Surprising (and not so surprising!) Ways That Couples Spend Valentines Day

Do you spend Valentines Day on a romantic date with your partner, or are you a Valentines ‘grinch’ who would rather forget it even exists? Do you plan months in advance, or go with the flow? And parents, do you reach for the phone to call the babysitter or do you include the entire family in the occasion? Read on to find out what these couples do…

Date Night At Home

A date night at home is a popular choice. Some couples, such as Angela from The Inspiration Edit, and Kate from Modern Mum, love to chill at home with a bottle and a movie with their partner. Katie from REOLife agrees, she also opts for a simple night in, doing some gaming together and watching a movie. As Angela says

“Chilling out is lovely, and just spending time together on an evening when we are usually so busy is a special thing to do.”

 

The Family Occasion

Devon Mama jokes that she just wants hubby to take the baby so she can sleep! But in reality they tend to cook a meal together and buy each other a card. This year that will extend to their little one too, to start his Valentines Day card collection early! Tracey from Witts in the Wild also likes to involve their daughter too…

“My husband usually buys flowers for both me and my daughter, and buys her a soft toy with a love heart, we decorate the table and the walls and have a themed dinner together making it special for the three of us.”

 

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The Couples- Only Night

Nomipalony on the other hand explains why Valentines Day is important couple-only time for them and they prefer to go out; they grab a babysitter and splash out on a fancy restaurant…

“We always celebrate valentines as both of our birthdays and anniversary are all in the same week, so we never end up celebrating our anniversary; so Valentines makes up for that in our house. It’s not about the kids at all for us, it’s mammy and daddy time so usually we will arrange for a babysitter and head to a really nice restaurant for a lovely meal and drinks. The past two years we have been to a Michelin starred restaurant for their tasting menu. We normally wouldn’t be able to justify the expense of that so its a real treat for us and we are both foodies so we love it.”

 

The Sentimentals

Many couples like to return to a spot that means somewhere to them as a couple personally; for example the place where they met, or proposed, or maybe even shared their first kiss! Laura from Oh So Mummy and her fiance, who go to the pub where they first met to reminisce. How cute!

 

The Mutual Interest/ Hobby Date

Some couples choose to spend the day or evening doing something that may not be typically romantic, but is a hobby or activity that they both enjoy doing together so is the perfect way to celebrate for them personally. For example, Kirsty from Life With Boys intends to spend Valentines Day at the Bingo, which is somewhere she enjoys going with her partner.

We’re 23 going on 80, plus who will ever turn down the chance to win the valentines jackpot….

 

The Surprise Date

Whether it is the same person who organises the date each time, or the pair take it in turns to arrange, some couples opt not to decide together and instead one person surprises the other. Such as Ed, who surprises Emma- Louise from Even Angels Fall each year with something different. He has made it tradition to choose something that is not considered typically romantic, but ironically this idea in itself has a rather unusual but romantic ring to it. She tells me:

We’ve been horse riding and to a shooting range so far. No idea what this year will be but looking forward to the surprise. It’s nice to do something not typically romantic on Valentine’s Day and it’s become our tradition.

 

Something Different

A day out is another nice way to enjoy Valentines Day. There are lots of possibilities, such as the zoo, or even a theme park for example. Beth from Twinderelmo agrees this is a great idea, this year they are going to the Harry Potter studios. Very romantic!

 

The Grinches

Jen and her fella are being somewhat more unromantic about Valentines Day this year; rather than their usual meal, he is going to football and she will be at at home watching TV with a cuppa! Trying to rivel them in the grinch stakes is Emma from Me and B Make Tea who will spend the evening blogging whilst her partner plays xbox! Now that is romance 😉 They are not alone though; many people view Valentines Day as an over-commercialised money-making exercise and choose to ignore the whole thing! Duvet day until it’s all over anyone?

 

So what type of Valentines Day couple are you?! I would love to know in the comments below!

#2poundchallenge – The £2 Food Challenge with Zamcog and Voucherbox 

Can I feed myself for £2 for one day?

That was the challenge set by Voucherbox. The purpose of this challenge is to raise money for the charity Zamcog, whose goal is to support Zambia’s most at-risk children through food and education. It costs £2 to feed and educate a child in Zambia every day, and for each #2poundchallenge post published, Voucherbox will donate £50 to Zamcog. That supports a vulnerable child for nearly a month! The challenge also aims to encourage people to think about their own food spending and waste too. 

How could I possibly say no? Of course I jumped straight onboard! So here is how I fed myself for £2 for one day (shopping from Sainsburys)…

Morning Smoothie (Breakfast)

Frozen Summer Fruits (500g £2.00) 50g 20p 

Fairtrade banana 16p each

Apple (family pack of 11 £1.75) 16p each

Small handful mixed seeds 6p 

Kale (500g £2) 10g 4p

(Almond milk £1 per litre) 100 ml 10p

= 72p

Lunch (Jacket with Beans)

Basics baked beans in tomato sauce (25p) 1/2 can 13p

Small baked potato 22p

= 35p

Dinner (Vegetable Cous Cous) 

Vegetable stock cubes (10 x 10g 65p) 7p

Cous cous (1kg £1.20) 200g 24p

Chargrilled mediterranean vegetables – aubergine, courgette, red & yellow peppers (500g £1.60) 100g 32p

Carrots (1kg 50p) 2 carrots finely sliced/ grated) 8p

Brocolli (335g 45p) 1/3 15p

Beansprouts (400g 65p) 40g 7p

= 93p

Total = £2

#2poundchallenge, two pound challenge, food challenge, Voucherbox, Zamcog, charity, fundraising, blogger, Living Life Our Way, campaigns, causes

I found it easier than I thought to do this for myself for one day, but it would have been a harder challenge to do it as a family, and I think I would also struggle to do it for long to be honest! However, I was able to still have my breakfast smoothie, albeit abit smaller than usual, that is packed with nutrition and sets me up for the day. I was also able to stick to my usual diet of mainly vegan and raw food, but did have to opt for frozen choices rather than all fresh in order to maintain eating a variety of fruit and vegetables within the small budget set.

It did make me think about how I could reduce my shopping budget though, which I will try to take onboard. I do often freeze fresh fruit and veg just before it goes off already, so this helps to minimise waste and cut down on costs. Also, if I had been doing this challenge at another time of year, I could have used alot of home-grown food. But I enjoyed taking on this challenge and I am thrilled to be able to use my blog to raise money for such a great cause too! 

Are you a blogger who would like to raise £50 for Zamcog? If so, why not take part in the #2poundchallenge too!

The (Not So) Little One Tag

I was tagged by Amy & Tots to do this fun quiz with Squiggle. Here are the questions, and her answers…

What is the best thing about being 8?

Lots of things! Having Pierre the seal!!! (Beanie boo cuddly toy). All of my Christmas presents!

What makes you laugh?

When daddy was still dancing after the music stopped!

Who do you love and Why?

Loads of people! I need to think about that question, it’s a very tricky question. Erm… mummy, daddy and the cuddler (a cuddly toy seal) because he jumps for cuddles!

Whats your favourite book?

Sylvanian catalogue

Favourite Food?

Don’t know.

Favourite Song?

I can’t pick one favourite, I love them all! If I had to pick one I would pick the seal song.

Favourite Outfit?

All my clothes.

Favourite Tv Programme?

N/A

Favourite Toy?

Big Pierre (the beanie boo cuddly toy seal). I just about picked! Obviously that is just one of my favourites, I love all of my toys!

Favourite thing to do?

Ah, so many things! Erm, obviously this is just one example because I have so many favourite things to do! Seeing the seals at Donna Nook. And going to Sealife Centre.

Donna Nook, The Wildlife Trusts, Lincolnshire, seals, pupping season, Living Life Our Way, days out
Donna Nook

Thanks for taking part Squiggle!

I now tag the following fab mamas to take part with their littlies…

Home with Mrs Harvey

Mayflower Blogs

 All The Beautiful Things

Mumma Hub

Emmys Mummy

Valentines Day: What Do Women Really Want?

Do you celebrate Valentines Day? And if so, how? Of course everyone is different, and no doubt there is no exception when it comes to this special occasion, but Rattan Direct are seeking to discover more about Valentines Day preferences and habits by carrying out a survey. 

(Click here to take the survey)

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The survey asks questions such as how and where you would choose to spend Valentines Day, how much your budget usually is, who you think should organise and pay for the date, and what your thoughts are on this special occasion. Do you think it is all a making money con, or do you throw your heart and soul into it? Would you rather go out to the cinema, have a nice meal, head to a bar for a few drinks, snuggle on the sofa for a cosy night in, or spend the evening having some time to yourself? Do you think under £100 is ample enough budget or do you splash the cash to the extreme and budget £500 plus for it?!

Personally, I think the budget range should have started much lower; the first option was 0-£100, which I honestly think is a massive range and imagine most people I know would fall somewhere in this category probably! If I were celebrating, I would say a budget (well) under £50 would be enough.

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I personally think both people in a couple should treat each other equally, so if one person organises and pays then that shouldn’t always be the same person! Or plan the ideal night together and split the cost. For me, equality all the way…

As for what I would choose to do, all of the options sounded nice to be honest! I think it’s more about spending time together than about what you do specifically. 

And what do I think of Valentines Day generally? Well, I think it’s nice for couples to spend time together obviously! But I also think that should be something that occurs regularly, not just a big gesture on one day of the year. I admit that I do think Valentines Day is over commercialised, but then again, it is what you choose to make it!

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.*

Bakerdays Letterbox Cake: Review and Competition

When bakerdays tweeted me asking if I would like to review their letterbox gift cake I was quite excited! Admittedly, I am not a particularly big fan of cake generally (I know, I know… it’s weird) but I was really intrigued by the concept of a cake that can literally be delivered straight through the letterbox. Would that really work?! I had to find out. And I knew that Squiggle would jump at the chance to share some cake with me too!

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The website is very user-friendly and there is a massive selection of designs to choose from for all different occasions, including options to personalise with text or an image. I spent ages trying to pick my favourite design because there are so many great choices! 

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I finally settled on this design with my own personal message that I knew would make Squiggle giggle…

bakerdays, letterbox cake, Valentines Day, special occasion, gift, dairy-free cake, gluten-free cake, review

There were a selection of sponges to choose from too. I really like the fact that all of the designs in their entire range can be ordered as a gluten-free or dairy-free option, rather than there being a restricted selection of choices, as is often the case. It is worth noting that the dairy-free option is not vegan, as it does contain eggs. 

bakerdays, letterbox cake, Valentines Day, special occasion, gift, dairy-free cake, gluten-free cake, review

Whilst we avoid gluten as much as we can, medically we do not need to be strict about it, so I decided on the dairy-free option instead. We do generally try to eat as closely to vegan as we can manage anyway but, apart from anything else, I was keen to test how the dairy-free version tasted! 

The cake didn’t take long to arrive and, as promised, it plopped through my letterbox without fuss. The box landed face down and I must say I felt a slight wave of anticipation, as well as excitement, as I picked it up to check the contents! 

bakerdays, letterbox cake, Valentines Day, special occasion, gift, review

I need not have worried; the cake comes very well packaged, secured in a cake tin, inside the cardboard box. It also has plastic packaging to keep it fresh and well protected within the tin itself. It even has thoughtful instructions on how to remove it carefully without damage!

bakerdays, letterbox cake, Valentines Day, special occasion, gift, dairy-free cake, gluten-free cake, review

The cake itself was delicious! The sponge was light and fluffy, with a lovely buttery filling (which incidently is on the bottom of the cake as opposed to in the middle, due to the letterbox design!) and the icing was soft and tasty. Squiggle was very impressed too; she declared “thank you for sending the cake, I love it!” 

We demolished it pretty quickly, but the 5″ letterbox size is easily big enough for 3 or 4 generous portions, as it suggests. We really enjoyed it.

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I like the novelty factor of getting a cake delivered directly through the letterbox, it was nicely presented and it was yummy too! So I think a letterbox cake would make a great unique gift for Valentines Day, or any other occasion.

bakerdays, letterbox cake, Valentines Day, special occasion, gift, dairy-free cake, gluten-free cake, review

For more information about bakerdays…

Websitewww.bakerdays.com

Facebookfacebook.com/bakerdays

Twitter: @bakerdays

Last but not least; to be in with a chance to win a 5″ letterbox gift cake in your choice of design, enter my giveaway via the rafflecopter app below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends at midnight on 8th February 2017. Open to UK residents only. Prize will be sent out by 1st class Royal Mail. Other T&Cs apply. (See rafflecopter for details).


*Disclosure: bakerdays sent me a free letterbox cake for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Home Security Tips For Peace of Mind

It’s that time of year when people are thinking about booking a holiday, and starting to plan ahead for their next trip. As stated on Police.uk homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures. Therefore if you spend alot of time on days out or travelling, or if you are simply planning  your next holiday, it is important to think about home security. There are many ways to leave your home more secure when unattended. Here are some top tips for home security to leave you feeling reassured while away from home… 

home security, travel, days out, holidays, living life our way
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Simple Measures

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked, including gates.
  • Leave keys and valuables out of sight.
  • Be part of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme or informally agree with neighbours to look out for each others’ properties.
  • Have a visible security system in place, such as this Panasonic outdoor camera.
home security, travel, days out, holidays, home, living life our way
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Night Security

  • Arrange for curtains to be drawn at night then opened in the morning.
  • Make sure you have good outdoor lighting. Outdoor solar lights are relatively cheap and eco friendly.
  • Put indoor lights on a timer or use an app to control them.
home security, travel, holidays, planning trips, home, living life our way
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Holidays/ Travelling

  • Arrange for Royal Mail to hold your post using their keepsafe service. (Or ask a trusted friend/ neighbour to keep it safe for you).
  • Have a neighbour park their vehicle in your driveway.
  • Avoid using pet sitting companies that advertise their services on their vehicle – this also alerts potential thieves that you are away!
  • Avoid talking about specific details of your travel plans publicly or posting about it on social media.
  • Remember all of the simple security measures and night security tips above also apply here too. 

    Happy travels everyone! Do you have any top tips to share?

    This is a sponsored post. It also contains an affiliate link. 

    The Bedtime Tag

    What are your worst sleep habits? Do you have a bedtime routine? I have been tagged by the fabulous Lynette at Reclusive Fox to share my bedtime secrets with you all! Here goes…

    Describe your usual bedtime routine.

    I don’t really have one personally. My daughter has created her herself one that includes me, but I don’t have my own.

    What are your favourite pyjamas?

    I don’t wear pyjamas per se, I usually sleep in vest tops (or a long sleeve tshirt if it is cold) and leggings.

    What is your current bedtime reading?

    Erm, twitter and facebook? LOL 😉

    What would I find on your bedside table?

    Nothing, I don’t have one.

    What scent makes you sleepy?

    Fresh bed linen!

    What is your usual bedtime and wakeup time?

    It varies because of my daughter’s additional needs. But generally speaking, I tend to be a night owl. I am NOT a morning person.

    What are your top three bedtime products?

    Erm… my bed, my pillow and a duvet sound like good answers to me lol!

    What is your most common sleeping position?

    On my side.

    Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

    My phone. I know, I know….

    What is your worst bedtime habit?

    See above. I have a bad habit of looking at my phone in bed! 


    The Bedtime Tag, #thebedtimetag, sleep, blogger, about me, living life our way

    I now tag the following lovely bloggers to take part:

    Coco Butter Blog

    Hello Wanderer 

    Johanna Montana

    Becster

    The Amphletts

    Beauty And The Bird

    The Bedtime Tag Questions

    Describe your usual bedtime routine.

    What are your favourite pyjamas?

    What is your current bedtime reading?

    What would I find on your bedside table?

    What scent makes you sleepy?

    What is your usual bedtime and wakeup time?

    What are your top three bedtime products?

    What is your most common sleeping position?

    Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

    What is your worst bedtime habit?


    The Bedroom Tag Rules

    • Thank the person who nominated you, and link back to their blog.
    • Display the Bedtime badge; which you can find at the top of this post. (save the picture)
    • Answer the ten questions included above.
    • Nominate between three and five fellow bloggers to take part, and set them the questions.

    Bidvine: Connecting Customers With Service Providers Needed

    Bidvine is a tech start-up based in London that connects customers to the local service providers they require. Like most people, I don’t have spare time to spend looking up services and getting quotes when I need something done. This website takes the hassle out of it and is a real time saver!

    Bidvine, tech start-up, local service providers, mobile app, making life easy, general life, living life our way, review

    It is really quick and easy to use; you simply type in your postcode and the specifications of the service you require, submit your request, then wait for the bids to come in. It is simple to do this via the website on desktop, tablet or mobile, or you can download the app if you have an IOS.

    Bidvine, tech start-up, local service providers, customer journey, making life easy, general life, living life our way, review

    I have been thinking about getting some professional headshots done, since I am determined to continue developing my blog further this year. However, it always ends up being put lower down my priority list, and therefore not getting arranged, because it takes time to organise and there is always so much else to do. But with Bidvine, I just pulled out my mobile, tapped in my postcode and selected that I need a photographer. It then asked me a series of questions in order to ensure that the service would meet my requirement; such as budget, travelling distance or whether I wanted them to come to me and a few other details. They were tick boxes and only took a few seconds to answer, it really was so straightforward.

    Bidvine, tech start-up, local service providers, finding a photographer, time saver, life hacks, living life our way, review
    An example of the specification questions.

    Once I had submitted my request, it was simply a case of waiting for photographers to email me with their details, while I continue with my busy daily life. Simple!

    Bidvine, tech start-up, finding a photographer, local service provider, time saver, life hack, living life our way, review, useful website, local services app, general life

    Generally, responses take anywhere from 4 hours to four days. However, I was surprised to find bids came in almost immediately, and I was contacted by five different photographers within a few hours. They all met my exact criteria and provided all the relevant information without the need for further correspondence. So it was then just a case of comparing them and choosing one. It made the entire process incredibly quick and stress-free. Great life hack! 

    Bidvine covers a range of services too. You can search for anything from cleaners to painters, and piano lessons to plumbers. I can see myself using this alot in future because it is so user-friendly and makes life so much easier!

    Find Bidvine here:

    Website: www.bidvine.com

    IOS app: itunes.apple.com

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/Bidvine

    Twitter handle: @bidvine

    Instagram: www.instagram.com/bidvine


    This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Bidvine. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


    Reasons Why I Am #RockingMotherhood

    Parenting is hard. And it is easy to focus on the mistakes we make, the things we haven’t done and the things we could do better. All too often we criticise ourselves, and give ourselves a hard time, rather than celebrating our own achievements as a parent, the things we did right and how much we actually rock! So I really appreciate both Mama Wilkos and The Baby Boat Diaries tagging me to write this post about the reasons why I am, in fact, rocking motherhood

    • I know my child. Ok, this sounds like I am stating the obvious, I’ll admit. But she is a very complex child with some major additional needs, and I really get her. It doesn’t always make it any easier to deal with of course, but at least I understand exactly where she is coming from!
    • I am her mum, teacher, friend and therapist. I am her rock. I am even her business partner! I do my best to be absolutely everything she needs me to be.
    • I have taught myself the extra skills that I need to support her as fully as I possibly can with her needs, including CBT. 
    • I have adapted our lifestyle and carved out our own path to better suit her unique needs, even though it isn’t always easy to go against the grain. 
    • I support her in finding and developing her true passions in life, and to follow her interests.
    • I give her the freedom to learn at her own pace, and allow her the time and space to enjoy a raw simple childhood.
    • I teach her to be comfortable and confident with herself and who she is. 
    • I make sure she is never afraid to fail or try out new ideas.
    • I help her to be a solution-focused, free thinker who throws away the box completely! 
    • I nurture her sense of wonder and exploration of our natural environment and the world around us, and teach her how to protect it. 

    RockingMotherhood

    I tag the following awesome mamas to take part in this challenge too!

    Friendly First Foods

    Me Becoming Mum

    Better Together Home

    Cups Of Charlotte 

    Mrs Mummy Harris 

    Rules

    • Thank the blogger(s) who tagged you and link to their blog.
    • List 10 things you believe make you a good mother (This is just a guideline, it can be more or less, I really don’t mind)
    • Tag 3 – 5 bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.
    • Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.

    If you would like to, you can also tweet your post to me at @followourpath and/or @whitecamellias (the lovely mum who started this challenge). We would love to read them and RT for you! 

    My Hopes and Wishes For 2017

    ​Moving on slightly from my new year resolution post, I was kindly tagged by Devon Mama and Friendly First Foods to share my wishes for 2017 in different areas of my life. I am grateful to be involved in this because it helps me to focus on my aims for this year; I do like to set myself goals, as I said previously! 

    Hopes and wishes, 2017, goals, about me, blogging, family, twenty wishes

    Personal Wishes

    • To make time to dance, go to gigs, listen to music; do the things I love.
    • To meet more like-minded people and build new friendships.
    • To try new activities/ do different things/ go to new places; be adventurous!
    • To volunteer at a couple of events.
    • To keep developing myself and continue with my inner growth.

    Blog Wishes

    • To increase my reach, so that more lovely people read my blog!
    • To meet some more fellow bloggers in real-life, maybe even make it to one of the blogging events this year.
    • To start my nature linky, which will motivate me to post regularly about our outdoor adventures. It will also help me become more organised about blogging too!
    • To continue my guest series ‘A Quick Cuppa With….’ because it is a lovely way to connect with other bloggers and support small businesses, plus it helps me to have scheduled posts in advance!
    • To seek out more paid opportunities as my blog continues to grow. 

    Family Wishes

    • To organise a good balance of home ed activities that interest and develop Squiggle, whilst giving her plenty of freedom and the flexibility needed, to meet her needs.
    • To explore some new days out, such as Kew Gardens for example.
    • To have a family holiday.
    • To expand our etsy shop to sell more sustainable clothing with Squiggle’s own designs.
    • To continue taking an active role role in protecting our environment.

    Hopes and Wishes

    • That 2017 is a peaceful year.
    • That we stay happy and healthy.
    • That we are able to overcome challenges and find solutions.
    • That we maintain our sense of wonder for the world around us.
    • That we set a good example and inspire.

    So that’s my list of hopes and dreams for 2017! 

    I tag the following lovely bloggers to take part too…

    Han Plans

    Waffle Mama

    The Amphletts

    Big Family Little Adventures

    Life As Mrs D

    Five Little Doves

    Mummy Miller
    I look forward to reading your posts!