Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Win a delicious set of coffees from Beanies

Sitting down with a piping hot fresh mug of coffee, wrapping your hands around the mug, taking in the aroma and watching the steam raise upwards. Ahhhhh bliss.

That mug of coffee has the power to make us feel somewhat 'better'.

It's a kickstart to the day, a treat when you get in a put your feet up, a companion at work and a comfort when you've had one of those days.

Coffee mug and coffee jar
Fancy a catch-up over coffee?


A versatile accompaniment in many situations - my favourite of which is the 'catch-up'.

Your friend wants to pop by for a catch-up over coffee and says she has lots to tell you. The anticipation rises....! You click your kettle on as you get ready to settle in with your coffee and share stories. As you exchange the 'ohhs' and 'ahhs' of the gossip - there's really nothing better.

If you think back I'm sure everyone's been told some big news or had some great ideas over a cuppa. In fact that is exactly where this blog began!

For your chance to win a set of 9 Beanie coffees tell us your about your memorable moments over coffee.

Set of coffees
Win this delicious set of coffees from Beanies - we love the Ginger Bread one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Terms and Conditions
• There is 1 prize of a set of 9 instant Beanies coffees .
• Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives
of lifeonbalance blog or Beanies coffee
• Closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 17 September 2014.
• Entrants must enter via Rafflecopter
• The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter
• The winner will be informed by email within 14 days of the closing date
and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new
winner will be chosen.
• The winner's name will be available on request.
• The prize will be sent within 28 days of the winner confirming their
address.
• The promoter is Beanies.
• By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read,
understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Bargain foxy snack box

I decided I would treat the little one to a funky set of lunch boxes to carry around her array of snacks. I spotted a fab set in Clinton's card shop  - Rusty Fox and Friends Snack Boxes. but at £6.99 for three small containers, I just couldn't justify the cost.

Rusty Fox and Friends Snack Boxes - £6.99

Shortly after I spotted this even better set in Home Bargains. They are exactly the same, just a different design and the bonus of an extra little box which is ideal for dried fruit and smaller snacks.

Set of 4 retro snack boxes from Home Bargains - £1.99





Absolutely love this little find. Retro, affordable and practical!

What bargains have you discovered?

By Lee


Thursday, 7 August 2014

How can this be comfortable???


Animals can sleep in the strangest of positions. How can this be comfortable?????









Surely you'd feel better with those paws tucked in? No? OK.









Archie, you're lying on branches. Surely you'd be better off on the grass? No? OK.








 




Archie, would you not be better off with your whole body on the bean bag? No? OK.






 Jinxy, would you not be more comfortable with your body untwisted and in more space? No? OK.










Archie, would you not be better off not lying jammed under a radiator on a paper bag? No? OK.


























Actually, this does look quite comfy!
    








By Bee

 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Lifehack: How to fix a twisted car seat strap

I was really frustrated to find our new carseat had managed to twist itself. I tried unsuccessfully to twist in back but the clip it loops through just wouldn't allow me the maneuver room to do so.

Surely there must be an easy way to fix this.......and that's when I found this little hack to sort it.



Literally took me a few seconds to sort it. Don't you love the Internet for these gems of information?

What lifehacks have you discovered?

By Lee

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Feed the birds... tuppence a bag (just not bread!)

Feeding the Birds at Marden Quarry





I've posted here before about how much I love where I live. Well today, Essie and I were left to our own devices as Jay went fishing with her dad. Essie decided that she wanted to make cupcakes (in this heat??!!) then go to the local nature reserve which conveniently is located at the top of our street.













Everyone follow Mama


In the past, we've gone armed with part used loaves of bread to feed the geese, swans, ducks, coots and moorhens who reside there but lately, we've been trying to find alternatives.









Canadian Geese

After generations of families have been feeding our waterfowl and garden birds the lowly loaf, it is now widely agreed that this is not a good thing to do. Of course starvation is a killer but there are much healthier things for us to feed our avian friends.






Mama swan and her cygnets



Think about it. Bread is not a natural foodstuff of wild birds and lets face it, most dieticians agree that too much bread for humans is not a good thing. It fills birds tummies but doesn't hold much nutritional value and can actually cause harm by choking smaller/younger birds, clogging their crops and causing Angel Wing - too much protein and too little vitamin E which causes deformity of the wing - ultimately preventing the bird from flying.









Advice from our local council


It is good fun to feed the birds, so what is a good alternative to bread? Our council have posted advice around the reserve. You can buy floating feed especially for waterfowl from pet shops but for if you have any uncooked porridge oats or other non sugary cereals, this is a good source of birdy nutrition. Also, halved grapes and leafy greens (not lettuce) are another good alternative. We decided to go for some frozen peas which were defrosted by the time we got there. The birds lapped them up.













Canadian Geese - Single file!

We had a fabulous hour or so at the nature reserve. It's so peaceful nestled away in the middle of suburbia and knowing that we hopefully gave the birds something healthier made it all the better.

By Bee

Monday, 30 June 2014

My kitchen is the hub of the house #kitchentales

My kitchen is the busy hub of our house. We eat here, we mess here, we organise here, we rush, we run, we sometimes relax!

Family life is super busy. I would be lost without my little organiser which acts as my intray.




We try to be healthy, not always easy on the go. But there is always fruit ready to grab.


Recycling is really important in our house. It's easy and fun with our home made recycle centre.


It's a constant process of washing ware, putting it away, getting it out again and so on. Fairy Platinum is fab at making this an easier job. It's also great in our bubble machine!







This post is an entry for the “My Kitchen Story” Linky Challenge, sponsored by Fairy Platinum” and link to Facebook.com/fairydish

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Top 8 First Birthday Gifts

Stuck for what to buy for a first birthday? Our little one recently turned one and here are my top gift ideas:

1. Mini Armchair

Our little one has used this everyday since it arrived. It's a reasonable price in comparison to most of the kids armchairs available and doesn't topple over easily.

Kids armchair


2. Clothes 18-24 months

A lot of people will buy 12-18 months so go for the next size. Asda George often have fab outfits at excellent prices.

Girls legging outfit

George boys jacket


3. Shoe shop voucher

With most little ones learning to walk around this time. Vouchers for those (expensive!) first shoes is a great idea. Our first cruiser shoes from Clarks were £26.

Clarks




4. Building blocks

Hours of fun wand they won't tire of these for years to come.
Mega bloks


5. Toddler Mealtime Set

Moving on from the little plastic weaning pots, a nice mealtime set is the perfect way to begin the next stage.

Toddler mealtime set


6. Premium bonds

Chance to win tax free prizes of £25 to £1m each month. Minimum investment of £50 (if paid by standing order or bank transfer). A great gift for life.

Premium bonds


7. Projector

We used this to help baby settle on her own at bedtime. She loves to watch the colours projected onto the ceiling and is always out for the count within five minutes. It has a range of melodies to choose from and also a selection of timer settings.

Baby projector

8. Bubble Machine

Little ones go crazy for this!. Great for both indoor and outdoor use.

Bubble machine

Baby enjoys the bubble machine
She loves the bubbles!

What first birthday gifts would you recommend?



Tuesday, 3 June 2014

COMPETITION! Win a Tube of Compeed Foot Cream - WINNER LIANNE WIGHTMAN

Summer is coming and its this time of year that our feet go on show more and more - barefoot on the beach, by the pool, or simply on display in a lovely pair of strappy sandals.

After months of being imprisoned in boots and shoes, our feet can often look less than their best. We are offering some Compeed foot cream in our latest Twitter competition to help the winner's tootsies look in tip top condition.


Win Compeed Cream
Win Compeed Cream

To enter, follow us on Twitter and send us a tweet telling us which song you love to dance to. Make sure you include our Twitter name @lifeonbalance and the hashtag #compeedcomp. The closing date is 11.59 pm on 11th June 2014. The winner will be chosen using random.org. Over 18s only. UK entry. The winner will be contacted via Twitter direct message. Failure to respond within 5 days will result in a redraw.

Good luck!

Bee

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Quick thought: Charity Shop Find

Don't you just love it when you happen upon a bargain you were planning on buying anyway?

I was on the look out for a little bag to carry food and snacks for my 1 year old. I spotted this in a charity shop today - brand new with tags from dotcomgiftshop.

Recycled lunch bag
Charity Shop Find


I was even more delighted when I paid just 10p for it!

What bargains have made your day?

By Lee

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Rafflecopter Giveaway - Thai Silk Scarf

We're giving away this fabulous Thai silk scarf. All you have to do is tell us your best misheard song lyrics.

Thai silk scarf
Win this Thai silk scarf


To get you thinking:

Here are two of Lee's favourites:


Keane - Crystal Ball - see 1:10

Misheard: Chris de Burgh....Chris do Burgh
Should be: Crystal Ball....Crystal Ball

Michael Bolton - How Can We Be Lovers - see 0:11

Misheard: How can we be lovers if we can't speak french?
Should be: How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?


Here are two of Bee's favourites:


Bob Marley - Get up Stand up - see 0:44

Misheard: It's that all that pizza is cold
Should be: It's not all that glitters is gold

David Bowie - Space Oddity - see 1:24

Misheard: And the papers want to know who shot your wife
Should be: And the papers want to know who's shirt you wear

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

T&Cs
  • Entries will be verified
  • UK residents over 18 years
  • If no response from winner within 5 days following notification, winner will be redrawn
  • Winner notified within one week of closing date


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Independence Day

How much freedom should children have?

My eldest daughter is coming up to nine years old. She doesn't play out in the big wild world unsupervised (we live on a busy street traffic-wise so it's not a good place to play) and gets ferried to school and back. This could all change very shortly. In North Tyneside, we have a three tier school system. First school until 9 years old, middle school until 13 and then off to high school. This means that Jay will be off to middle school in September.

The issue is, the middle school is in the opposite direction to the first school where my youngest daughter Essie will remain and obviously I can't be in two places at once. Logistically, I could drop off Jay first and then Essie but it will be a big carry on every day.

I personally think that Jay is old enough to make the journey by herself. There is a small residential road to cross and a busier road with a lollypop lady. Other than that, it's hazard free. However, hubby disagrees. He is petrified that she is going to be vulnerable to predatory abductors. I have tried to reason with him that such cases are very rare but he is finding it difficult to come to terms with.

Back in the 70s when I was growing up, kids much younger than 9 were playing out unsupervised without any major consequence. I appreciate that times have changed but personally, I think it is just traffic levels which have changed. There have always been paedophiles but these days, the media have us believe that their numbers have increased and that they are sitting in wait to take our children. I remember back in the day being told to stay in doors as a car had been seen hanging around outside the school with a strange man in it. Whether or not this was a dangerous person was unclear but we stayed in for a bit then it was back out to play after a couple of days. I suppose that back then, there was generally more of a community with people looking out for each other which is often lacking these days. I must admit, I hardly know anyone on our street and we've lived here for 13 years!

Statistics show that children are more likely to be abducted by someone they know - an estranged parent for instance - than by a stranger. I'm a big believer that educating our children in stranger danger is the best thing that we can do for them to prepare them for the big wide world.

Jay has started to do little things by herself. Going to the post box at the top of our street, going into shops alone whilst we wait outside etc. When we go to the park next to the school, she can pop over to the school by herself to use the toilet. I think that creating a bit of trust and responsibility will help her to gain confidence and the ability to stay safe. Her road safety skills could do with some work but we have a few months to get that right.

I think that it is quite sad that this is such an issue. That we are put in a position where we worry about our children to such an extent. The best times of my childhood were having beauty pagents and talent contests with my friends, playing in the park until tea was ready and just playing great games in the street.

What are your opinions on this? Do your children play out by themselves? How did you deal with the decision of when to allow this? Do you think that kids are missing out these days on the fun that children of previous generations had?

By Bee

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Child medicine money saving tip......that not everyone knows about!

Chatting to another mum about teething I mentioned I needed to pick up some Calpol. She then went on to explain how I could get this from the pharmacist free of charge - no means testing, no catches I just had to ask.

Calpol


This was the first time I'd heard about the NHS Minor Ailments Service. This scheme empowers pharmacists to dispense prescription medications for minor ailments without the need for a GP's instruction. The idea behind the scheme is that it frees up the GP's time in dealing with these common complaints.

Who can access this?


The scheme is available to everyone - you will only pay the standard prescription charge or if you are exempt from paying for your prescriptions, then it is completely free to use.

The following groups are exempt in the UK:
  • under 16
  • 60 and over
  • 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • have a medical exemption certificate 
  • you or your partner are on Income Support
  • you can qualify via other benefits or tax credits

What ailments are covered?

  • teething
  • nappy rash
  • diarrhoea
  • threadworms
  • indigestion
  • coughs, colds, nasal congestion, sore throat
  • minor cuts and bruises
  • warts, verrucas, mouth ulcers, cold sores
  • constipation, haemorrhoids
  • allergies, hayfever
  • aches, pains
  • skin conditions - mild acne, mild eczema
  • period pain, thrush
  • athlete's foot
  • truss fittings, stoma products and incontinence supplies (certain pharmacies) 

Where can I access this?


You can search for your local pharmacies here. Click onto the title of your pharmacy e.g. Boots. Then click on the Departments & Services tab to check if they offer the Minor Ailments Service.

Had you heard of the Minor Ailments Service?

By Lee




Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Quick thought: What is a Ukari?

I'm reading through an animal book with my one year old and doing all the noises to go with it too -

Cow...Moooooo

Cat.......Meooooowwwww

Dog..........Woof woof

Ukari.....a what?


Uakari in baby book


A quick Google search seems to suggest the spelling should actually be uakari.

I now know that a uakari is a bald headed, short tailed, long coated monkey found in the Amazon rainforest!

Have you spotted anything odd in your kids books?

By Lee

Friday, 2 May 2014

Yoga Classes and Yoga Mat Giveaway




a Rafflecopter giveaway

The sponsors of this competition, PlayEnable have kindly offered our entrants a £5 voucher, redeemable at their website www.playenable.com.

This voucher can also be shared with friends and family.

To claim your £5 voucher, please enter the voucher code PE5FITNESS



T&Cs
  • Prize provided by PlayEnable
  • Prize consists of 3 yoga classes in London area and a yoga mat
  • UK residents over 18 years
  • If no response from winner within 5 days following notification, winner will be redrawn
  • Winner notified within one week of closing date



Listed on Offer Oasis

Monday, 28 April 2014

Twitter Giveaway! CLOSED! Winner Andrew Bailey

Now that our blog launch giveaway is coming to a close, we thought we'd give our readers another chance to win another marvellous prize.

Up for grabs is the cool Bossa Nova beat CD 'Estrella Presents Sweet Bossa'. It contains some familiar songs which have been given a bossa nova twist. Perfect for chilling out on a summers day.


Win this CD
Sweet Bossa Nova

Track List:
1. Make it Mine
2.Womanizer
3. Bad Day
4. Bleeding Love
5. Take a Bow
6. I'm Yours
7. Viva La Vida
8. Apologise
9. Because of You
10. Put Your Records On
11. Green Light
12. You're Beautiful
13. Sunday Morning
14. Big Girls Don't Cry
15. You Give Me Something
16. Bubbly
17. If I Ain't Got You




All you have to do to win is click the Twitter link below, become a follower and retweet this tweet:
Retweet to win

The competition closes at 8.00 pm on Sunday 4th May. One entry per person. Winner drawn at random using Random.org

GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The results of my declutter for Lent challenge!

Do you love to have a nosey at other people's belongings? Well you might just be in luck! I blogged about my challenge for Lent back in February and here is how it went. I'll let the pictures do the talking....

Here is what I binned:

Rubbish
Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish


Here is what went to the charity shop:

Charity shop items
For the charity shop!


Here is what I gave away:


Old red chair
Old chair

High chair
High chair

Baby walker
Baby walker

Light fitting
Light fitting

Baby clothes
Baby clothes galore!

Ipod dock
Ipod dock

Sat nav
Sat nav

Stroller
Stroller

Clothes
Clothes

Light bulbs
Light bulbs that don't fit any of our lights!

Baby clothes
More baby clothes

Buttons
Buttons

Packaging
Used packaging

Elvis book and clock
Elvis book and clock

Buttons
More buttons 
Mini fondue set
Mini fondue set

Rain macs and necklace
Rain macs and necklace

Pineapple slicer
Pineapple slicer


Here is what I sold:


Camera

Touch up paint
Touch up paint

Karcher wheel set
Karcher wheel set

Foundation
Foundation

Baby activity station
Baby activity station

Here is my day by day declutter list:


01. Bottom shelf in bedroom - sorted old underwear
02. Kitchen cupboard - 01 - mixed
03. Pulled out clothes from underbed and sorted the scarf bag
04. Baby clothes sort
05. Baby gym ready for sale
06. Clothes sort - shelves
07. Clothes sort - hanging up
08. 2 drawers of clothes sort
09. Toiletry cases
10. Kitchen cupboard - 02 - treats
11. Baby vests, coats and leggings
12. Sort plastic bags with CDs and one food cupboard
13 Kitchen Cupboard 03 - Tupperware cupboard
14 Kitchen Cupboard 04 - baking items + trays
15 Cabinet in spare bedroom
16 Kitchen Cupboard 05 - sort food
17 Kitchen cupboard - sort spices
18 Condiment cupboard
19 Freecycle items - chair, high chair, baby clothes, light fittings
20 Freecycle items - pineapple slicer, baby bits and bobs, ipod dock and clock
21 Lounge wear
22 DIY bits
23 Bedside drawer
24 Bottom of bedroom cupboard
25 Bottom of bedroom cupboard
26 Bottom of bedroom cupboard
27 Bag of stuff in bedroom I hadn’t sorted since moving 5 years ago!
28 Utility cupboard
29 Stroller ready for Freecycle + shoes by front door
30 Cook books
31 Basket of odd bits in sitting room
32 Stuff shoved behind the bookcase
33 Paper work sort
34 Collect bits and bobs from kitchen to giveaway
35 Paper work sort
36 Items posted to Freecycle
37 Sorted items for Freecycle and eBay
38 Photographed items for freecycle and eBay
39 Items on eBay / Freecycle
40 Put memory box items in a pile
41 Start sorting boxes in spare room
42 Packed away 1 large box
43 Stacked box files together
44 Gathered rubbish together and threw out
45 Gathered items for charity shop.
46 Relax!

It's amazing how productive you can be in just ten minute spurts each day.

What are your top tips for a successful declutter?

By Lee