Siblings – December 2017

Siblings December 2017

I can hardly believe this is the last Siblings post of the year.  This time last year, I wrote about how close my little gang were and about how they would almost always choose to be in one another’s company.  Twelve months later and nine times out of ten I would say that’s still the case.  There’s definitely more bickering now than there was a year ago – mainly Ben and Chloe.  I think she’s less keen to let him have his own way and pushes back against him which means he then shouts at her in an attempt to assert his supposed authority.  They would both happily tell you that they don’t like each other but it’s not true really.

brother and sister December 2017

On the whole they do all really love each other, and they do play really nicely together but I can increasingly see how things might look in another few years when I have a house full of tweens.  I’ve always said that we are really lucky with how well the kids get on but that I know it’s unlikely to last.  I know that at some point they will probably go through a phase of basically hating each other – they will bicker, pick fights and hurt each other – but hopefully they’ll still love each other through that and I will hold onto these days where they were the best of friends!

And of course as the end of the year approaches, it’s only right to look back at a year of Siblings photos:

Siblings 2017

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Making our Wills with Farewill

*This is a commissioned post for Farewill*

So I’m going to ask you a serious question . . . Have you got a will?  According to a YouGov survery quoted in this BBC news article last year, two thirds of British adults don’t have a will . . . are you one of them?  Until tonight I was.  And so was Dave.

It’s not really something any of us want to think about is it?  We don’t want to think that our death could happen any time soon, we’re too busy living our lives now.  But actually, dying without leaving a will can make things really complicated for those left behind.  It’s all too easy to think “Well I don’t really have any assets” or “It will automatically just go to my spouse / kids / sister . . . ” but it’s really not that simple.  If you die without making a will there are rules which dictate how your estate is divided up and who can stake a claim to it – you might find the money going to people you didn’t even know existed.  Equally, if you’re unmarried or not in a registered civil partnership then without a will, your partner wouldn’t be entitled to inherit anything.

When Ben was born, Dave and I asked my sister if she would be his legal guardian should anything happen to us.  She agreed but we’ve never actually got round to making it legal.  If Dave and I were to die tomorrow, with no named legal guardian, we could be putting our children at risk of being taken into care or of complex custody battles – I would like to think that wouldn’t be the case and that our wishes would be adhered to but unless we get it put in writing there is no guarantee.  So regardless of any monetary value in our estate, the children and who might look after them was the single biggest reason we needed to write a will.

Making a will is one of those things you know you’ve got to do but for one reason or another you just don’t get round to it.  I think for Dave and I the main reason has always been financial, I always thought getting a will was expensive and in all honesty there’s always something else to spend the money on isn’t it there – something infinitely more exciting or seemingly urgent than making plans for after your death.

But actually it doesn’t have to be expensive.  Farewill.com offer wills at just £50 and if you make wills as a couple you get a 15% discount  . . . so you can get the whole thing done and dusted for less than £100.

Making a will

As Dave and I were making our wills together – they were extremely similar and essentially just swapped one person’s name for the other.  Often these would take the form of ‘Mirror Wills’ which are similar documents created on behalf of a married, civil partnership or unmarried couple. They are virtually identical Wills where half of the couple leaves their estate to the other in the event of their death.  Farewill doesn’t offer one “mirror will” but instead offers a discounted deal allowing both partners to get separate wills.  Although the end result is the same legally it means each partner has a little more flexibility around the details of personal gifts and messages – for example Dave has listed songs he would like to have played at his funeral and I have included details about my wedding rings.  For more information on this service visit the Farewill couples will page.

Actually making a will with Farewill takes very little time – I think we spent more time on Dave’s as we were checking details and getting used to the site, mine took very little time at all.  Probably around half an hour all in and a total cost of just £85.  Once your will is complete, it is checked by the experts at Farewill and then you must download, print and sign in the presence of witnesses to make the document legally binding.

Making a will with Farewill

So I’ll ask you again . . . do you have a will?  If you’re thinking about making a will with the help of Farewill.com then use the code ADVENTURE30 for a 30% discount (this code expires in June 2018).  With any luck your will won’t be needed for a very long time, but don’t leave it to chance.

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 50 – 2017)

#TriedTested badge

Less than 2 weeks to go!  We don’t finish school till later next week so it’s making it feel like Christmas is ages away when it really isn’t!  This is going to be the last #TriedTested of the year to allow us (and you!) a well earned break over the festive period.  We’ll be back on Tuesday 9th January and hope you’ll join us then!

In case you are new here – let us tell you what Tried & Tested is all about. We all know how useful reviews can be. Most bloggers do them – be it things they have bought themselves or have been asked to review. They are a useful tool for people looking for honest and thorough reviews of products they need, things they are considering buying, or even to introduce people to exciting new products they have never even heard of. You can find out more about how to join in here.

If you have linked up with us before – welcome back! We love having you. Please have a quick read through the points below to remind yourself how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day.

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you.

* If you’d like a Twitter reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop Kate a tweet and she’ll add you to the list.

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

That’s about it – it’s super simple to join in, so crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

Prestige Flowers Christmas Bouquet review from They Grow So Quick. Perfect for bringing that festive feel to your home at this time of year – the colours are beautiful!

#TriedTested featured blogger

Lapland UK review from Life according to Mrs Shilts. With the absolute magic of Christmas in every little detail, this is definitely on our bucket list!

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important

Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up

* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!
* We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out. (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)
We're going on an adventure



The Gruffalo at The Lowry – Review

It’s hard to believe that the magic of the Grufflao has now been part of our lives almost twenty years (it was published in spring 1999 to be precise!).  I remember a friend buying me a copy as a gift when I first started teaching and it has been a staple in both my classroom and at home ever since.

I first saw The Gruffalo live on stage when Ben was just 6 months old, Dave had bought me the tickets for Christmas and I was so excited!  Some eight years later and it was now Amy’s turn to experience the Tall Stories musical adaptation of the much loved picture book.

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

Whilst I’m sure that Ben and Chloe would have thoroughly enjoyed the show too, Amy & I had tickets for a showing during school hours which meant it was a special #MummyandBo adventure which she was very much looking forward to.

The 55 minute performance (with no interval) is recommended for children age 3+ and sticks closely to the original story which, let’s face it, we could probably all just about recite by heart anyway!  I love the way the story is narrated on stage to ensure that the words from the story are interweaved into the performance.

Having seen the show before some years ago I thought I knew what to expect, and to a point I was right, however the show has seen some updates to the script and costumes etc which really kept it fresh despite being so very familiar.

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

The songs are exciting and lively, the characters comical and the acting spot on – Amy was enthralled throughout the performance and I was equally entertained.  So often I find myself enjoying theatre shows through the eyes of my children but this one I enjoyed for myself, watching Amy enjoy it was just an added bonus!

The Gruffalo makes for a great introduction to theatre – being both familiar and exciting and with just the right level of interaction to stop little ones from getting bored or fidgety.

This musical adaptation of this classic picture book is a sure fire hit – you should definitely go and see it.  The Gruffalo is showing at The Lowry until 07.01.18 and tickets are available here.

*We were invited to see The Gruffalo at The Lowry free of charge for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own* 

The Bear at Waterside – Review

 

The Bear runs at Waterside until the 6th of January and tickets are available now.  You can even pre-order a Slumber Pack for £2 containing a carton of milk & a cookie – this was a lovely bonus for the kids and I was quite envious of their little snack!

E.ON Go Online tariff – What could you save?

This post was sponsored by E.ON, to help advertise their wide range of tariffs. Although I was paid for this advertisement, all views are my own.

Our energy bill is a fairly significant expense each month.  At the moment we pay £115 a month by Direct Debit for our gas and electric to run our four bed, two bathroom semi-detached property.  This has been a fairly steady outgoing for quite a while now, we go through fits and starts of trying to be more economical but I think realistically we’re running our house within it’s comfort zone.  We turn things off where we can, we use energy saving light-bulbs (even thought I hate them) and we always make sure the washing machine takes a proper load.

With this in mind, the easiest and most effective way for us to save money on our gas and electric bill is to shop around and change supplier.  This is something I’ve always been pretty hot on and we’ve changed quite a few times over the years but I must admit I’ve become lazy.  The last few times I’ve checked the savings seemed to be minimal so I’ve not bothered, sticking to our fixed tariff and knowing that whilst we might be paying slightly more, at least we’re shielded from any huge price hikes in the near future.

Compared to the Ofgem national average, switching to the E.ON Go Online tariff could save you up to £200 a year.  Just imagine what you could do with a bonus £200 in your pocket!

E.ON asked me to get quote on their site to see just how much I could save it I switched to the E.ON Go Online tariff.  Switching to the E.ON Go Online tariff would save me around £8 a month which doesn’t sound all that much until you add it up and realise it’s a saving of almost £100 a year – that’s a couple of fancy coffees a month, an extra cut & colour a year or a night away with my husband – just for switching energy supplier!

It’s worth pointing out that changing energy suppliers is a far easier job than you might expect – it takes little more than a few clicks and about ten minutes of your time.  You won’t notice any interruption to your service, just who the bill comes from.  Far less complex than changing your TV or broadband provider that’s for sure and even if you only save £22 a year like Jen – as she rightly points out, it’d still get you a fish & chip supper!  You can see how other bloggers would spend their savings (and indeed how much those savings would be) here.

What would you do with the money you saved?

 

New Glasses from Vision Express – Review

I’ve been wearing glasses for the best part of a decade.  Sort of.

My prescription has always been fairly minor – I can legally drive without them but I do find that everything is just that bit sharper, particularly when driving at night.  I had the same pair of glasses for a good few years before losing them.  I didn’t get round to replacing them for quite a long time as I just got used to being without them and, as I say, my prescription is fairly minor.  I tended to just rely heavily on a pair of prescription sunglasses and they have served me really well for driving and outdoor events (though they’re starting to get quite tired now and I will be looking to replace them next year).

I finally got round to getting a new pair of glasses last year when I felt I had noticed a deterioration in my sight.  I popped to my local opticians for an eye test and then bought my glasses in Boots.  This was ultimately a decision based on convenience and price.  It turned out to be a bad one.  Now whether the prescription was at fault or the glasses themselves I’m not sure but after the initial few wears they started to make me feel really sick.  It was suggested to me that as they were a much larger frame than my previous pair this could have made a difference but as my prescription sunglasses were even bigger this didn’t strike me as being very likely.  I soon gave up wearing them preferring tired eyes over nausea which lasted for quite some time after taking the glasses off.

Of course this experience made me apprehensive about buying more glasses.  I knew I needed them but I really didn’t want to be wasting a another couple of hundred pounds on glasses that were going to knock me sick.  Lesson learned, this time I was going to make sure that both my eye test and glasses purchase would be from the same shop – if nothing else it meant I would have some “come back” if the glasses weren’t right.

Ralph Lauren glasses from Vision Express

Discreet Ralph Lauren logo on black frame glasses

Black glasses

I booked an appointment for Vision Express in the Trafford Centre using the Vision Express website, it took me a matter of moments and I got an email confirming my appointment followed by a reminder text a day or so before.

When I arrived at Vision Express for my appointment I was greeted promptly and guided to a waiting area before being invited for my eye health screening – this included a test to give a basic idea of what prescription I might need, the “hideous puff of air in the eye” test which is designed to measure the pressure in the eye and gives valuable information about the health of your eyes.  I completely failed at the retinal photography as the poor lady doing my screening just couldn’t capture an image with my eyes open (story of my life!).  The final test checks your peripheral vision and you basically have to click a button whenever you see lights flashing around a central target – I always feel bizarrely stressed out by this!

Once the eye health screening tests were complete I was met by the Optometrist who took me to do the more standard eye tests involving reading letters on the wall – we discovered I can no longer read the bottom line.  I always find eye test nerve-wracking – what if I get it wrong and end up with the wrong glasses which either don’t work, or make my eyes worse?  You know those moments when you’re being asked “Is this better or this?” and you really can’t decided . . . I definitely had a few of those moments.  The Optometrist was super patient and just kept trying things to make sure that he knew exactly what I needed from my glasses.

Having had my prescription confirmed (with a slight deterioration from the last time I’d had a Vision Express eye test almost 6 years previously) it was time to choose some glasses.  As I knew I would be attending my eye test on my own, I’d actually been quite organised and had visited the store with Dave a couple of weeks earlier to try on some glasses so already knew which ones I wanted.  They weren’t on display but with the help of some photos Dave had taken, the salesperson was able to locate them for me and we agreed that they were the ones for me.  He took some measurements of my face and told me my glasses would be ready in an hour.  An hour!! I know that was always the big selling point of Vision Express in the past but I honestly didn’t realise they still offered that service, I’m used to waiting weeks for new glasses!  There was me thinking that going to be local opticians followed by Boots would be convenient – let me tell you, in comparison to Vision Express it really wasn’t.  I was thoroughly impressed.  I had always thought that Vision Express were really expensive but they had glasses to suit every budget, I could have picked up two pairs for around £100 but, well, you all know I have expensive taste right?  I think you can really tell the difference when you spend more on your glasses and if they’re going to be sat on my face all the time I want them to look nice.  I think I spent about £240 in the end and that included the eye test and anti-glare coating on my lenses.

So . . do you want to see my new glasses?

And the best bit?  They don’t make me sick!  They just make everything look all clean and sparkly.  I flipping love them.  I bet you can’t guess where I’m going for my new sunglasses?

*I was invited for a free eye test and given money towards my new glasses in exchange for review.  All thoughts and opinions remain my own*

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 49 – 2017)

#TriedTested badge

Can you believe it is December? How prepared are you for the big day?

In case you are new here – let us tell you what Tried & Tested is all about. We all know how useful reviews can be. Most bloggers do them – be it things they have bought themselves or have been asked to review. They are a useful tool for people looking for honest and thorough reviews of products they need, things they are considering buying, or even to introduce people to exciting new products they have never even heard of. You can find out more about how to join in here.

If you have linked up with us before – welcome back! We love having you. Please have a quick read through the points below to remind yourself how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day.

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you.

* If you’d like a Twitter reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop Kate a tweet and she’ll add you to the list.

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

That’s about it – it’s super simple to join in, so crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

5 tips to save time wrapping presents from Counting to Ten – I have a LOT to wrap, so this came at the perfect time, and I love the idea of pre cut sellotape!

#TriedTested featured blogger

Hatton Enchanted Christmas Kingdom review from Raisie Bay. This looks like a lovely, family friendly and festive day out, ideal for this time of year!

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important

Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up

* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!
* We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out. (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)
We're going on an adventure



Win a Berghaus waterproof jacket

How prepared are you for the wind and rain this winter? I don’t mind it being cold but I can’t be doing with being wet so a proper waterproof jacket is key for me on the school runs and for our outdoor adventures.  It’s easy to add layers to keep warm but when it comes to staying dry you really need to make sure you’ve got the proper kit.  I remember my Grandad was always fully prepared for the rain with his Peter Storm jacket and waterproof trousers – in fact my Mum still has his trousers and uses them for walking Tilly.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing

This winter I’ve teamed up with Millets and I’m offering you the chance to get prepared for the inevitable downpours by winning a women’s Berghaus waterproof jacket.  The lucky winner will get to choose their jacket from subject to availability (if product selected is not available, a suitable alternative will be selected).

Complete the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win your choice of women’s Berghaus waterprooof jacket from Millets – Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you need to stock up on waterproof gear for the rest of the family then check out what Millets & Berghaus have got to offer here – all three of mine have Berghaus waterpoof jackets and they’re fab!

Me & Mine – November 2017

I can’t tell you how last minute this month’s photo is . . . that fact that there is only one photo proves the point!  We basically piled on the stairs right before bedtime to take a cheeky selfie.

It’s so hard to find time to take photos at this time of year, at least time during daylight!  It’s dark by the time Dave gets home from work, in fact it’s not far off getting dark by the time we’re home from school.  And then during the week we have activities on almost every night, swimming three nights a week, dance lessons, Beavers, Cubs . . . it’s never ending.

Me & Mine November 2017

Dave is loving

* Eating pizza in Venice
* Devouring a Yorkshire Pudding wrap
* A double night out on the lash
* Paddling in St Mark’s Square

Colette is loving

*  Blanket scarves
* A beautiful new green leather bag from Venice
* Seeing both my girls standing up in Celebration Assembly on the same day
* Time with friends
* Venice

Ben is loving

* Going for his first proper curry
* Being reader of the week
* Making people laugh

Chloe is loving

* Sweet Dream – Beyonce
* Her beautiful new red coat
* Being picked to be a narrator in the school Nativity
* Getting a special mention in Celebration Assembly
* Going out for her first curry

Amy is loving
* Her first proper curry
* Her first special mention in Celebration Assembly
* Her first proper birthday party
* A naan as big as her
* A two week birthday celebration

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

*Contains affil