Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Working Out The True Cost of Motoring

When we found out we were expecting baby number 4 we quickly realised we would have to change our 5 seater car for a bigger model. This inevitably led to the subject of money. We needed to find a bigger car which wouldn't break the bank to purchase it and also to keep it running throughout the year.

Motoring Costs

There are many costs involved with car ownership especially when you have a large family to run around. It can be difficult to figure out just how much your chosen car (or even your existing car) will cost you on a day-to-day basis. 

This is where the Car Cost Calculator from Motorparks comes in. The online tool is aimed at motorists looking to discover the running costs their current car is costing them, as well as drivers in the market for a new car but with a set budget in mind.

Motorparks Motoring Costs Calculator

According to the calculator our new car costs a total of around £5 per day to run and I have to admit that I thought it would be more!

Why not give it a go yourself, try the calculator and see how much your car is costing you. Make sure you come back to let me know if your result was as expected, much better or much worse.

This blog post was written in collaboration with Motorparks.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Shaving Your Legs And Other Not-So-Fun Parts of Pregnancy

Being pregnant is an amazing experience - the feeling of creating life inside you just can't be beat in my opinion. But it's not all fun and games, there are parts of pregnancy that make me wonder why on earth I'm doing it all again. For the fourth time, am I crazy?!?!?!

V Family Pregnancy 1-3

I'm not talking about the usual complaints - morning (or in my case, 24 hours a day) sickness, piles, aching feet, heartburn, peeing a hundred times a day, general feeling of largeness etc etc. It's the little things, the things that wouldn't normally be an issue but, because you're pregnant, have the ability to completely ruin your mood (which, lets face it, is a very delicate thing during pregnancy anyway).

Shaving your legs - this is one of my most recent irritations now that my bump is bigger. It's just so difficult to get down there and I won't even mention the areas that are no longer visible below my bump!

Picking up things from the floor - having a two-year-old, this is something I have to do on a daily basis. I'm sure it's quite funny to watch a pregnant lady attempt to pick up a toy from the floor but I can assure you it's not much fun. If you're standing up you usually lose your balance and end up toppling. If you're sitting down you have to edge forward, pretty much do the splits so your bump can fit between your legs before reaching out for the item and once again almost toppling. 

Dropping something in the footwell of the car is the worst place ever when you're pregnant, especially when it's the ticket to get out of the car park and you have a long line of impatient cars waiting behind you.

Getting in and out of the car in a tight space - I really wish there were pregnancy parking spaces! It's fine if E is with me because the mother and baby spaces (if there are any available) are the perfect size to get my bump in and out of. Standard parking spaces, however, are an absolute nightmare for a pregnant lady.

Eating at the table - this doesn't always have to be an issue if the table is high enough but when it isn't your bump totally gets in the way so you can't get close to your food. This inevitably means you end up spilling your food down your front and staining your new maternity t-shirt. Grrr.

People commenting on your size - I know that often people just don't know what else to say but constantly being told that you're "really big" or "weren't that big with the others" can be slightly detrimental to your self-confidence, particularly at a time when you're not feeling your best. A simple "when's it due" or "do you know what you're having" or, if you really want to make a pregnant lady smile, "you look great" works so much better.

These are just a few of the things that get on my nerves during pregnancy, I'm sure there are many more that I can't think of right now so if you'd like to add your own, feel free to leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Tuff-Luv Phone Case Review

Pretty much everyone has a mobile phone of some kind nowadays which means that phone cases and covers have become a must-have item. 

When I was asked if I'd like to try out an Alston Craig genuine leather iPhone case from Tuff-Luv Cases, I jumped at the chance. Let me tell you why...

Tuff-Luv Cases

ABOUT TUFF-LUV CASES

Tuff-Luv Cases is a UK-based designer which started in 2006. They manufacture stylish cases designed to offer Luv and Tuff protection to your favourite electronic devices and have grown and diversified to be able to offer a huge range of accessories. 

Whether you move to the beats on your MP3, can't put down the book on your Kindle e-reader or share your memories on your tablet, they can offer you more than just a case.

I would definitely recommend a browse through their website, they really do have everything covered!

MY THOUGHTS ON THE CASE I RECEIVED

Tuff-Luv Cases

The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the case was the quality. It felt like it was a case that would last instead of falling apart after just a couple of uses.

Included in the box was a screen protector and cloth, a nice touch I thought.

Tuff-Luv Cases

There are three card pockets and here lies my only issue with this case, I have stacks of cards and three spaces wasn't even enough for my most important ones. I was able to double up though and I guess it was nice not having to search through a wad of cards (yes, I'm one of those people who stands at the till for ages trying to find the right card).

The full length money wallet was a useful feature and the magnetic closure meant that I didn't struggle to close the case after I had used it - who has time to faff around with things that don't close easily!

Tuff-Luv Cases

My favourite part of this case has to be the RFID blocking lining. Now I admit that I had never heard of this before but apparently RFID skimming is a form of digital theft which enables information from RFID based smart cards to be read and duplicated. 

So to prevent this kind of information theft this case has a RFID mesh sewn into the interior lining, protecting your cards from any unwanted remote access. 

Security is very important to me so I think this is a fantastic feature.

Tuff-Luv Cases

Another feature that I particularly like is the removable magnetic mobile shell which fits my iPhone 6 perfectly and is so easy to remove and replace. The magnets inside the shell automatically align your phone with the case so, again, there is no faffing around trying to get it in the right spot.

I have to admit that I also use it to stick my phone to the fridge when I'm in the kitchen - I love listening to music when I cook but don't want to spill anything on my phone so now it is safely stuck to the fridge door while I get on with the cooking/boogieing!

Tuff-Luv Cases

This luxury hand-made case is a pleasure to use and even after a couple of months it still looks brand new - it's definitely a keeper for me. 

I received this product for review purposes. I am always honest in my reviews and all opinions are my own or that of my family.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

I'm Pregnant... Again!!!

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven't been around much recently. I'm here today to explain why - I'm expecting our fourth child in September! 

12 Week Scan

It's been a difficult few months with nausea 24 hours a day and some scary bleeding incidents. Add to that all the usual pregnancy ailments, throw in a crazy everyday life with three children (hubby has done as much as he possibly can but those bills won't get paid if he doesn't go to work so obviously he hasn't always been at home to help me) and I'm afraid something had to give - in this case, my online life.

So here I am at 20 weeks pregnant, finally feeling a bit more human and I find myself sitting at my computer. It feels like a stranger after such a long break. I look at the mountains of emails, tweets and comments and to be honest I feel a little overwhelmed. I plan on taking baby steps to get back into the swing of things so please bear with me while I find my feet again. Blog posts and replies may not happen on a regular basis but I promise I will get round to them when I can. 

I have a few reviews waiting to be typed up, firstly on Me, My Books and I:
  • Book review of Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
  • Book review of The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee
Secondly on V Family Fun:
  • Review of a mobile phone wallet from Tuff-Luv
  • Review of the Wicked Mega Bounce XL from Wicked Mania
  • Review of a personalised mixing bowl and wooden spoon from ijustloveit.co.uk
I'm hoping to get these posted over the next few weeks.

Now back to the pregnancy - we're all extremely excited and nervous at the same time. For me, this will be my fourth c-section and although I'm trying to put that part of it to the back of my mind, it's difficult not to think about it. This is also the smallest gap between our children with E being just 2 years old so that will be a new challenge for us. 

I plan on writing some blog posts exploring our experiences with this pregnancy further so watch this space.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has had the same or similar experiences so feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, 8 February 2016

V Family Fun is 1 Today!

Blog Birthday

I can't quite believe that I've been blogging away on V Family Fun for a whole year!

As some of you already know, I started blogging around 4 years ago on Me, My Books and I. Obviously this was purely for all book related things and when E came along in 2014 I struggled to keep up with it so I had a bit of a break. I missed it though, I missed the community and I missed the creativity. Soon the idea for V Family Fun was born and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have learnt so much this year and I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me along the way - readers, brands, bloggers, PRs and most of all my family who have put up with endless photo sessions, requests for opinions and my blogging marathons.

My blogging life is lots of fun and has become so important to me over the years - I have made some fantastic friends (you know who you are) and had the chance to work with some amazing brands, all from the comfort of my own home!

As for the year ahead, I'd like to continue to grow and improve my blogging skills on both V Family Fun and Me, My Books and I. 

Now for the giveaways...

Blog Birthday Giveaways

GIVEAWAY NO.1

The first giveaway has been sponsored by RV Maintenance Ltd

RV Maintenance Ltd

This is actually my husband's company so obviously I think it's brilliant! He offers very fair prices and is more than happy to give advice so if you live in or around Hampshire and you need any kind of fencing, tree or hedge work then get in touch.

Hubby is kindly offering one lucky V Family Fun reader the chance to win a £10 Amazon e-voucher!

Amazon e-voucher

This is a UK only giveaway, simply follow the instructions below to enter:


GIVEAWAY NO.2

The second giveaway has been sponsored by Valley Mill.

Valley Mill

Valley Mill are manufacturers of Welsh slate homeware, house signs, personalised gifts, soy candles and natural soap. They also stock Welsh-made food & drink, home & giftware. Regular readers will already know that I'm a big fan after trying out some of their gorgeous hand made soaps and soy wax melts (reviews here).

So on to the prize, Valley Mill are kindly offering one lucky V Family fun reader the chance to win a pack of wax melts and two bars of soap!

Valley Mill Prize

This is a UK only giveaway and the prize will be sent directly from Valley Mill (please note, the fragrances shown above may be different to the fragrances the winner will actually receive). 

Simply follow the instructions below to enter.


GIVEAWAY NO.3

The third giveaway has been sponsored by yours truly, V Family Fun.

You must know by now that I love stationery so I just had to include a notebook in my blog birthday giveaway for one lucky reader to enjoy!

V Family Fun Prize

This is an international giveaway, simply follow the instructions below to enter.


GIVEAWAY NO.4

The fourth giveaway is also from V Family Fun.

With such a big family, I wrap a lot of gifts and this little gadget has made the job so much easier for me over the years. So now I'm giving you the chance to win one!

V Family Fun Prize

This is a UK only giveaway, simply follow the instructions below to enter.

Good luck from the V Family!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Decorating Our Future Home

If you're a regular V Family Fun reader, you'll know that we're planning on moving house as soon as we can.

We've already been decorating our current house so it's in a good condition to sell but I've also been thinking about decorating our new house. I know, I just can't help myself! I have a very clear image of how I would like the new house to look so planning is essential.

Decorating is not just about painting the walls and covering the floor but also the little finishing touches that can completely change the atmosphere, turning your house into a home.

I would like our house to look cosy, homely and inviting - warm colours on the walls, soft carpets, gentle lighting, beautiful scented candles and stylish photo frames filled with family photos. For me, all these things combine to create a comfortable, welcoming feeling.

Tina Bucknall Scented Candles : Accessories & decoration by Tina Bucknall

With E being so young I need somewhere out of reach to keep my candles and this is where shelving comes into play. My absolute favourite kind of shelves are the floating kind because they look so much sharper on the wall and they save space too, bonus!

There are some brilliant examples of floating shelves on Homify which I'd like to share with you:

Firstly, I think candles look fantastic in these cube style shelves, you can create so many different designs and shapes depending on the room you're putting them in. My idea is to have three spaced out on a wall with one gorgeous candle in each, it'll make a great feature.

sudbrock nexus. modulare Möbel : Cupboards & sideboards by nexus product design

Next up are these fun glowing shelves which, I think, would make a great centrepiece for the children's bedrooms. They already have lava lamps and plasma balls so a shelf like this would carry on the bright theme brilliantly. I can also see them in a games room, man cave or home bar - we're thinking big here people.

Półka Led RGB : Shelves by Visual Design

Moving on to the bathroom, these shelves are stylish but practical too and here's the most interesting part - they're made from solid wood planks from the Panama river bed and inlaid porcelain tiles. I'd be dragging people into my bathroom just to tell them this story!

Bathroom floating shelves , : Shelves by woodstylelondon

For those of you who don't already know, Homify is an online companion for architecture, design and construction. If you're looking for ideas for your home then I'd definitely recommend a browse, it's given me so many inspirational ideas which, in true Mummy V style, I've been jotting down in my notebook and hoping to implement somewhere in our future home.

Homify

Do you have any home improvements planned for 2016? What are your thoughts on floating shelves? I would love to hear from you.

This post was written in collaboration with Homify.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Shopping For Your Baby

What should you buy for your baby and where should you get it? These are a couple of things I've been discussing with my brother and his wife after their recent announcement - they're expecting their first child this year!

Personally I like being able to shop for everything in one place. When you're pregnant, the very last thing you want to do is traipse round a hundred shops to find the products you need so it makes sense to stick to one fab shop that sells everything. It's even better if that shop is also online so you can shop with your aching feet up and a warm drink in hand (or perhaps a bar of chocolate or lump of coal depending on what your cravings are).

BabyThingz is one of those fab shops. Their newly refurbished retail shop is in Newcastle Upon Tyne - unfortunately not within our reach but if you're nearby then pop in for a browse. If, like us, you live further away then a quick click on their website takes you to a world of baby products that you can peruse at your leisure from the comfort of your own home. They also offer free delivery for orders over £50!

BabyThingz

They have a lovely selection of nursing pillows available. The nursing pillow I had for E was very similar to this one, I just love the bright colours. 

I've recommended the use of a nursing pillow to my brother and his wife because they're useful for so many things - support for mum during pregnancy, feeding baby, an extra support when older siblings/relations are holding little one and also as a support for that 'learning to sit up' stage.
BabyThingz
Image sourced from BabyThingz
A good footmuff/cosytoes is also essential when baby is ready to move out of it's pram. Seeing as my new niece/nephew is likely to be moving on from that stage during winter, it's something I've recommended they consider when choosing their pram. 

E still uses hers when it's particularly cold to keep her little legs and toes warm (if only I could sit in there with her).

I've always been a fan of the cute blue nose bear so I kind of fell in love with this Tatty Teddy footmuff. You would need to make sure it fits the kind of stroller you have (although it does state that it's suitable for most strollers with a 5 point harness). Another bonus in my opinion is the colour - always go for darker colours people, they hide a multitude of baby/toddler sins!
BabyThingz
Image sourced from BabyThingz

Now I know a baby walker is not an item my brother and his wife really need to be thinking about just yet but I've always enjoyed shopping for these so I couldn't resist. The biggest problem is choosing just one because there are so many fun walkers available!

The only piece of advice I could give them was to look for one with a removable play tray because it helps with cleaning. This jungle walker looks fab, fun and bright.

BabyThingz
Image sourced from BabyThingz

Obviously I've only just scratched the surface on the world of shopping for baby but I hope my words of advice on the above products will be of some use to my brother, his wife and anyone else reading this who is preparing for the birth of their first child.

Are you expecting your first child? Have you visited BabyThingz? I'd love to hear from you.

This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own or that of my family.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Introducing Box of Wax!

Today I'm talking about one of my addictions - I'd like to introduce a fantastic new subscription box for people just like me (I know there's a lot of you out there) who are crazy about scented candles and wax melts.

It's called Box of Wax and, as the name tells you, it's a fabulous box full of waxy loveliness for you to enjoy.

When my bronze box arrived I couldn't wait to find out what was inside and as soon as I lifted the lid I was hit with a variety of gorgeous scents. I just have to say how much I loved the presentation even at this point, it gave me the impression that the box had been packed with care and attention.

Box of Wax

I think I was probably worse than a kid at Christmas when I got to the actual candles, lets just say there were plenty of 'oooohs' and 'ahhhhs' involved! 

The sparkly gems that were sprinkled throughout the box was an excellent touch - N quickly nabbed most of them for her collection of sparkles but I managed to hold onto a few for the photographs.

Box of Wax

What I love most about this box is the variety - the mixture of candles and wax melts and even a car scenter made this a very special package indeed. I discovered some new brands and tried scents that I haven't tried before.

So what exactly was in the box? Take a look:

Cleave's Vicks scented soy wax melts - what a fantastic idea! These will be great for the next round of coughs and colds in our house.

Box of Wax

Village Candle lemon pound cake scented candle - this is already a favourite of ours so I was thrilled to see this included.

Box of Wax

Vix Wix wax melts - I'm not actually sure which scent this is but it gave off a nice fresh scent when burning.

Box of Wax

Village Candle vanilla caramel swirl scented candle - this is a new fragrance for me but it sounds yummy and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Box of Wax

Classic Candle Company ocean splash scented candle - I loved the clean, fresh aroma that this candle produced and it burned for ages!

Box of Wax

Kringle slate scented wax melts - I've never actually tried a Kringle before but I was very impressed, the fragrance was wonderful and not at all overpowering.

Box of Wax

Village Candle blueberry muffin scented candle - I always love candles that smell of food so this was another hit.

Box of Wax

Kringle pink grapefruit scented candle - this was beautifully uplifting, it was definitely one of my favourites from the box.

Box of Wax

Village Candle rosemary lavender car scenter - this was a lovely addition. I'm always on the lookout for new fragrances for our car and this has been great.

Box of Wax

Finally is the Village Candle warm apple pie scented wax melts - what can I say? Even the image on the packaging is enticing. I hadn't tried this scent before but I definitely will be using it again, yummy! What was I saying about food...

Box of Wax

So there you have it, my Box of Wax!

Now let me tell you about the subscription options:

THE BRONZE BOX (THE BOX I RECEIVED)

For those of you new to wax! Lots of melts and candles to get you started. Receive £20 worth of wonderful wax (an extra £5 of free wax). A £1.99 additional P&P applies. Total monthly cost: £16.99.

THE SILVER BOX

For those of you wanting a bit more than bronze. Melts, candles and the occasional accessory! Your box will be full of waxy goodies worth £30 (an extra £5 of free wax). A P&P cost of £1.99 will apply. Total monthly cost: £26.99.

THE GOLD BOX

For those who need a big monthly fix! An abundance of melts and candles to keep you happy! Your box will be full of waxy goodies worth £40 (an extra £5 of free wax). Free postage. Total monthly cost: £35.

THE PLATINUM BOX

For the serious and hardcore wax addict! Melts, candles, accessories and more! Receive £50 worth of wax (£5 extra free wax). Free postage. Total monthly cost: £45.

Box of Wax will email you when you sign up to ask if you have any dislikes (for example you might not like floral fragrances) and you can change your subscription level or cancel at any time.

CONNECT WITH BOX OF WAX

Box of Wax


Are you a candle/wax melt fanatic? What do you think of Box of Wax? I'd love to hear from you.

I received these products for review purposes. I am always honest in my reviews and all opinions are my own or that of my family.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Wicked Sky Spinner Review

Every now and then a product comes along that pleases all three of our children despite the difference in age. The Wicked Sky Spinner is one of those products.

Wicked Sky Spinner

The recommended age is 8+ so obviously E is too young to be able to enjoy the full features but she still had lots of fun throwing it about and running after it!

Speaking of features, let me share some with you:
  • Perform mind blowing tricks and stunts with a flick of the wrist
  • Reaches over 500 revs per minute
  • Perfectly balanced for a faster spin
  • Ridged power crank for maximum control
  • Available in red, blue and yellow

T and N's iPads and games controllers were put to one side while they attempted all kinds of tricks with it. The ingenious design meant that it was actually quite easy to achieve some rather fancy-looking spins and tricks right from the start. Inside the packaging were tips on how to get started and ideas for tricks you can perform.

Wicked Sky Spinner

We did use it indoors (very carefully) but the best tricks were achieved outside where they had more space to move around. As they became more confident they tried even trickier manoeuvres, some successful, some not so successful.

Wicked Sky Spinner

The following video shows you some of the fun tricks you can achieve with the Wicked Sky Spinner:


It may look like a simple toy but it's provided a lot of fun for all of us (yes, of course hubby and I had to have a go and no, we weren't competitive at all ha ha)!

It costs £10 from WickedMania and you can like WickedVision on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Have you got a Wicked Sky Spinner? Do you think your children would like it? I'd love to hear from you.

I received this product for review purposes. I am always honest in my reviews and all opinions are my own or that of my family.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

N's Shopping Trip

For Christmas, N was lucky enough to receive quite a lot of cash. She's a very sensible girl and doesn't spend her money unless she really needs to (why buy something if mum and dad will buy it for you)!

She's becoming a mini-fashionista right before my eyes and recently decided she wanted to go and buy some clothes with her own money. Once I picked myself up off the floor we headed to our nearest shopping centre for a girly shopping trip.

Here's what she bought:

We don't often see the white chocolate version of these so she couldn't resist buying a box while we were in Waitrose.

Lindt Lindor

N really loves the kids clothes in M&S so of course we had to pay them a visit. She bought a lovely warm cardigan which is super soft to touch and a cute little dress.

Marks & Spencer Kids Clothes

She also bought some denim shorts from M&S which, for now, she will team with either tights or leggings so she can wear them in this cold weather. I love the little star patches on the front.

M&S Kids Denim Shorts

Earrings are something that N is always drawn to and Claire's Accessories is one of her favourite places to buy them. These cute turtles will make a fab addition to her collection.

Claire's Accessories Earrings

The next stop was New Look where she bought some black leggings. She's planning on using one pair to keep her legs warm while she plays netball at school.

New Look Leggings

Finally we ended up in Lush (oh I love how wonderful those shops smell) and, after a long browse, she bought two bath bombs. N is very much like me where bath products are concerned - absolutely addicted!

Lush Bath Bombs

We had a lovely mother/daughter shopping trip and N came home more than happy with her purchases. She didn't spend all of her money so perhaps we'll have another shopping trip soon.

Do you enjoy shopping trips with your children? I'd love to hear from you.