Peppa Pig Party Bags and Supplies Review*

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I’ve always enjoyed event planning big or small and although there are for guaranteed times that you want to pull your hair out, I love seeing people come together and having a good time.  Now in the case of birthday parties for the little humans in your lives buying all the bits and bobs can take over your life for the weeks in advance of the special day.  After all you want it to be perfect.  I was asked by the team at Party Bags & Supplies whether I would like to review a party pack and because I love parties the answer was naturally yes!

As soon as I clicked on the link I quickly realised that there was a variety of options to impress the party goers. Take a look here to see what I mean.

Who hasn’t heard of Peppa Pig? Jay is fan and so am I so this was my choice of pack and I quickly received the delivery from the point of order. I was super excited to open the box and see what was inside. The pack retails at £28.00 and includes the following:

  • Plates x 8
  • Cups x 8
  • A wipe clean table cover
  • Napkins x 16
  • Pre-filled Peppa Pig party bags x 8
  • Peppa Pig Party Bag Sticker Sheet (paper stickers), 1 x Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Chocolate Bar, 1 x Giggle Stick and 1 x Ice Cream Popper Party Bag Toy. Age 3+.

 

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If you are in charge of planning a party I would definitely recommend you check out the items on Party Packs and Supplies on Facebook and Twitter as there may be offers you can take advantage of. In fact with a milestone birthday coming up for moi I will be ordering from here for sure.  The choice of accessories for all parties young and old is fantastic. Thank you Party Bags & Supplies.

Thanks for reading!

Bella

~X~

 

Live in the Present

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Recently I’ve been thinking about how important it is to ‘live in the moment’.  So many things are rushed and forgotten. days, weeks, months pass us by and before you know it we are seeing in the new year with a glass or two of bubbles. Enjoying our present moments may seem like something that should happen naturally and require no effort, but in fact it’s often quite difficult.

My brain is in perpetual motion at 110mph most days and as someone who likes to plan ahead this state of enjoying the moment can be quite tricky to do.   I am full aware that each day should count and to focus on the present which for me is my family and of course ‘me’ the engine room of the family (well I think I am). I love my new job working as a sponsored vlogger for Channel Mum which has been a breath of fresh air for me and keeps my mind ticking.

Recently we spent a Saturday afternoon with lovely friends at a pub garden in Kingston along the river bank. Due to crazy Surrey traffic we opted for a bus  ride there.  Our journey which happened to be Jay’s first bus ride ever took us past the hospital where he started his life.  I wasn’t feeling great that day hence no photos of my face were necessary (even the industrial strength concealer had given up).

A week of self inflicted tiredness caused by watching too much catch up tv past my bedtime had finally caught up with me I blame all the fabulous British dramas. My usual bed time is 9.30pm. Even my parents laugh at my need to go to bed early. Try looking after a 26 months old fire rocket alone all day folks!

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We left the stroller at home (probably not the best decision as it started to rain and was cold) AND there was a lot of walking and carrying for all concerned. Young Jay however seemed to enjoy the sights and sounds of his mini adventure.  It was nice to literally cross paths with our friends who were also walking up and we enjoyed a fun afternoon of chat and laughter while the children played. Jay being the youngest was looked after well. I had a hot meal and a hot drink which is always a bonus while the little man was given lots of attention by our friends. I will remember that afternoon as it was nice to sit chat and laugh whilst enjoying a cheeky glass of white taking in the surroundings around me. We all enjoyed scummy hot chocolates before heading back home. I will remember that afternoon because I stopped for a couple of hours and just went with the flow.

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So how do you savour the present? for starters in my case it’s turning off the TV, phone (really hard to do) and step away from the laptop. It’s noticing the World around you.  I am by nature a visual thinker, I observe and take in detail and I do try and see beauty in all things. Sometimes doing the simple little things like eating your favourite food, looking at clouds in the sky or sharing a joke can make a difference to you or to someone else. I’m currently enjoying the wonderful celebrations of my home town football team Leicester City the 5000-1 under dogs winning the English Premier League. I feel incredibly proud of my home city and it was an added bonus winning a bet that I put on a few months ago. Just for the record I’m not a millionairess.

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Have you heard of RAKS? Random acts of kindness.  They are spontaneous, in the moment and a great addition to daily life. I still remember the day a complete stranger ran up to me while I was walking to the station in torrential rain wearing my work suit minus umbrella. The lady shared the umbrella cover  for about 10 mins and I never saw her again. I did say thanks of course but I thought that was really nice. A few weeks ago I purchased a warm blanket for a homeless man I see sometimes sitting in the doorway of  shop. His face lit up and that really made me appreciate what I have and it felt good knowing I’d made a small difference.

One of the easiest lessons for how to live in the moment is to do something for someone else without expecting anything in return.   Every now and then, remember to stop and take stock of just how good you have it. When your friend makes you smile, thank him or her for being in your life and really mean it. Live in the moment by expressing your gratitude when you feel it. I’m fortunate to have wonderful friends who I may not see often but I value in my life and let them know it.

Wedding of Bella Patel to Mark Matten at Brooksby Hall, Brooksby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire on 28th August 2010. Photograph by Martin Neeves Photography - www.martinneeves.com - Tel: 01455 271849 / 07973 638591 - E-mail: mail@martinneeves.com

Worry has never accomplished anything for anybody and yet it can really interfere with good intentions.  My anxiety levels have gone through the roof since becoming a mother. My mum was right when during a spat she said “you won’t know the meaning of worry until you have a child” . She is someone who takes each day as it comes and actually does live in the present and tries to think of solutions to problems and worries.  I do find it hard to redirect mental energy elsewhere when stress hits the fan. If you’re not happy change the circumstances instead of complaining, life is quite short when you really think about it and often it’s better to get on and work on problem solving.  This week would have been the week that Mr M and Jay and I would have welcomed a new additional family member but it was not meant to be. I can’t feel too sorry for myself as I know that life is pretty good in the grand scheme of things and I’m forever thankful that by some miracle I have my little boy whom I love unconditionally.

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I have been dipping into this book after hearing Rohan give a presentation on mindfulness. With so much happening in this fast paced society we live in I do view life a little differently and want to make sure I do enjoy each day wherever possible!

Living in the moment means letting go of the past and trusting in the future.

Time doesn’t wait for anyone.

We owe it to ourselves to make every moment count – Life is happening now.

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

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Win Free Swimming Lessons at Fusion

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Leisure charity Fusion Lifestyle has uncovered the top reasons why one in five adults are unable to swim, and shockingly it’s all about body image.

Almost one in ten adults admitted they preferred to stay on dry land rather than be seen in a swimming costume. With body image impacting young Brits more than ever before, Fusion is now taking action to encourage non-swimming adults and the 50 per cent of all primary school children who are still unable to swim unaided back into the pool.

Whilst unsurprisingly, fear of water and drowning is the primary reason given by 20 per cent of non-swimmers, 15 per cent of non-swimmers blamed not learning to swim as a child for their lack of swimming skills whilst even more surprisingly, more than 12 per cent stated they can’t swim because they don’t want the hassle of getting changed and washing their hair!

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In a bid to get more people swimming confidently, Fusion has introduced a “robes welcome” policy poolside and has made a free pass available, allowing potential swimmers to bring a friend for free.

Not only this, but Fusion is offering one lucky Along Came Jay reader six one-on-one swimming lessons (worth £180) with an expert. This will allow the chance to conquer any fears for good, take the plunge and never look back.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is enter the simple rafflecopter by answering the question.

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Good luck!

Click for more details on Adult Swimming

25 Months

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It’s quite fascinating to see the changes in a toddler’s development month by month. But quite frequently I go back to remembering my son as a newborn holding him during the night feeds for 2 sometimes 3 hours and waiting for him to throw up as he did pretty much with the reflux misery we endured daily. I also remember the nicer times where he would just look into my eyes with his body in a white sleep suit  and I would sit wondering what was going on inside his baby mind. Those days nights and months have rolled on and now at 25 months my Jay bird is a young boy following me everywhere and calling me “The Mummy” constantly reminding me how much I am needed and loved.
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We sure have a chatterbox on our hands with lots of cute mistakes! you may have heard of the gorgeous little book Foxes Socks which I actually now know word for word.  Jay hasn’t quite mastered the word Foxes but let’s just say he does try even though it does sound like the ‘F’ word!  It’s lovely to see him try to talk to us connecting words and now that he has an understanding of certain commands like “Please can you get your shoes and coat” and “Let’s put ALL of your toys away” (well that one is work in progress) it does get slightly easier with that help. He’s a huge fan of colours, shapes and numbers and likes going through the alphabet with me. He sometimes pronounces ‘Z’ the American way so I have to shake my fist at YouTube and search for the UK Alphabet versions. As he isn’t in nursery I make sure we spend time in the day on activities that will encourage him to learn.  We go to the library twice a week and I think the weekly nursery rhyme classes there have really helped him as I can often hear him singing at home while he is playing.
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Toddlers my goodness do they have an abundance of energy.  But when your son eats like a bird I really don’t know where all of his energy comes from. His relationship with food has improved slightly but he’s still not much of a foodie which is a daily struggle but I’m much better at handling it than previously. May be it will change in the years to come and he will have a huge appetite like his father (and mother) or I might be stuck on the same record! He has grown in height and is currently 90cm very much slimline.  So Speedy Jay Gonzalez certainly keeps me on my running toes and has been doing this for months now. He is fast like really fast not always good when he decides to run off in the park as I’m left with his toddler carriage and bags to catch him and he thinks we are playing. Recently he did a great escape which resulted in me falling in a muddy field highly embarrassing for “The Mummy” especially when she left the water wipes at home and had an army paint look about my face with all but one tiny tissue.  I definitely got some weird looks as I walked home. But for Jay it was all very funny.  At home daily we have music playing on from all sorts of genres.  Fridays we go into Club mode.  Dancing is something he enjoys and he fortunately for me he loves listening to the same music as mummy (Progressive Trance mainly). I can see a potential Ibiza raver in him!
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I read that toddlers sleep an average of twelve hours a day at this age, give or take a few hours and are likely to have a one to two-hour nap each afternoon which is the current order of events. He doesn’t nap beyond 2.30pm and I find he tends to go to sleep by 8pm until 7am.  I say that but we still have some nights when it all goes a bit Pete Tong.  That’s where my MAC Pro Longwear concealer comes to rescue me in the morning. We haven’t yet made the transition from cot to big kid’s bed because I still feel he isn’t ready. But on another topic I have purchased a toilet trainer seat for Jay instead of the potty.  I’m wondering whether I’d be better off waiting until the weather is warmer before we commence the next stage of training as the start of much more cleaning which is inevitable.

unnamed-23Currently household appliances seem to be providing much entertainment for my 25 month old so I’ve had to think of the kiddy versions.  The children’s Dyson ball upright and a washing machine both made by Casdon are his favourite toys. I’m hoping the novelty won’t wear off but chances are they will. He has a toy iron and I might just get him an ironing board and train him up. I find his love for painting continues. Must admit I’m a bit over it now but it’s a daily activity.  He’s all smiles when the paint set comes out while the beige carpet looks up in terror.

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The other day I imagined what he would look like in adult life in his 20s and 30s, would he be wearing a shirt suit and tie to work or in a profession wearing a uniform or an actor perhaps as he’s pretty good at creating dramas already. It seems a long way away but here we are in April 2016 and it only feels like yesterday when I watched the London New Year’s Eve celebrations on TV which was by far my favourite fireworks display so far!

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I swear he was laughing 5 mins ago…

The terrible twos are in full swing and I am trying not to lose it when things spiral out of control. I’ve said this before but I consider myself to be a gentle and patient human being but I’ve really had to grow more patience as some days my little human acts like he’s possessed. No offence Jay!  I know he is at an age where he wants to assert his independence and doesn’t always like being told what to do.  I’ve had to be calm whilst I carry him out of places kicking and screaming. He’s  still a young little thing so I don’t like raising my voice at him, it doesn’t suit me.   I’m amazed how much he understands and I know this is all part of growing up.

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One things for sure l never get really lonely these days with my 25 month old keeping me company. He chatters away and seeks to engage my attention whenever he can. He helps me with the laundry. Rearranges my cupboards and then some more, he loves his kale crisps and does an on the spot dance when he sees me rustling the crisps in a bowl. He takes my hand and holds onto my fingers tightly when we head out for our daily walk. His last two back molars are cutting through so he has wanted extra cuddles.  I do relish this moments as one day it won’t be the same.

Through a particularly difficult month on a personal level I told myself to be grateful for the life I have and the one I helped to create.

Thanks for reading!

Bella

~X~

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Channel Mum|Pan Macmillan Easter Afternoon Tea

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Channel Mum kindly invited lots of mummies and their little humans to an Easter Vlogger event with award winning publisher Pan Macmillan. Another treat came by way of a delicious afternoon tea from the fabulous London Pop up Little Nan’s (best scones ever!). It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful the atmosphere is from start to finish at Channel Mum events.  As I am a newbie to the Vlogging World I also had the opportunity to meet with Spirit who are experts in the field of digital media. Vloggers are fast becoming invaluable media tools for leading brands. Not only do they gain a large-scale reach and appeal to demographics which traditional media may not engage, they also build direct relationships with followers and have a more specialised interest.

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As I do follow this Digi generation I find it fascinating seeing so many successful parent vloggers showcasing creative ideas and sharing their knowledge.  I picked up some useful pointers from talking to Spirit like getting to know your camera, experimenting and changing the aperture for instance and recognising the effects different apertures will have on the end-result image. Well there’s a lot more to it of course all part of the learning curve.

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That afternoon at The Driver in London we walked into a beautiful setting of pretty decorated tables.  We all had the opportunity to check out some fabulous books from the wonderful Macmillan Kids range who I have t0 thank also for spoiling us with delightful goodie bags.  Jay couldn’t wait to grab the books out of my hands when I returned home that evening.

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I would have liked to have brought him with me to mingle too but decided against it due to the super early start travelling with the cheerful London Commuters.  Instead he spent the day out and about with his grandparents and didn’t miss me at all. The Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler books are incredibly popular at Along Came Jay HQ so these have been a real treat to read to Jay.

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Thankfully the sun shined all day which is sadly not the case now as I type this. In true British style it will be a wash-out Easter weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Bella

~X~