Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Mother’s Day Gift Guide for Every Type of Mum



This year, Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 6th March and with the special day fast approaching, it's time to pick a gift that will make it one to remember.

Whether you’re spoiling your mum rotten with a really indulgent gift, or looking for something unique and personalised, visit BuyAGift.com for ideas and inspiration. With over 5,000 gifts to choose from BuyAGift.com have something for every type of Mum covered. Here are some of my favourites:

Champneys spa treat

For Mum’s that love pampering…
Show your mum her how much you care and treat her to a pampering day at a luxury spa.  Let her unwind and relax with a spa experiences that are sure to make her look and feel gorgeous at Champneys. Start the day with a breakfast refreshment, before enjoying a 25 minute treatment each of your choice. Choose between treatments like the Champneys Massage, Champneys Body Wrap, Head in the Clouds shoulder, neck and head massage, or the Champneys Facial. Whichever one you pick will sure to leave you and Mum feeling relaxed and refreshed! Then finish the day with a healthy three course lunch each.


Memorable Mini Break gift

For Mum’s that like to get away….
Every mum deserves a break from time to time so why not treat your mother to an overnight spa break?

BuyAGift.com has a range of over 150 memorable minibreaks on offer. Choose from city getaways, seaside retreats or rural escapes to the countryside - you’ll find something for every type of mum. Select memorable minibreaks and then at point of purchase you will have the option to choose either a gift box or an e-voucher.


Afternoon tea at Harrods

For Mum’s that like to lunch…
Allow her to relax in charming surroundings with afternoon tea for two at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant. Your Mum will be treated like royalty from the moment she enters with this exceptional afternoon tea for two. You’ll both be served a quintessentially British treat accompanied by unlimited loose-leaf tea of your choice. Harrods' menu includes some of the finest teas from around the world, a wonderful treat for a Mum that loves her tea!


View from the Shard

For Mums that love sight-seeing…
Treat your mum to a visit to The View from The Shard and enjoy breath-taking 360 degree views of the capital for up to 40 miles around. Once you have captured those fantastic landmarks and sights, take a short walk to the famous Borough Market where you will enjoy a divine afternoon tea for two at Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot 1745.


Vineyard tour

For Mums that like a tipple…
This Mother's Day, swap a bottle of wine for a vineyard tour and give your mum an unforgettable experience, discovering the beauty and elegance of English wines. An expert guide will take you both to the winery where you will be navigated through the wine-making method. Then the best bit, sampling the vineyard’s wines, before being treated to a delicious lunch or indulgent afternoon tea. This experience is available at five locations five locations across England.
For the chocolate-loving Mums…
Make it the tastiest way to tell your Mum you love her and treat her to a box of 33 delicious truffles. Want to make it extra special? Then add a message of your choice! Messages can be personalised with beautifully written icing lettering on each of the individual chocolates. A gift that’s sure to make her smile.



Personalised trowel and fork gardening set

For the green fingered Mums…
If your Mum is mad about gardening, then get her a gift that she’ll really ‘dig’ like this fork and trowel set. Armed with all her unique tools for her to get the garden the envy of all her neighbours, this gardening set is ready to tackle any job that needs doing. Personalise it with your mum’s name or a message of your choice to make it even more special.



For mum’s that like to bake…
If your mum is a fan of baking or can give Nigella a run for her money in the kitchen, why not get her a stylish apron crowning her “Queen of the Kitchen”? You can personalise the apron as you wish and add any name, nickname or message to put a smile on her face.

Whatever you are looking for, from afternoon tea to spa breaks or personalised unique gifts, BuyAGift.com has plenty of gifts to choose from!. For more inspiration on ideal Mother's Day gifts visit www.buyagift.com.



Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Pregnancy Announcement

We are expecting!

I wanted to officially announce our big news, we are expecting! Baby DoYouNoah is coming Summer 2016 :-)

Stay tuned for more updates as I share this journey on my blog. I will post about pregnancy, parenting and more, so if you haven't already, make sure to subscribe under "subscribe via email", on the right hand side, to get all the latest updates.



Sunday, 21 February 2016

Newton's Appl Fizzics Review


As February draws to a close and with Spring fast approaching, we’re now entering the full flow of wedding season which has got me thinking about the two weddings I’ve been invited to this Summer.

Weddings are well known for the over flow of alcohol and I’m yet to attend an alcohol free wedding. But what if you were planning a dry wedding because of personal preference or wanted to have a selection of non-alcoholic drinks for pregnant guests, someone’s religious beliefs or perhaps for the designated drivers?

Well there are more options than just orange juice, lemonade and water! Like Newton’s Appl Fizzics, a new apple drink with a healthy twist.

Newton’s Appl Fizzics is packaged in a glass bottle just like cider, even I was fooled into thinking this was an alcoholic drink. But on closer inspection it reveals the soft drink is in fact completely natural blend of apple juice and sparkling water with no added sugar, artificial ingredients or preservatives.

The juice drink has been inspired by Sir Isaac’s Newton's discovery of gravity – when he spotted an apple falling to the ground - and is named and produced in the UK by Newton ’s appl fizzics’ own ‘fizzicians’. What’s more, it contains no E numbers, hence no ‘e’ in the appl of appl fizzics!

So how does it taste? While it’s made from concentrate, I love that this juice drink isn’t too sweet but still has a tasty but refreshing flavour. Plus it’s much healthier than just apple juice on its own.  Newton’s Appl Fizzics contains approximately 40% less sugar than apple juice so this makes it the ideal soft drink not just adults but for children too.

A great choice for non-alcoholic drink at a wedding 

So if you’re planning on serving soft drinks at your wedding this year here are some of my top tips:
  • Not just children who don't drink alcohol! Around up to 30% of guests won’t be drinking at weddings this year so remember it’s not just children who will want soft drinks, Remember to think of designated drivers, those with religious beliefs, pregnant friends or guests who just want to go alcohol free for the day. 
  • Presentation is everything - Serve your non-alcoholic drinks, like Newton ’s appl fizzics, in champagne flutes to help your non-drinking guests feel super special.
  • Dress up your non-alcoholic drinks: Having a rustic themed wedding? Then fill a wheelbarrow with ice and place your soft drinks in it. Decorate with flowers, ribbons and a blackboard to finish off the rustic look
  • Don't forget accessories: Add small but cute accessories like vintage straws to glasses that match your wedding colours to add a bit of fun to the non-alcoholic drinks.

Newton’s Appl Fizzics is available from Amazon.co.uk, Harrods and independent grocers, farm shops and delis. 330ml bottles RRP of £1.29 and £2.49 for 750ml. 




*Disclaimer: The products featured were gifted to me for review however all words and opinions are my own*

Getting my stir fry on with Lotus Wok

Ching-He Huang cooking up a tasty stir fry

On Wednesday I spent my lunchtime wokking up delicious dishes with international TV chef, Ching-He Huang.

If anyone knows how to cook a good stir-fry then it’ll be Ching! You might recognise her on TV cookery shows like Saturday Kitchen, showing off her fab cookery skills. Ching’s cooking is a cool fusion of tradition and innovation as her cooking combines fresh, ethically sourced ingredients, Chinese heritage and modern flavours, making her the hottest Chinese chef of the moment.

So I was delighted to be invited to the Cookery School, just off Oxford Street, to cook healthy dishes with Ching and learn some quick and easy lunch recipes.

Ching demonstrated the different recipes using the new Lotus WokWhether your stir frying or deep frying, to get the best wok cooking requires the right heat, the right utensils and most importantly the right surface.  Made from carbon steel, the Lotus Wok it is suitable for every kind of hob including my gas fire and durable enough to handle the high temperatures needed for stir-frying!

Ching showing us different recipes using the Lotus Wok

Another benefit is that the Lotus Wok has a special nan—silica coating surface so it isn’t like the ordinary non-stick pan and cleverly replicates the natural properties of a lotus leaf. And there are lots of advantages I found using it. Not only is it water repellent, making it easier to clean but it is oleophilic which means it still allows oil, to permeate the surface and influence the flavours of your cooking.

If you’re looking for an authentic taste, then I would recommend purchasing the Lotus Wok. It can be used for all types of cooking not just stir-frying but deep-frying, pan-frying, searing, smoking, steaming, stewing, braising, and blanching! But the best part is the Lotus effect – the special nano silica coating that replicates the natural properties of the lotus leaf, and infuses flavour into your cooking for that authentic taste you’re aiming to create.

The Lotus Wok set from JML

The Lotus Wok set includes:
  • 30cm carbon steel Lotus Wok
  • 30cm glass lid
  • 1x stainless steel steamer rack
  • 1x wooden spatula
  • 1x pair of wooden chopsticks
  • Plus Ching He Huang's cook book "Eat Clean: Wok Yourself to Health" that comes free with every purchase

Ching’s cookbook is full of tasty and inspiring dishes which are also healthy too. This was exactly what I was looking for – recipes that are easy to follow and simple enough to use in my everyday cooking.  

After a Lotus Wok set of your own? You can purchase it from JML here for £49.99. 



*Disclaimer: The products featured were gifted to me for review however all words and opinions are my own*

Friday, 12 February 2016

Rave-A-Roo Event Giveaway!

Fantastic family event for half term

An entirely new clubbing experience for the family, is launching this half term and everyone, from toddlers to grandparents, are invited to join the fun.

Launching on Friday 19th February 2016 at London’s most iconic club, Ministry of Sound, Rave-A-Roo is an entirely new concept. The event is a fun fusion of festival vibes and a clubbing atmosphere aimed at families and their children where they can all party together and get their rave on!


It’s the ultimate party with top DJs, the Disco Ball Games, a Big Fish Little Fish takeover, LIVE stage performances, hosts Tom and Adam (from Babyhead and Lost & Found), PlayGlow toys, confetti mayhem, neon craft, Glow Chill Room, and a UV tattoo station. And that isn't just for the children…

But don’t worry, parents haven’t been forgotten! There is a fully licensed bar with tea, coffee and snacks, a convenient onsite buggy park and baby changing facilities too.


Rave-A-Roo offers unique and safe environment for families, including professional security, carefully monitored sound levels and beautifully lit rooms.  And unlike some outdoor family events, it’s all under one roof away so you can you can enjoy yourself and hit the dance floor without worrying about the unpredictable weather.

Further dates in iconic venues around the UK, including more dates in London, Bristol, Brighton, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester, to be announced.

There are so many benefits to this fab event, which is why I’m giving away a Rave-A-Roo family ticket for the 1pm-3pm session on Friday 19 February 2016. All you have to do to enter is leave your name and email address in the comments section below.  Competition closes at midnight on 16th February 2016. Good luck!


For more tickets, you can purchase directly from the website www.rave.-a-roo.com/tickets  




*Terms & Conditions* The prize includes 4 tickets (2 adults and 2 children) to the Rave-a-Roo event on 19th February 2016, 1pm-3pm session. Travel and other expenses are not included in this prize.  The giveaway closes at midnight on 16th February 2016. Good Luck!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Special ways to spend Valentine's Day in London

 Special ways to spend Valentine's day, 2016

It's less than a week away until Valentine's day and it's not too late to get your plans together to make this 2016 the best Valentine's day yet!

Here's my guide on where and how to spend Valentine's day in London this year:

 Celebrate Valentine's day at the Jazz Box

Jazz Box
The JazzBox in Shepherds Bush has pulled out all the stops and presents London’s most glitzed Valentine’s Day event. Whether you are taken or single, enjoy London’s finest jazz / funk / soul spot for a night of sophisticated attire, roses, champagne, and serenading love music.

With a host of London's best musicians, a delicious three-course meal and the sort of soft-lighting marriages are made of, there are few better ways to spend Valentine's day this year.
Sunday 14 February at 19.00, tickets between £43.39–£317.69 visit here to book.


 Cabaret at Zigfrid von Underbelly, Hoxton

Burlesque & Cabaret at Chic BonBon's Valentine's Special
Enjoy an evening of burlesque and cabaret this Valentine's day that will leave you spellbound and open-mouthed at Zigfrid von Underbelly in Hoxton. Think Parisian glamour in all its sensual, seductive 1920s glory. What better way to get your blood pumping this Valentine's than by joining Chic BonBon's electrifying performers for this thrilling evening.
Sunday 14 February, tickets £15 available here. 

A romantic ride on the Love Bus
Make it a date to remember and take a romantic ride on a double decker bus tour of London. Enjoy an evening of sightseeing with added spark and take in London’s iconic sights. It's the perfect way to give your partner a night to remember in the capital.

You will be warmly welcomed on board the bus with a cosy blanket, sparkling glass of champagne, a single red rose to present to your partner and a box of chocolates to share as you toast to an unforgettable evening exploring the capital. Plus you'll be serenaded with a classic tunes throughout the evening too!
£69.00 for two people - book your tickets here.


 New cocktails to try at Kettners

Cocktails at Kettners
Lover of cocktails? Then head to Kettner's where their very talented bartenders have created two exclusive cocktails for 2016's Valentine's period.  Available from 6th - 15th February, tickle your tastebuds with "Lost My Cherry", a tasty martini with a sunken cherry and handmade pink sugar rim or "The Old Soho Fox" a special take on the popular "Old Fashioned". And if you really want to treat your partner then why not indulge in a 3 course special Valentine's meal in the restaurant?
Valentine's day meal £49.50 per person available between 14-15 February visit here to book


Häagen-Dazs - the perfect dessert for a night in

Staying in is the new going out...
Who wants to be squashed between tables at an over crowded restaurant with couples on PDA over load anyway?! Save a fortune and cook your loved one their favourite meal. 

Check out Jamie Oliver's recipes that come with easy to follow recipe videos too http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes. Keep it easy and simple with BBC Food's Valentine Day inspired dishes http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/feature/valentines-day. Or check out food bloggers the Gastro Gays for their indulgent recipes like pumpkin spice duck or homemade kebabs - all with an Irish twist! 

And finally for desert go for something simple but delicious like Häagen-Dazs to tell you about our delicious Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream; soft cheese ice cream, crumbling biscuit that has been blended together to create a version of the classic New York cheesecake. Making this dessert the perfect partner this Valentine’s Day!

Your partner will appreciate all the effort you have gone to and you don't have to spend a fortune. Perfect!



Five Thoughts on Turning 30


Can you guess how old I am...?

Last month I turned 30. Where does the time fly?! The closer I got to my birth date, the more I started thinking about what I had learned and achieved during my (almost) 30 years on earth. Am I happy? Am I older and wiser? Had I followed through on all aspirations and dreams I had set myself? 

Google “turning 30” and there are countless articles about what this should mean and some resonated with me. Yes, university was a fantastic learning experience (in more ways than one) yes, I’m glad I made the time to go travelling and see some amazing countries (and will continue to do so), yes I'm living a more grown up life (happily married, being further along in my career), and as you grow older you realise just how important family is, more than ever. 

All of these points are true and I find I identify with many but I can't help but think these articles based on the idea of “30 things to do before turning 30” if you can't tick off at least half of these amazing "things" makes you feel like a total failure and you're doomed to a life of a loser.

Personally I don’t think you can put a timeline on these things and certain decisions or outcomes in your life are out of your hands. You can do everything you can to make this “thing” happen, set yourself goals (I’m a fan of this!), but sometimes despite all the trying (and non-trying)  in the world, life just doesn’t work out that way.

So instead, I decided to do a blog post on my five thoughts on turning 30 that have resonated with me and wanted to share with my readers. So here are mine:

Relationships are everything – The people you love are the most important things in your life, whether that is family or friendships, these relationships you have with others can help you get through anything. Yes work is important but relationships with family or friends are equally as important too. When things get hectic or times get tough it can be easy to isolate yourself from your loved ones but human beings need each other. That is a fact of life, so why fight it? Reciprocation is key in all relationships, so I aim to make the time and effort to keep up my relationships with family and friends. Try to remember to remind those people close to you that you appreciate them. They may not be around forever…

Be kind – always. Even when you don’t want to, even to those who are not kind to you. Being kind is not only a good act, but showing an act of kindness makes you feel better too. Mother Theresa once said: “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.”  Being kind is more important than being right, or having the last word. Sometimes there is no point in proving to someone that you know the answers when it’s going to cause a riff. Ever heard the saying "silence is golden"? Well use that the next time you want the last word, just be kind and humble instead!

Don't be too hard on yourself - The most important relationship you have is the one with yourself, so why give yourself such a hard time? We put so much pressure on ourselves from everything to our careers, relationships, friendships, even appearances, to achieve an ideal or standard of living. Sometimes it's ok if things don't go according to plan or don't work out. If you ever feel like the pressure is too much, taking time out to focus on yourself and reevaluating your decisions can put things into better perspective. Having a good relationship with yourself gives you important insights into your life. That means the ability to value yourself as a person, and embrace your strengths and weaknesses.  But it also means not to be so hard on yourself too! Everyone makes mistakes, so take the lessons you learned from it and move forward.

Balance your budget – Champagne taste on a beer budget?
Still struggling to manage your money? Then now is the time to start organising this area of your life. It's never too late to get your finances in check and there is lots you can do to get started: start budgeting your monthly spending, open a savings account, build up your credit, check your bank balance regularly are just a few. To get some more ideas, check out useful websites that give practical advice on saving money like Money Saving Expert tips here: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/chat-tips-gold

Give Back - There is nothing more rewarding than lending a helping hand. Being of service to someone in need is probably the most important thing that all of us can do. And selfishly, it makes you feel good.
Plus you never know when you’re going to be that person in need. If you’re looking for ways to give back, check out https://do-it.org/ and https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/i-want-to-volunteer for tips and guidance on where to start.


I hope you find my thoughts on turning 30 useful! These are just a few of the things I've learned along the way, I would love to hear yours! Message below or contact me doyounoah@ymail.com 

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