the media, and on twitter, and although I do believe in lots of points within Feminism, I know that I only know surface details about the history and don't have much involvement with campaigning.

As it turns out, I was right about not knowing much about feminism, and this book definitely taught me a thing or two. I also got to experience the Frat and Sorority system that is present in American Universities. 

Read on for my full review of "Frat Girl" by Kiley Roache...

"Goodbye, Perfect" by Sara Barnard - Book Review

1 Apr 2018

"Goodbye, Perfect" is the third stand-alone novel from Sara Barnard. Her two previous novels have been very popular in the blogging world, and I have heard plenty of praise for her style of writing. I happened to see a copy of her latest offering in my local library, and even though I have a huge stack of books at home to read, I just couldn't resist picking it up. If I'm totally honest, I mostly picked it up because of the beautiful cover, I didn't actually know anything about the book before I started reading it, but as soon as I finished it I quickly purchased another book by Sara straight away. I think this gives a little bit of an insight into what I thought of "Goodbye, Perfect" and I am hoping to love her other novels as much as I loved this one. 

An open copy of "Goodbye,Perfect" is in the centre balanced on a notebook, with two pens next to it. In the top right corner is a fake plant, and in the top left is a flute in an open case.

Please note that this is a spoiler free review, where I don't reveal key twists in the plot, but I do discuss individual characters and their subplots. I try not to reveal anything that I would want to discover myself on the first read, and that isn't found on the back cover. 

5 Things I Want To Do On My First Trip To Liverpool

22 Mar 2018


Liverpool is somewhere that I have always wanted to go. This is mostly because of the music history, and I hear that the shopping isn't too bad either. I've been researching things to do in Liverpool for a while now, so I thought that I would share 5 things I would like to do when I visit Liverpool.

Shop Til I Drop in Liverpool One

Image Source
I don't think any UK break is complete without a little bit of shopping, and I've heard amazing things about Liverpool One. As well as shopping, they also have amazing places to eat when you are all shopped out. They have plenty of activities to keep all the family entertained, such as a cinema and adventure golf. I think you could easily lose track of time here!

Liverpool One also have events on throughout the year so it is worth checking out their site to see what they have on. They have family events running throughout the year, as well as events like Wine Festivals that are catering more for the adults. You can also keep track using #LiverpoolGuide2018 on social media...

How To Survive Spring Cleaning With A Toddler

20 Mar 2018

It's the first day of Spring (March 20th) and it's that time of year where you see everyone mentioning Spring Cleaning. Any mother will tell you that cleaning is a full time job when you have children, so the sheer thought of a deep clean can send you over the edge. I'm here to try and make things a little bit easier with some of the methods I use with my toddler (2 years old....well 2 years and 4 months if you want to be more precise) when it comes to cleaning and decluttering our family home.

Advice for the Millennial Renter

26 Feb 2018


Although I am now a home owner, I spent most of my twenties renting properties across the country. My first rented accommodation was in a shared student house, both before I met my husband, and after I met him. At the beginning of our relationship, it made more sense to live in a shared house whilst he finished university. Financially it just made a lot more sense. We then moved into a maisonette in a converted school and loved it there. Once we moved away from Wales for my husband to start working we lived in a few interesting places so I think I have learnt quite a bit when it comes to renting. I thought I'd share a few tips that I picked up along the way.


My 2018 Travel Plans and Ultimate Bucket List


When it comes to travelling, there are so many places that I would love to go to. I haven't been too adventurous with my travels in the past, and I've mostly stuck to Europe and a few popular places in America, so I'd like to start venturing to more exotic places. I'm actually taking my first solo trip to America this year, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share my plans for this trip, and other places I would like to go.


Here are my plans for this year, and a few goals for the years to come...

When should a blogger declare themselves as self employed?

21 Feb 2018


As a blogger, working with brands and PR companies is something that I do regularly. I work with brands to promote their products, and sometimes I get paid to host content, or write sponsored posts. That's why it was so important that I researched what I needed to do in terms of declaring any payments that I was receiving. I wasn't too sure about all the rules, and how to go about declaring the money I was making, so I thought I would share my experience with going self employed and filing my first self assessment tax return.



WHEN DID I DECLARE MYSELF AS SELF EMPLOYED?

I set up my blog in January 2017, and in February 2017 I was offered my first piece of paid work. It felt amazing to be doing what I loved and making some money to help fund my new hobby. I was already aware that I needed to declare myself as self employed within 3 months of receiving my first payment, so this is something that I did straight away. As soon as you start receiving payment for your work you need to declare this to HMRC. You can give give them a call to discuss the next steps you need to take...

My Sunday Morning Playlist

19 Feb 2018

Sunday mornings are a time for relaxation. It's the time of the week where you can rest a bit longer in bed, or take a nice relaxing bath and pamper yourself a little bit. Well...back in the day before having children that is! I like to take an hour or so to myself on a Sunday whilst my husband has some time with our daughter. He usually takes her out so that I can have some child free time, and this is when I like to put on a relaxing playlist and have some chill out time. I generally put on a face mask and read for a bit, or listen to some nice calming music. I thought I'd share my favourite songs to relax to with you today. Maybe it will give you a little bit of inspiration!


When I am relaxing by myself, I tend to put on some noise cancelling headphones and submerse myself in my own little world. However, if it is nap time and my husband comes to join me we prefer to play music using either the television or our super old school stereo. It even has a tape deck, so that tells you just how old it is. As we've started enjoying music more and more, we've been looking at newer systems. There are many systems out there, but we have been eyeing up a few from the Panasonic Speaker System range. 

Here are a few of our favourite songs to listen to whilst having a little bit of time to relax:

Wildest Dreams Book Box (January 2018) - Into the Jungle

20 Jan 2018

Recently, I told you all about a new UK YA book box that offers monthly goodies straight to your door every month. The first official Wildest Dreams Box had the theme "Into the Jungle" and I was extremely excited about this. I had a feeling that I knew what book was going to be included in the box, so I went and cancelled a book that I had on pre-order. I'm glad I did because my instincts turned out to be true! 

An overview of the basic contents of the box - the book wrapped up, some gold coins and some tea bags

Today I will be unboxing the first official Wildest Dreams Book Box to show you what you can expect from future boxes. Every box comes with a newly released YA book, as well as a bath/beauty product and a tea. You can also expect notes from the authors and some other bookish goodies... 

Hair Loss after pregnancy - My Experience

18 Jan 2018

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST

When I was pregnant with Elise I experienced many different symptoms. Between the constipation and the morning sickness, (which actually lasts all day, although people will insist it is called morning sickness for a reason!) you experience a whole lot of other symptoms too. Between the cravings for bananas, which I actually don't really like, but my daughter loves, I didn't have time to think about other symptoms such as the hair growing all over my body. My eyebrows became a lot bushier and I had enough fuzz on my stomach that I was convinced that someone would mistake me for a peach.


On the other end of the spectrum, I didn't think about symptoms that I would experience after my pregnancy ended. I already had to think about the fact that I'd be recovering from a C-Section and then around 3 months after Elise was born, my hair suddenly started falling out. I'm not talking about a few strands here and there, I'm talking about massive clumps. Clumps that would clog the plughole, and that would stick to the shower walls. I'd be emptying my hairbrush every day. I could have probably collected my hair for a week and made a wig. I was even looking up hair transplants and FUE hair transplant costs, to see if I could book in to have a transplant. I really believed all my hair was going to fall out, and my hairline would be as bad as my husband's (I joke about him getting a hair transplant all the time!)...

Cost of IVF with donor eggs – what should you know

17 Jan 2018

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE GUEST POST WRITTEN BY EGG DONATION FRIENDS


Unfortunately, nowadays more and more women, particularly at an advanced maternal age, are facing trouble with getting pregnant.  In vitro fertilisation (IVF) with donor eggs gives them a chance to get pregnant after an infertility diagnosis. If you pay out of pocket for IVF with donor eggs, this article reveals what you should know about treatment, and particularly about the cost of IVF with donor eggs


The cost of IVF with donor eggs varies from country to country. Most IVF clinics offer free consultation (also via skype), so you can find out more about the cost of IVF and treatment options. It might happen that you will contact two top clinics in the same country, and will see a really significant difference in the costs. Does this mean that the most expensive clinic really offers the highest price? Absolutely not. It might mean that the second clinic doesn’t include additional costs (additional tests, medicine, etc). However, it doesn’t mean you should choose the most expensive treatment without doing your  own in-depth research.  Simply put, you should analyse prices carefully and know what procedures and tests are included. 

IVF with donor eggs – how to save? 


Start with discovering which is the best destination or country for you. Without a doubt, if a local IVF clinic offers the best solution for you, it is the best option. However, if your insurance company doesn’t cover IVF costs or you cannot rely on the NHS, then undergoing cheap and top quality IVF with donor eggs at overseas clinics might be a great deal. 
Some international patients even decide to combine their holidays with IVF. Egg donation is a rather stressful period, and it is not a bad idea to relax with your partner on a sunny beach in Greece or Spain during the treatment. 

Yet another opportunity to save money is to participate in a shared egg donation program, that usually reduces IVF prices by up to 50%. The success rates for this program is the same as in standard IVF with donor eggs programs.  

More and more IVF clinics offer so called multiple cycle options with/or a money back guarantee. It means that if a woman doesn’t get pregnant after a definite number of tries, she will get a 50-100% refund. 

Here are a few issues you should check, if you need IVF with donor eggs:

  • If medications needed for the donor (for you as well) are included in the cost of the IVF program;
  • If the freezing of embryos and sperm is included;
  • If the transfer of blastocyst is included;

While choosing IVF with donor eggs at overseas countries, you should also keep in mind additional costs, like travel and accommodation expenses, monitoring at a local clinic, and others. 

So do your own in-depth investigation and pick an IVF centre that helps you become parents to amazing babies.  Although we didn't have to seek help via IVF, I know what this means - My "labour" and delivery story 

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE GUEST POST WRITTEN BY EGG DONATION FRIENDS
THIS WEBSITE USES AFFILIATE LINKS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY.

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The Sudocrem Baby Changing Room Awards

9 Jan 2018

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST WITH SUDOCREM

If you are a parent, you know that baby changing facilities can be drastically different. Some places offer dedicated parent rooms, whilst others have a simple changing table that you pull down from the wall. The changing areas can be a stand alone room, situated in a disabled toilet or even in the women's or men's toilets. Some places don't even have changing rooms which can be a disaster when you have young children, and especially disabled children.


There are 800,000 disabled children in the UK. These children need a space that is adapted for them to use the toilet. These spaces are called "Changing Places" and offer a hoist and a full sized bed so that they don't have to use a filthy floor as a changing area. There are only 1058 Changing Places toilets in the UK, which means that everyday thousands of disabled children are having to use changing tables that are too small, or even worse their parents are having to use a filthy bathroom floor.

Sudocrem have creating the Changing Room Awards which recognises the best changing rooms across the country. The awards has three categories:


  1. Best Changing Room
  2. Best Dad's Changing Room
  3. Changing Places Toilet
It is so nice to see that Sudocrem are shedding light on Changing Places Toilets as they really are important not just for disabled children, but also for disabled adults. I would love to see Changing Places Toilets all over the country so that more parents with disabled children have somewhere to change their child without having to worry about putting them on a filthy floor. I also love that they have a category for best dad's changing room. There have been so many occasions where there haven't been changing facilities for my husband to use when he has been out with my daughter alone. This means that he has had to go back to the car and change her in the boot. It's so nice when there are family changing rooms, or facilities for men to change their children.

HOW TO VOTE IN THE CHANGING ROOM AWARDS

You can now nominate your favourite changing rooms, with winners being announced in Mid-March. To do this just visit the Sudocrem Changing Room Awards site and click on "Changing Room Awards" and fill in the form. 

WIN A BABYMEL FRANKIE TWEED CHANGING BAG WORTH £58


To encourage readers of "A Mundane Life" to vote for the best changing rooms in the UK, they have offered one lucky reader the chance to win a BabyMel Frankie Tweed Changing Bag worth £58! To enter for the chance to win, all you need to do is enter via the Gleam giveaway app below. There are two mandatory entries that you need to complete once you have logged in, and all other options with the app are optional. There are also chances for daily entries, so remember to come back and enter every day. The giveaway ends in 2 weeks on Tuesday 23rd January at 12pm GMT and is open to UK residents only



TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

- The promoter of this giveaway is A Mundane Life
- All prizes are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative offered
- The winners will be contacted via email or social media
- The winner will need to provide a full postal address to receive their prize
The giveaway ends in 2 weeks on Tuesday 23rd January at 12pm GMT and is open to UK residents only
- The winner has 28 days to respond before another winner will be selected
Please allow up to 28 days for delivery of your prize
- The winner is picked via the gleam app from all entrants that have followed the directions of the giveaway post.
The prize is being sent directly from the PR company who are working on this giveaway and will be sent as tracked or signed for
- All information detailing how to enter this giveaway forms part of these terms and conditions
- Events may occur that render the competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter, and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.
- By submitting an entry through Gleam, all entrants are acknowledging and accept the terms and conditions for the giveaway
- Each winning entry will be validated, and if the instructions for entry have not been followed for that  entry, a new winner will be chosen
Each entry within the app is a single entry into the giveaway and stands alone as such. All mandatory actions must be completed for any entry to be valid, but after mandatory entries are complete, if one of the optional entries is invalid, this does not affect any other entry into the gleam app.
Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.
- Compers are always welcome to enter giveaways run on A Mundane Life

There is no cash alternative to Prizes which are subject to availability, non-transferable, non-negotiable and non-refundable. Prizes may not be sold, offered for sale or used in connection with any other competition or promotion by the Prize winner


SARAH HUGHES
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THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST WITH SUDOCREM. THIS WEBSITE USES AFFILIATE LINKS. 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY.

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Why We Share Our Love of Music With Our Toddler

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST WITH BIDVINE

The Hughes Household is a very musical household. We play lots of music in this house, and a huge range of styles of music. Elise, our 2 year old actually attended her first progressive rock gig before she was even born (I was 6 months pregnant) and she was born already loving music. Since she was able to, she's loved making music with different household items, and now she sings along to her favourite songs, and joins in with the actions to her favourite nursery rhymes. She's also developed a huge love for jazz music, and requests that we play this type of music when she is eating her food with us at dinner time.

my husband sat on the sofa with my two year old. They are both holding onto my husbands burgundy coloured bass guitar and smiling at each other.

As well as playing music in the car, when she is falling asleep and when we are eating dinner, we also involve her when we play our own instruments. She loves getting involved in a Jam session on a Sunday morning, grabbing her toy microphone and singing along to the kid's music, or singing along to her favourite jazz musicians. Music is so important to us, and I can honestly say that it has helped me through some very tough times. That's why we are so keen to share it with Elise.

Here are some main reasons why we share our love of music with her:

Introducing the "Wildest Dreams Book Box"

5 Jan 2018

I love a good subscription box, and I have tried quite a few in the past. Most of the boxes I have tried are full of geeky goodness, beauty or with a lifestyle theme. I've noticed some book boxes on the scene, but most of them are from America and can be expensive to ship over to the UK. The UK based ones are a bit out of my price range, and with the risk that I won't enjoy the book or goodies, I'm just not brave enough to take the leap and pay for them. My friend Zoe from nosaferplace found a gap in the market for a YA book box that wasn't super expensive, and offered some bookish goodies along with a newly released YA book. She created the "Wildest Dreams Book Box" which is just £18 including delivery. 

Wildest dreams logo. A light blue circle with a girl with blonde hair reading a purple book in the centre. There is a speech bubble that says "wildest dreams"



After opening sign ups for a trial box, which was released in December, the Wildest Dreams subscription officially launched in January, and the first box with the theme "Into the Jungle" will be shipping out at the end of January. I have an exclusive code to share with my readers, but you must be quick as the boxes for January are almost sold out. To get your own box, visit the Wildest Dreams Book Box website and enter "AMUNDANELIFE" to get the box for just £15 including postage. The offer runs between 4th-10th of January so you better hurry before you miss your chance.
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