Thursday, 24 April 2014

My Top Twitter Tips

This week I reached a milestone of 3000 Twitter followers - and was asked if I had any tips.  When I first started to use Twitter I just didn't "get it" but I love it now (this is probably clear by the 15.3k tweets . . .)    

I'm by no means an expert but here's my Top Twitter Tips (oooh I love a bit of alliteration!) 

1. Interact with people! 
Don't just follow them for the sake of numbers. Follow people or brands that you're interested in and talk to them! Mostly they will follow you back.

2. Have a regular tidy up
If you get stuck at a follow limit (eg the inital limit of 2k) then use Flitter (or similar) to clear out inactive accounts - you'd be surprised how many accounts you follow that don't actually tweet any more. 

3. Be interesting
Share interesting things, retweet the stuff that makes you laugh, start conversations - Twitter is also great for getting a quick response to a question.

4. Understand that it moves fast! 
Twitter moves SO quickly, you will never keep up with everything. Every time I log onto Twitter the first thing I do is have a quick check of my notifications to see if there's anything I need to respond to before having a skim of my feed to see what's been going on. Don't be offended if people don't respond to things.

5. Be nice 
Don't litter your tweets with profanities. Rant a bit if you need to but Twitter is not the place to get into a row with someone - there's not enough characters to make your point clearly for a start.  In all seriousness though just remember that your Twitter feed is pretty public, don't say anything you wouldn't want you grandma or boss to read! (Or in my case my Dad who likes to have a good nose at my Twitter feed occasionally) 

If you want to bob on over to Twitter & say Hi I'd love to see you @Lollinski

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Natwest "Cost of Raising a Child Calculator" & Competition

Natwest have created a tool entitled "Cost of Raising a Child Calculator".  The idea is to provide users with an estimate of just how much a new child or their existing children are costing them . . . 
My initial reaction when I was first introduced to this tool was that I don't think I really want to know how much my children are going to cost me! How many Mulberry handbags could I have for that? But would I swap them? No. We are absolutely brassic but I wouldn't swap them for the world.  I don't care how much they're going to cost me - that's not something I think about.

However as I thought more about it I started to see that perhaps it might be useful as a budgeting tool. 

Natwest Cost of Rainsing a Child Calculator
(Click the image to be taken directly to the tool on the Natwest website)

I filled out the calculator initially for Amy but I don't think it's particularly accurate for her at the moment as she's not costing me anything for food, childcare etc.  Also with her being the third child a lot of the other associated costs - pram, furniture, clothes etc are hand me downs so she's supposedly thousands of pounds under the national average.  

Chloe works out at around 18k under the national average. Again I suppose some of this is due to having spent a good chunk of money the first time round so plenty of toys and equipment are already sorted.    There's also a good amount of money saved in how much I spend on childcare at the moment - with being on maternity leave this is considerably less than it would be if I was working full time.  I'd love to be working on the national average of spending £70 a month on clothes?! Who has that money to spend!  Chloe would have a spectacular wardrobe if I had that much to spend each month. 

Ben came out over 150k short of the national average but for a start this included 8k on school fees - I don't think that's a strictly accurate statement as the "national average" - surely the majority don't pay school fees? Also I was completing it based on our current situation - minimal childcare, no pocket money etc. I can see that he would be costing me an awful lot more in another few years time. 

The calculator is definitely interesting and gives food for thought.  If nothing else I was really surprised to see how we measured up to the national average.  

So now it's your turn . . . 

How would you like to win a Harrods teddy and champagne? 

Try the "Cost of Raising a Child Calculator" for yourself and then complete the rafflecopter options for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer - I have received no compensation for writing this post*

Win tickets to The Baby Show, Birmingham - Competition

Next month The Baby Show, the number one pregnancy and parenting event in the UK makes its return to the NEC Birmingham.  I cannot tell you how excited I am to be going again this year. Last time I went to The Baby Show in Birmingham Ben was less than a year old.  I've since been to the show in Manchester twice which was great but not on the same scale as the Birmingham show. 

I'm looking forward to being able to explore everything from infant essentials from top brands like Fisher Price and Tommee Tippee to new and innovative baby products - I may be on my third baby but that doesn't mean I know it all by any stretch and there's so many products which are new to the market which I'm looking forward to investigating.  One of the things I love most about The Baby Show is meeting the faces behind the products - the people with the passion to really demonstrate and explain them to you. 

Some of the experts attending this year's Show to offer their wealth of experience and advice include Professor Robert Winston, Clare Byam-Cook, Annabel Karmel, Jo Tantum, The Natal Family and Xaviera Plas Plooij.

One of my favourite features of The Baby Show is the Creche - I've used it at the Manchester Show each time to leave Ben with his best friend Finley, while Mich and I crack on with shopping in peace.  It makes life so much easier and let's face it - where was he going to have more fun?  

I'm thrilled to be able to offer you the chance to win a pair of tickets for the day of your choice. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're not lucky enough to win you can take advantage of a great special offer:  Just enter code SPR here to purchase tickets at the reduced price of £11.95 instead of the standard £20 price.

Win competitions at

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Welcome to another Tried & Tested Tuesday!

If you're new to this linky then welcome along! You can find out more about it and how to join in here
If you're a regular then welcome to you too! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love - lets face it, that's what makes linkys work.

Each week, as you know, we like to feature two of our favourite reviews from the previous week.
This week we have loved:

Little Tikes Learn to Turn scooter review from The Oliver's Madhouse. It looks like SO much fun!

Babes with Babies dress review from Mummy Whiskers. It's a gorgeous dress and so versatile.

If you link up please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We're going on an adventure to leave a comment as well as a couple of others if you can!  We do our best during the course of the week to visit you all, leave a comment and tweet your review from @FamilyFever and @Lollinski using the #TriedTested hashtag.  We would of course love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too!

This linky is hosted by Kate at Family Fever and Colette at We're going on an adventure.

We're going on an adventure

Monday, 21 April 2014

Degustabox March - Review

We reviewed our first Degustabox last month (you can read about it here
I was looking forward to seeing what would be in this month's box of lovely goodies! Like I said last month, I love the idea of a surprise and discovering new things that I might not have otherwise tried.
The foods were carefully packed to try and minimize damage but unfortunately some of the more fragile items suffered a bit in transit. 
What was in the box: 
1. Drink Me Chocolate Chai & Tea:Latte - I'm not a tea drinker and couldn't bring myself to try these but have passed them to my Mum to give them a go instead!
2. Tyrells Popcorn - Not the cheapest popcorn in the world but lovely just the same! I'm still getting used to the whole sweet / salty thing that seems to be en vogue at the moment.
3. Moma! Porridge pots - I love a good bowl of porridge to get the day started.  These pots are great for mornings when you're in a rush and need to eat breakfast at your desk (they're far too expensive for daily consumption at £1.50 a pot when a normal bag of porridge oats is probably about the same price and will last forever!)
4. Shaken Udder flavoured milk - I'm sure it will come as no surprise to read that these were quickly eyed up and consumed by Ben and Chloe! Ben loved the chocolate milk (and has since convinced me to buy more) but the strawberry and banana were somewhat less well received (in fact neither carton was actually finished).  I'm not a fan of flavoured milk as a rule but I don't mind it as an occasional treat.

5. Mexican Dave's Tortilla chips - Unfortunately these really didn't cope well with the journey and arrived very squashed.  We used them to make a Nacho dish which I'll write about later in this post!

6. Schwartz Flavour Shots - These look great and we can't wait to try them - they look to make a great store cupboard staple. 
7. Organico pasta - This is still sat in the cupboard but I'm sure it will get used! Who doesn't eat pasta?!
8. Organico Pasta Sauce - I've not tried this myself but Ben and Chloe certainly didn't turn their noses up at it - empty plates all round! 

What we loved:
* Again there was a good mix of products - considerably more "meal" focused this month than the previous "snacky" theme of the month before.
* This time almost all of the brands were new to me. 
* Again most of the products in the box are "store cupboard" type items to there's no rush to get them all used at once. 
* There were no problems with delivery this time - my box turned up as expected with a text to confirm beforehand.

What we weren't so keen on: 
* The crisps were completely squashed despite their best efforts to pack them carefully.
This month we decided to try out one of the enclosed recipe cards and Dave set about making "Dave's legendary loaded nachos". (I should point out that was what the recipe was called and not just us naming in that!!)  We both love nachos and would often order them as a starter to share but have never really attempted to make them at home.  
The recipe was easy to follow (not that nachos would ever be complex) and very tasty - we LOVED our dinner!  (The only downside being that we had to buy extra crisps to top up the ones that came in the box as they had been so squashed!) 

Tell me you're not drooling over that!

Again I can't wait to see what comes next month!

If you'd like to try a Degustabox for yourself you can use the code V73IL for a £3 discount.

You can find more about Degustabox here: 
We're going on an adventure
*Disclaimer - We were sent a Degustabox free of charge for the purposes of review but all thoughts & opinions are my own*

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