Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year



Wishing all my readers old and new a happy New Years Eve, its been a strange year for me, loss of my Mum, this is recent, raw and still unbelievable that she became so ill.

Also we said goodbye to our  home as I made the decision along with Chris to give it up and concentrate on being with Granny properly and living on a wing and a prayer. Not sure what the future will hold, but the blessing of being with her will always be holding us in years to come.

Paige going to uni has been a tough at times change, but we are all getting used to it and I am so proud of her.

Conor has had a good end to the year after a shaky start. He has a job and is happier with our life here.

I have gained some real true friends and family members have come to my side to support me. Some have left, my life is tricky and I am not as able to be there for people who have leaned on me for years, that is a sad loss, but it does happen.

My total triumph this year is making Granny happy, warm, loved and cared for. I have found it tiring...actually drop dead exhausting, my time is not my own, Chris and I have little time together, but we do not regret lifting another person up before us. 

I have kept my blog so that is a gain, its not as busy and bustling as it has been in years past, I just have more to do now and its hard to give it attention. I intend to keep on trying as I love the interaction with so many people who take time to comment.

It nearly was lost but many blogging friends have rallied round with words of encouragement.

Making bread in a slow cooker was a highlight blogging moment, the post went around the world and that was a real surprise.

I have worked with some lovely brands and also with some lovely PR companies who have been supportive as well.

So here is to another year of blogging, cooking and finding lovely giveaways and new products.

I hope you have a lovely end to 2013 and that the new year is a peaceful and happy one.




Monday, 16 December 2013

The real impact of children’s colds and a Giveaway



If you have winter colds especially if your children do, read on for what it does to family relationships, then soothe your own nerves with a lovely giveaway from Olbas and Jakemans.

I'm still plagued with my big childrens colds, I think that Mummy ear never quite goes. I am a light sleeper and if Paige or Conor (often as twins its both together) have colds I tend to wake, I sleep fitfully as they do, bunged up and feeling poorly.

The survey below shows the effect of colds on family's and the grumpy factor is one I can see shining through. Lack of sleep makes for overtired people and nerves are way shorter. I have to praise Chris, he sleeps like a log and a hurricane could pass his ear and he mayy not stir, but one word from me and he would and will get up and help out!



Bedtime barometer – the real impact of children’s colds

  • Two thirds of mums kept awake by their children’s colds
  • Dads revealed as sleep martyrs and late-night drivers
  • Half of parents argue because of their children’s colds
The true cost of children’s colds on parents has been revealed – with mums bearing the brunt of the resulting sleep deprivation and dads literally driving round the bend.
Parents lose almost 150 minutes (two-and a-half-hours) of sleep a night for three nights running on average when their children have a simple snuffle, with mums more than twice as likely to have a disturbed night, according to a survey of 2,000 UK parents for infant decongestant Olbas for Children.
But in the tussle for who gets a good night’s kip the male/female splits reveal dads believe their sleep is significantly more affected than mums give them credit for (37% v 22%). Yet five times more men than women (10% v 2%) claimed that no-one in the house suffered a disturbed night’s sleep as a result of their children’s cold.  
Overall, 67% of parents said it is mum who is kept awake worrying about or dealing with the sniffs and snuffles. The knock-on effect results in 40% of parents taking two or more days off work each year due to basic tiredness while 42% of those surveyed admitted that a disturbed night’s sleep due to their children’s colds caused them to argue with their partner.
Olbas for Children’s spokesperson Hilary Lynn said: “Children have small air passages so even a minor blockage when suffering from a cold can affect their breathing pattern and ultimately disrupt not just their sleep, but their parents.”
“As every parent knows, sleep is already in short supply so anything that helps your child sleep soundly can help everyone get a better night’s sleep, leaving parents able to enjoy the daytime rather than having to miss out on playtime with their children or social and work events due to tiredness.”
Children are more susceptible to colds than adults and can suffer up to 10 a year. On average a child’s cold lasts for three days and three broken nights according to the survey with one in 10 households finding that everyone in the home is affected and the average adult losing two-and-a-half hours sleep a night.
For children aged three months to three years, 38% of parents use a mild decongestant such as Olbas for Children to restore peaceful nights, rising to 42% for children aged three to seven years old, according to the survey.
But many said they resort to other, more time-consuming, tactics – with dads in particular taking a hands-on approach. More than a third (35%) of men reported walking around the house rocking their child while one in five (20%) took them on a drive to try and get them to sleep.
Mums are nearly twice as likely to bring children under three into the parents’ bed than dads (30% v 17%) and are more likely to read their poorly child a story (34% v 28%) but mums and dads are on the same hymn sheet when it came to singing with 15% of both men and women resorting to song to soothe their little loved one.
According to The Sleep Council, just one hour less of sleep a night can cause considerable memory and concentration problems in young babies and children, as well as slowing down the recovery process from a cold or flu.  And sleep also plays a crucial role for the rest of the family, in keeping common colds and flu at bay.
Olbas for Children’s Bedtime Barometer Survey – Results Breakdown*
*Participants in the survey were shown a list to select all the answers that applied to them (rather than picking one option exclusively).
Top five effects on parents of disturbed sleep as a result of their children’s colds:
  1. Argue with partner 42%
  2. Too tired to complete housework 36%
  3. Succumb to illness 28%
  4. Too tired to see friends 26%
  5. Exercise falls by the wayside 21%
Top five techniques used to help relieve colds of children (3 months to 3 years)
  1. Use a mild decongestant 38%
  2. Walk around the house rocking them 32%
  3. Create a steamy environment to help inhalation 29%
  4. Read them a story 26%
  5. Let them sleep in your bed 26%
Top five techniques used to help relieve colds of children (3 – 7 years)
  1. Use a mild decongestant 42%
  2. Read them a story 32%
  3. Let them sleep in your bed 30%
  4. Create a steamy environment to help inhalation 26%
  5. Lie down with them in their bed 25%
When your child has a cold, who is likely to be kept awake?


Overall perception
Mum’s perception
Dad’s perception
The child suffering from the cold
54%
59%
43%
The mum
67%
75%
54%
The dad
27%
22%
37%
Other children in the family
9%
9%
9%
The whole household
10%
10%
11%
None of the above
5%
2%
10%

Now to win some help with winter colds why not enter my giveaway, Olbas and Jakemans will soothe away some of the effects with this nice prize.

They are offering one winner 2 x bottles of Olbas Bath, 2 x Jakemans Mini Honey & Lemon and 2 x Jakemans Mini Throat & Chest.

Just fill in the easypeasy rafflecopter below.





Friday, 13 December 2013

Bonmarche Autumn Winter Giveaway




Bonmarche have  some lovely pieces this season, Granny and I used to go regularly for her to shop there. Its really a shame that she cannot make the trip, but she still loves looking through the new arrivals online, choosing items for me to buy for her and like me loves points so we often wait for the Bonus Club rewards mailings to come through.

The company has really com along way in recent years, clothes are very stylish now and still have that great quality and also a flattering fit. Designs are youthful yet not daft. What is great is that the prices of the ranges even the collections are all cracking value for the quality. 
The accessories range at Christmas is also fab, some gorgeous gifts to buy even for the man in your life.

David Emanuel Rose Print Satin Chemise £14

Nightwear is far from middle aged!!

I was asked if I would like an item for Granny from the 'NEW IN' section and I was happy to be able to tell her she could have her pick. She wanted something pretty for Christmas day and visitors coming, so we were looking for smart, but easy to wear.

My mouth did drop open a little when I went to browse with her, David Emanuel has designed a collection, this clever  man who designed Princess Diana's wedding dress has been roughing it up in 'I'm a Celebrity'




His clients include Jane Seymour, Sarah Ferguson and Joan Collins, my own princess Grandma has chosen one of his blouses. Sorry no modelling, she is in her mid 90's and camera shy.

I can tell you she looks stunning the design is so delicate, the vibrancy in the pattern really  lift her colour and she keeps commenting on how pretty it is. The blouse has been reduced to £14 now, its such a steal!

I would also wear this I am in my 40's and my daughter who is 18 has said she would wear it and went to look at the range.  I think Bonmarche has won over a few generations here and they seem to have retained the classic wear but given a really trendy look to the selections.

Very impressed with Bonmarche.

I think  you will be impressed when you look too and if you tell me what you like, one of you could even win £50 to go shopping!

Just fill in the easy rafflecopter form below.



Disclosure Granny was given the blouse to review, however hers and my opinions are our own, already love the company! 

PARENTS USE SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS AS ‘HIGH TECH EDUCATIONAL BABYSITTERS’




You just have to watch this video,  its so funny to see, but if this is your toddler its not so funny if your ipad or phone is in their merciless hands!!


Oh how I wish I had this LifeProof all-protective nüüd case for my new Samsung Galaxy phone before I dropped it, it was in a protective (so I thought) case but sadly the corner was not covered.

A cool £150 to replace the screen, after 4 weeks use and I'm still waiting.

I am immensely happy that LifeProof asked me to feature them as I now know what I am going to buy. My phone is going straight into it as soon as I get it!!

Have you had any disasters with your phones or tablets?

The survey below shows how many parents let their children play with their smartphones and tablets, I would be too scared!!


HALF OF PARENTS USE SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS AS ‘HIGH TECH EDUCATIONAL BABYSITTERS’






The results of the study commissioned by LifeProof, award-winning maker of all-protective, everyday cases for smartphones and tablets, also show that more than half of the 2,000 parents studied allow a child aged three years or younger to use their phone or tablet, with a third of parents remarking that their child is increasingly interested in using technology so they can ‘be like mum and dad’.  And why play with your own toys when you can play with a smartphone or tablet?  Nearly two thirds of parents said their children would opt for technology over their usual toys if given the choice.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE commented on the research: “Gadgets are a part of everyday life and are here to stay – but should be used as part of a child’s creative development along with other stimuli.  There has been much written about the use of gadgets by children, and technology is becoming a vital part of everyday life – but of course, as with everything, should be used by children and teens in moderation. 

“Children shouldn’t be passive when it comes to technology, they need to be in touch with it, and learn to be creative and inventive, because ultimately there are many long-term benefits.

It’s not just young children, our teenagers are also very much in touch with technology. It’s very much part of their lives when they’re out and about on school field trips, at festivals or camping excursions with friends.”

The average parent hands over a gadget to their kids at least three times a week because they themselves are exhausted, while six in ten use time on a smartphone or tablet as a way of rewarding their young ones for good behaviour – and it’s clearly paying off!  A quarter of parents report that their children are already far more proficient at using a smartphone and tablet than them and a further three quarters believe that the ability to engage with technology is a crucial part of their child’s development.

Steve Daverio, MD of LifeProof said: “It’s great to see how many parents are using their smartphones and tablets as educational tools for their children - and that even the very youngest members of the family have something to gain from using these devices.  With over half of parents revealing their children use apps better than they can, the study shows a real trend towards children using gadgets as part of their learning and development.”



Inevitably though, the damage toll to gadgets across UK households is high with a fifth of parents having had a phone or tablet broken or screen cracked after handing it to their children.  The average parent has spent £110 in the last year fixing gadgets, while two electrical devices have been broken by kids in the last 12 months alone.  The most common cause of damage is items being dropped in the house, while spillages and gadgets being lost were also seen as everyday occurrences.

Daverio added: “Let’s face it broken gadgets are a sure fire way to put an end to family harmony! We know that things don’t always run smoothly, and that’s why we’ve developed a range of everyday cases for smartphones and tablets that are water proof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof, allowing even the very youngest users to take devices anywhere and everywhere – while adding a little peace of mind to parents. 

“And if further proof were needed… the LifeProof all-protective nüüd case for iPhone 5 recently received the Parent Tested, Parent Approved seal of approval with over 22,000 parents in North America rating it the most trusted seal for a smartphone.”
LifeProof cases are designed to be slim and sleek, ensuring users have access to all of their device functions.  This means they can take photos underwater, use their devices as a cook book in the kitchen, set up a GPS unit on mountainous bike rides, use fitness apps on the run – or hand them over to their kids! So whatever adventures your friends and loved ones are into, there’s a case for everyone – for a multitude of devices.  For further information and to explore the full range of LifeProof cases visit: http://www.lifeproof.com/en/kidproof

A PR Collaboration

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Win a La Jewellery Necklace




A special giveaway from a lovely company for my readers this month. I was asked by La Jewellery to choose a piece of their brass collection for a prize, so I had a good look around and I hope you agree, I chose well.

What I love about this company is not just the obvious craftsmanship in the designs but the passion to make pieces unique and to keep them nature friendly. All made in the UK, they are gifts that you or your loved ones will treasure.

Lisa Anne the main designer is originally from Wales. In La Jewellery's 'About Us' page it says how Lisa works.



Lisa Anne still has a small design studio in Wales but has now moved to the county of Shropshire and she believes wholeheartedly in its magic, seeking and finding endless inspiration in her environment, in the changing moods of the landscape itself and in its old stories and hidden hollows. In her work can be found the chattering of the silver stream, the voice of Merlin and the sound of a hawk circling above the mountains. She loves what she does and in every piece she creates, she hopes to pass a little of that love onto you, the traveller who has found their way here.

 Lisa Anne and the team within the company believe very firmly too in the tangible value of life and lessening our impact on the environment in which we live, while sacrificing nothing of quality. To this end, we always aim to purchase our materials and packaging from local sources and leave a ‘lighter footprint’ on this incredible landscape by using recycled packaging and card wherever possible.



 La Jewellery''s site is well worth a visit, the silver pieces are stunning, again ethically sourced and made from recycled silver. They sell not just jewellery, but bookmarks, cufflinks, and spoons.



The brass collection which your prize comes from is again recycled, environmentally friendly, even down to the cleaning processes, they use Ecover, lemon and Himalayan salt for this process. All the pieces are then uniquely crafted to bring a keepsake that will be adored for years.



I have chosen the  Brass Hold Me Close Three heart necklace for one of you lucky people to win for the new year.

Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

I would also like to point you to La Jewellery's social sites, they have lots of news, offers and competitions running so well worth friending them.




Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Shrek The Musical DVD Review.



I was asked to review Shrek The Musical on DVD and was very excited, I love the original films and I was curious to discover if an animation came across as a theatre show, I go to the theatre as much as I can but as I now care for Granny, I do not get to go as much. So having the DVD is the next best thing.


As a background to the DVD, just in case you have missed any of the brilliance of the films, spin offs and huge amount of merchandising, I will fill you in. But where have you been??


Shrek first appeared in 2001. Shrek is a big green ogre who lives alone in the swamp feared by all the people in Duloc.   Lord Farquaad, the ruler of Duloc, exiles all the fairy-tale beings to the woods, Shrek is very grumpy that his his peaceful life and  home has become a refugee camp. He goes to see Lord Farquaad to convince him to take the fairy-tale beings back and leave him alone. Lord Farquaad agrees with one condition,  Shrek must first go and find the beautiful young princess Fiona, who will become Farquaad's bride.So Shrek begins his quest, along with his new wise - cracking donkey friend. Its a tale of love, laughter and great songs.
Since then there have been three follow on movies.


Shrek was turned into a Broadway show in 2008 and first appeared in the West End in London in 2011. 

The on stage musicals were such a success that the Broadway show has now been made into a DVD so we can experience the excitement of the theatre in your own home. There are 17 new songs which played enough times will become favorites.

It really works well, you get the theatre feel, minus the expensive ice cream, the show really bursts to life and the clever way the animated characters are now people soon has you forgetting this and enthralled. Donkey is still a favourite, Shrek as grumpy as ever. Fiona still has the voice so high a bird explodes, there are so many scenes for children to laugh at, all the fairytale characters from story books help to hook even small children, I trialled on a 4 year old and they were captivated, but many in jokes for the adults.

We loved it, it would make a superb Christmas DVD for any family whether they have seen the films or not!!

Disclaimer:  I was sent the DVD for the purpose of review, my opinions are my own and not affected by the offer.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Win a Haribo Christmas Hamper




Haribo sweets just are so good I get very addicted to them and have to really be strict, but at Christmas we all do just dig in. I think after all the chocolate and heavy food, they are light and refreshing, Haribo always goes into my teenagers stockings too. 

In fact I have already bought a few of the new Christmas range, whilst in Superdrug at the weekend, I go in for beauty stuff and come out with sweets!!



Haribo asked me to review the Christmas goodies and I turned them down!!

Yes right, nobody would fall for that.


The  fab Tangfastics are still around, my faves I think, they are in the kid's stockings and I am very happy to have one for me!!

How would you like to win a hamper!!




HARIBO HAMPER FULL OF FUN THIS CHRISTMAS

Join the fun with HARIBO this Christmas and enjoy their latest selection of festive treats.
To celebrate the launch of their Christmas range, HARIBO is giving a Given To Distracting Others reader the chance to win a hamper full of tasty treats that are perfect as a sweet gift, to share or for you to enjoy.

The festive hamper includes Igloo Friends and Starmix gift boxes; Tangfastics and Chamallows tubes; Sparkly Stars and Jolly Santas handy packs and Party Time and Christmas Mix tubs, delivering a real treat this Christmas.

If you want to be in with a chance of winning this tasty, fun hamper full of festive treats, which are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face this Christmas, just answer the  question.

Please comment with your answer below but add your details to the Rafflecopter so they remain private.

For more details about HARIBO and its super tasty range of seasonal sweet treats, please visit www.haribo.co.uk.


Christmas ilumi Hamper Giveaway



Oh have I a treat for one lucky ready, ilumi who I have reviewed several times are giving you the chance to win a hamper crammed with their lovely foods, not only that they have teamed up with some other lovely brands to make this a hamper delight!!
 ilumi have been cooking up nut-, gluten- and milk-free foods for nearly a decade in County Durham. Their  team of chefs and nutritionists are creative and allergen-savvy: they know which ingredients are safe, and how to combine them to create delicious meals you can trust. 
And from this springs ilumi's mission: to create delicious, colourful, deeply flavoursome foods that  customers can trust, to make them accessible and convenient, and to spread the word about eating for wellness to the wider community.

At Christmas time too you need a treat a break from cooking and ilumi created the Christmas hamper, its £55 to buy, there is a vegetarian option too 
Or why not give as a gluten free gift? It's packed full of tasty goodies.

1 Kerala Chicken Curry
1 Aromatic Thai Red Curry
1 Chicken Cacciatora
1 Pork Mushrooms and Madeira
1 Tom Kha Gai Soup
1 Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
1 Pea, Pancetta and Mint Soup
1 Spicy butternut Squash Soup
1 Chicken Gravy
1 Kerala Curry Sauce
And a whole host of great partner products:
2 bottles of Celia Lager (330ml)
2 bottles of Green's Ale - 1 dark and 1 blond (330ml)
1 bottle of Vintage Roots Dragora Red Wine (750ml)
1 jar of Curry Cuisine Spiced Yorkshire plum Chutney (210g)
1 box of Chocolate Christmas Novelty Shapes (120g)
1 box of Dove's Farm Lemon Zest Cookies (150g)
1 box of Lazy Day Foods Shortbread* (150g)
1 box of Lazy Day Foods Belgian Dark Chocolate Tiffins* (150g)
Throw your email address into the hat for a chance to win an ilumi Gluten Free Christmas Hamper. It's packed full of goodies and worth £55! 


Please note the giveaway is being hosted by ilumi and you may be contacted by them after.

UK  Only
Ends December 14th at midnight 

Just to add,  the ilumi team,  have provided a promo code exclusively for all my readers, so that everyone gets something even if they don't win the hamper. If you follow the link below you will automatically be directed to the ilumi online shop where the discount will be applied at the checkout. 


ilumi have a 3 for £9 offer for this promotion, so the 3 pouches that you pick must be the £3.75 ones. So should be 3 of the following:
Aromatic Thai Red Chicken Curry 
Cardamom Chicken 
Kerala Chicken Curry
Chicken Cacciatora 
Lamb Rogan Josh
Pork, Mushrooms & Madeira 
Slow-Cooked Beef Casserole 
Slow-Cooked Chicken Casserole 
Slow-Cooked Lamb Casserole