Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Pregnancy Cravings!

Today I'd like to talk about pregnancy food cravings. You know, the ones that make you feel like if you don't get said item in your tummy now you just will not survive the next ten minutes. Please note: pregnant women can be quite dramatic!

Now when I'm not pregnant I'm a crisp kinda girl but as soon as I become pregnant I'm all about the sugar. Thank goodness I take good care of my teeth.

When I was pregnant with T, all those years ago, it was Wispas that I couldn't survive without. I remember hubby popping to our local late night convenience shop at about 11pm and bringing back five, yes FIVE, Wispas so that I'd have enough to last me the week. Bless his 'never had to contend with a pregnant woman before' socks. Those bad boys were all devoured in one sitting! Needless to say he never made that mistake again, in any of my subsequent pregnancies.

Three years later, when I was pregnant with N, I had the same desperate need for a Wispa but unfortunately it was during the time they had stopped making them so I had to go without. I can't promise that I didn't complain about this on a daily basis but I did make do with alternatives even if they were inferior in my eyes.

Fast-forward eight years to when I was pregnant with E. This time my pregnant sweet-tooth had turned to cupcakes  - I just couldn't get enough of the sugary, cakey loveliness!

So another two years have gone by and somehow I find myself pregnant again. Everything about this pregnancy has been different to the others so I suppose it's only right that my cravings have been different too! This time, instead of insanely craving one yummy item, I have a whole list of treats that I simply can't live without...

1. Peanut M&Ms

2. Cream tea (the scones must be warm and the clotted cream must be thick)

Cream Tea

3.Wheat Crunchies (only bacon flavour will do)

4. Costa decaff latte

5. Pastries (mainly the kind with chocolate but in reality any pastry will hit the spot)


It's quite amazing that I've never had a problem with gestational diabetes but, as I said before, things have been very different in this pregnancy and I go for my Glucose Tolerance Test in a few weeks time so we'll have to wait and see. These sugary treats may have to be a thing of the past!

What were your pregnancy cravings? I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Butterfly Dawn Blog Planner From Jera's Jamboree And GoodwinDZN

Planning is a vital part of running a blog of any kind and it's a subject that I've seen mentioned many times on social media. Everyone seems to have their own way of doing it but if you want to make life easy on yourself then the sensible solution is to buy a ready-made Blog Planner.

My lovely blogging friend Shaz from Jera's Jamboree has collaborated with the very talented GoodwinDZN to come up with a Blog Planner that not only looks great but covers a huge range of planning requirements for any type of blogger. 

FYI: Goodwin DZN is a graphic design business which has for the past four years designed graphics for indie musicians which includes all promotional material (logos, covers, posters, t-shirts etc) and pitches for a radio station in London.  

Introducing the Butterfly Dawn Planner...

Butterfly Dawn Planner

Shaz very kindly sent me a free download of the planner so I could see for myself how useful it can be and I have to say, they really have covered everything. It's useful for both my book blog and my family blog - it helps me feel in control! 

The best part for me is that you can print out the planner (and specific pages) again and again. Some pages you might even want to laminate and write on with a dry wipe pen so you can reuse them.

There are a few pages which are available as a free download (see below) and the full planner is available to download digitally for just £4! 

So what pages can you find in the Butterfly Dawn Planner?

Blog Mission Statement

Whether you are new to blogging or an experienced blogger, everyone needs to make plans for what you are hoping to achieve.  You will be able to keep your mission at the front of your planner to remind you of the message you want to share with your audience, whether you are on track with what you were hoping to learn and if your goals have stayed the same or changed.

Monthly Editorial Calendar

The place where you can see your month ahead at a glance and plan your posts.  Dates are blank for you to complete. Print out one for each month or laminate and use a dry wipe pen. 


Want to see your tasks for the week in one place?  Use the checklist for tasks and the day of the week they need to be completed by.

Daily To Do List

Prioritise your tasks with due deadlines and check whether the task is in progress.  Space for you to note anything you need to do before tomorrow.

Download this page for FREE here

Thought Shower

Use this blank mind map to capture those thoughts when you’re spending creative time planning for future content. Print out for each session or laminate and use a dry wipe pen.

Content Planner

Plan your content with requirements, notes and ideas, preparation and value to your readers.  Is this a collaborative post? Sponsored? Affiliate?  Deadlines, tags, and categories can be recorded.  At a glance you will be able to see where you are in the process of planning your content.

Archive Planner

Why would you need a record of your archives?  The Archive Planner has been included for those evergreen posts from your archives that with a little updating can be re-posted to a new audience.  On this page you will be able to record information such as the original date of the post, what you need to edit and why you are re-publishing.

Pitch List

Have you made pitches to brands?  Here’s where you will record the information, including the date you contacted the brand.

Weekly/Monthly/Annual Statistics

Whether you want to keep a track of your analytics (subscribers, page views, bounce rate, social media etc) on a weekly or monthly basis there is a page to complete for both.  From the start of the week/month to the end you will be able to track where you are towards your blog goals.  Most stats are already on this page but there are blanks for you to add your own.  Transfer your monthly statistics on to the annual page for an overview of the bigger picture.

Butterfly Dawn Planner

Twitter Monthly Statistics

Easy to complete, keep a record of your followers, tweets, impressions, profile visits, mentions and tweets linking to you. Use these statistics to make goals and achieve them.

Facebook Tracker

Running a campaign?  See at a glance the impact of your Facebook post.  How many likes, shares, comments and shares did the post you’re tracking receive?  What was the reach?  Use this to keep your goals on track.

Expenses and Earnings

In most planners you will find these basic accounting functions on separate pages but in this planner you can track your finances with a running total.  Record your earnings and expenses and you will be able to see at a glance the financial health of your blog.

Ads/Sponsors Tracker

Record on this page the start/end date of the ads on your blog as well as the revenue and if you have been paid.  You might not be accepting ads at the moment but you might consider it in the future. 

Affiliate Tracker

Keep a record of the affiliate programmes you have been accepted on and use when planning your content.

Giveaway Tracker (1)

The Giveaway Tracker records the purpose of a giveaway funded by you (ie; you may have a goal for increasing your Instagram followers and decide to use a giveaway for entrants to do this action to enter). Use the tracker to organise your giveaway with the title of your post, what you are giving away, start/end date as well as the details of the winner and more.

Giveaway Tracker (2)

This tracker organises your sponsored giveaways.  As well as recording information from the funded giveaway you have the option of adding the company, their website and contact.

Linky List

If you take part in linky’s regularly it can be hard to keep track on who you are going to link with and when.  Use this page to record the linky name/website, what day of the week and the host’s social media information.


Keep a record of your contacts in one place.

Download this page for FREE here


If your planner isn’t leaving your home then you might want to use this page for recording your passwords.  However, for security purposes, remember that it should be kept secured.  Only use it if you’re confident you are the only person with access to your blog planner.

There are also two specific pages just for us book bloggers...

Books To Read

The majority of book bloggers have huge towering ‘to be read’ piles.  Use this page to record the title, author, genre, publisher, source (did you purchase it? was it gifted? Is it a review copy?), is there a deadline? Date finished reading.  Use the tick box for adding to your schedule, when your review is drafted, when the review is scheduled and published and shared with social media.  Straightforward recording but it might save you from missing out that all important novel you should have been reading.

Download this page for FREE here

Butterfly Dawn Planner

Blog Tour Tracker

Blog Tours are usually booked up in advance so keep yourself organised with this simple recording page.  Note the date, publisher, PR contact.  Did you say you would review? Or host a guest post? Take part with a Q&A?  Use the tick box.  Write your notes and then use the tick box to record where you are in the process.

There are also two Yearly calendars (2016 and 2017) for those of you who want to see the year at a glance. 

If this design isn't quite your thing, never fear because there are plans for alternative designs in the future and they're happy to take suggestions so if you are a blogger with a niche and would like specific pages created for you, get in touch. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on the website.

Do you use a blog planner? Is the Butterfly Dawn Planner everything you've ever dreamed of as a blogger? I'd love to hear from you. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Personalised Goodies From I Just Love It

I love gifts and goodies that have been personalised, for me it makes an item so much more unique and special. It's usually this kind of thing that I find myself holding onto for years - I just can't part with them!

Along came the lovely people at who gave me the chance to try out some of their personalised products. I chose this gorgeous Earthenware Mixing Bowl (£24.99) and Wooden Spoon (£7.99), personalising them both appropriately with 'The V Family'.

The original plan was to do a Pancake Day blog post because these two items are just perfect for mixing up some pancakes. Unfortunately I was struck down with my worst case of pregnancy nausea to date and just the thought of making pancakes turned me green so that was a definite no-no.

Anyway back to the products...

The first thing I noticed was the personalisation - I love the font and the location of the words on the bowl. Obviously you would have your own words (unless you fancy thinking of my family every time you're baking) and this can be any message up to 40 characters.

Measuring 24cm in width, I've found that it's just the right size for my baking needs. Without sounding too much like goldilocks, it's not too big but not too small - it's just right!

The wooden spoon is the perfect accompaniment. I've had various wooden utensils that have felt really flimsy and ended up splitting quite quickly but here we have a nice sturdy spoon made from quality (and sustainably sourced) beech wood.

You can also have any message engraved on the spoon (only up to 20 characters for this item though) and it measures 30cm long.

I think these would make a great gift idea, especially if you know any Mary Berry/Paul Hollywood wannabes!

It's worth having a look at the I Just Love It website, particularly with Father's Day just around the corner because they have conveniently gathered loads of personalised gift ideas for this occasion all in one place and they offer free delivery if you order 3 or more items!

Our personalised mixing bowl and spoon are already a family favourite and, thanks to the quality, I have a feeling they'll be a V Family kitchen essential for a long time to come (I told you I just can't part with personalised items).

Have you shopped at I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Techbed And Techbed Mini Review

As a blogger and avid reader I spend a lot of time on my iPad, iPhone and Kindle. This has inevitably led to some wrist pain especially when using my rather old, heavy iPad. 

I've tried various cases and covers that are supposed to hold these devices in an upright position so I wouldn't have to hold them all the time but I've never come across one that holds it in the right position for me. Until now...

Techbed & Techbed Mini

Say hello to the Techbed and Techbed Mini from Edge Beanbags. Now I know these are neither cases nor covers but in my opinion they're even better because they hold my devices in the perfect position every time!

The Techbed is the larger of the two and costs £18.99. They are handmade in Berkshire, UK using luxury, top grade upholstery fabrics.


I've used the Techbed for all three of my devices, it sits perfectly on the arm of the sofa or on my lap so that I can use whichever one I need with ease (and no wrist pain)!


The Techbed Mini is a bit smaller and costs £13.99. As with the Techbed, they come in a variety of colours to suit everyones needs.

Techbed Mini

I've used this for N's iPad Mini, my Kindle and my iPhone. The large iPad would fit if you really needed it to but not quite as easily as it does on the Techbed.

Techbed Mini

I do a lot of my reading whilst in bed (once E is fast asleep) and I've found that both Techbeds sit beautifully on my baby bump. Also, because it's a beanbag I can get my Kindle in just the right position and the best part is that I don't wake up in the morning with aching wrists!

Techbed Mini

The Techbed Mini has the added advantage of a label at the back which can be used as a handy pen or glasses holder. For me a pen is useful because I write review notes while I'm reading.

Techbed Mini

Something I really love about these products is that they are washable. E managed to get my Techbed mucky when she got her hands on it but it wiped off easily with a trusty baby wipe (those things really do have so many uses). 

If, however, it gets too dirty to simply wipe clean then you can even wash it in the machine at 30°!

Techbed & Techbed Mini

Every now and then a product comes along that makes you wonder how on earth you lived without it - for me this is one of those products. It really has made such a difference to my day-to-day technology use.

I also think they make a great gift idea, especially with Father's Day coming up. I plan on ordering one for my dad who suffers with arthritis and spends quite a bit of time on his iPad Mini, this should really help.


Not only does the Edge Beanbags Website sell these fab little products, they also sell loads of different kinds of beanbags, including giant ones that would totally rock my children's world! I'd definitely recommend having a browse. 

Edge Beanbags

Do you already own a Techbed or Techbed Mini? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Wicked Mega Bounce XL Review

Now the weather is starting to improve the V Family have started spending more time outside in the garden. This means we've been dusting off our existing garden toys and thinking about new toys we might like to add to the collection.

Then we were given the opportunity to try out the 2016 London Toy Fair 'Outdoor Toy of the Year' and we knew it would make a great addition!

Meet the Wicked Mega Bounce XL...

Wicked Mega Bounce XL

It comes with a foot pump and an inflation guide tape so you know how big to blow it up. In no time at all we were ready for the fun to begin.

Wicked Mega Bounce XL

This ball is different from other giant balls we've tried because it feels so strong. I wasn't at all concerned about the kids giving it the rough treatment while they were playing with it.

Wicked Mega Bounce XL

The Mega Bounce certainly lived up to its name - it has fantastic bounce capabilities. N almost lost control of it here but managed to grab hold of it thanks to the grippy surface.

Wicked Mega Bounce XL

Trying to run upside down and keep the ball on their feet caused lots of laughter.

Wicked Mega Bounce XL

A simple game of catch was so much fun with the Wicked Mega Bounce XL, E gave it everything she had!

Wicked Mega Bounce XL

It also turned out to be a great piece of equipment to practice gymnastics on.

Wicked Mega Bounce XL

We've already had a lot of fun with this ball and I know that the fun will continue over the summer months. The big question is, who will win the 'who can bounce it highest' competition?! 

The Wicked Mega Bounce XL costs £20 from WickedMania and you can like WickedVision on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram.

Have you got a Wicked Mega Bounce XL? 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, 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


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!


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
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


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:


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.


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.


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!