M&S Summer Beauty Box – Is it worth the money?

In between rugby training for the 4 year old and strategic buggy-bound nap times for the 11 month old, I dodged the rain on Saturday and headed into Marks and Spencer for a little look around. I haven’t been into retail stores for an age. To be honest, those days of mooching around the shops at a leisurely pace are but whimsical fancy these days – I’m either at work or with the kidlets and it’s probably good for my bank balance for it to be that way.

There’s something about M&S that is warm and reassuring – the smell of fresh coffee from the cafe, the warm smiles from the staff (who by the way are the best of the best when you have kids in tow) and just that general sense of good quality. Clearly though, as a mum, the first priority is to go to the kids section. The standard mummy internal narrative of ‘how can I possibly spend my hard earned cash on myself before the kids’ took precedence as I found myself selecting matching lobster t-shirts (cute as) along with multi packs of 12-18 month vests that will constantly be in the washer due to the littlest ones propensity for a rather explosive digestive system.

As I went to pay for these essential purchases slightly sad that my youngest will shortly no longer be categorized in the 0-12 month baby section (sob), the cheery lady on the checkout admired the sleeping not-such-a-little-baby-baby and pointed out the M&S Summer Beauty Box offer. I’m not really one for impulse checkout purchases and have always thought of these boxes as being full of sample sized stuff that I’m never going to use.

M&S Beauty Box

Well slap me with some ginseng moisturizer and call me atlantic kelp converted. There is a minimum spend of £40 (fairly easily done if you have a penchant for matching lobster tshirts like me) but for £15 you get £135.00 worth of products. And they are not sample sizes. There’s a full size perfume, nail polish and lipstick in there for a start. I found some great hair products that are actually really nice (is it just me but I never know where to start with hair products) and a bunch of really nice treats, all of which I’ll definitely use.

And so as I was pondering over these delights, the sales assistant delivered the killer line. “You should make sure you treat yourself, not just the children’. Yes you well trained M&S lovely person, yes I should. And as I handed over my card to be swiped, I thought why not get a little treat for myself. I work bloomin’ hard in the office and am dedicated to the cause of nose wiping during my ‘non-working’ time. Whats a little Deep Sleep Pillow Spray between friends.

And was it worth the £15.00? Hell yes it was. I would totally recommend that if you have a few things to get from M&S, you treat yourself too – for £15 it’s an absolute steal!

If my renewed love for M&S means I’m hurtling towards middle age then I’m embracing it. And for the record,  I also have a National Trust membership to engender my aspiring-working-class-on-the-edge-of-forty status.

You can check out the beauty box here and see what’s inside for yourself.

*This post was not sponsored or gifted in any way, I just surprised myself as to how much I loved the box and wanted to share the love!

Mummy Sleep Deprivation – Top 3 Survival Tips

Wake up coffee

As a mum of a 4 year old and 10 month old, the sleep deprivation struggle has at times been real. Those early days of motherhood when you’re feeding your little one every 2 hours is really bloody hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But, those 2 hourly sessions do quickly become 3 hours (I promise!) and then you might actually get a 4 hour stretch in the middle of the night and immediately feel like a new women who can take on the world!

I was certainly fuelled by caffeine and sugar during those early days with my two but I do think the older they get, the more complicated the sleep dynamic can occasionally become. Firstly, they lull you into a false sense of security. When your little one first arrives, one of the main topics of conversation is ‘oooo, how’s the sleep thing going?’. After a few months of feeling like the walking dead, you do finally get over the line of regular 6-12 hour sleep. And then ‘sleep regression’ kicks in. You know it’s an actual thing when it has a relatable title. But that too shall pass (thanks to controlled crying in my case – I know, how controversial am I) and as you start to state your child’s age in years not months, you confidently feel that those sleep deprived days are behind you and give yourself a self congratulatory pat on the back for your excellent parenting.

And then they start waking up in the night again. A lot. And that false sense of security they lulled you into is quickly replaced by the fear that your child has a nocturnal alarm button that is pressed as soon as your eyes start to flicker to a close. I’ve got to be honest, we’ve only had small episodes of this for which we are very grateful but for many, a childs nightly sleep (or non-sleep) tendencies can disrupt lift for several years. Urgh, I need more coffee just thinking about it. In my experience, here’s what works for us – I am in no way trained in sleep therapy and every child is different. Also, this shizzle could all fall apart for us at any given moment and I’m constantly walking on the same tightrope as you;

  1. Children wake up for a reason

Yes, this is true. At least at first. Children genuinely do at times have feelings of anxiety and worry that they can’t necessarily articulate so their behaviour reflects these feelings in different ways. But kids are resilient. Far more resilient than adults. And the original emotional issue that was originally causing them to wake could well have been forgotten 2 weeks into calling you 7 times a night to ‘find’ Nanny the Rabbit. They probably just quite like the 2 am chit chat now. I do think that as adults we over analyze lots of stuff. Children (obviously depending on any complexity in their life) don’t have the same frame of references (or baggage) that we do so can move on much more quickly.

2. Routines are too restrictive

Well, depending on how you apply the routine in my view. I work four days a week and my children attend a mixture of nursery and grandparents houses. Their days are punctuated by different people taking care of them who all have slightly different ways of doing things. But they both start and end the day with the same routine. I believe it gives them some kind of sense of security when one day they’re at rolling around in shaving foam at nursery (anyone else loathe messy play??) and the next they’re sat in a grandparents house having a contraband sweet treat and quiet cuddle. But we always eat breakfast together and leave after Ben & Holly has finished (yes we have the TV on, I’m not supermum you know!) and they always have bath, story, milk and bed at night. That said when times are tough (and the chance of getting your child to contemplate sleep is slim) breaking the routine for a night can be like pressing the re-set button. It’s use is multi-purpose in my view.

3. You’re a parent, sleep deprivation goes with the territory

Well, yes and no on this one. I do think that we’re the only ones who can usually solve the problem as we do know our children best but there is a caveat to this that comes later. Perhaps a sleepover at Grandmas could break the cycle – although you won’t get any sleep whilst they’re away as you’ll be too guilt ridden that your children will have separation anxiety (they won’t, remember the contraband sweet treats I mentioned earlier) or that Grandma will never have them over again as they’ve had such an appalling night. But just remember, ‘Grandma’ was ‘mummy’ back in the day and the familiar zombie feeling may gain you some renewed empathy.

When I mentioned earlier that we’re the only ones that can solve the problem, the caveat was that we don’t actually need to do it all on our own. There’s a reason why people such as sleep consultants exist. You are not alone sleep deprived manic state, we’ve all been there at some point. There’s no silver bullet that will solve every possible child sleep issue but just try not to lose your mind, ask for help you need it and never EVER let the Nespresso supply run too low. x

What got you through the sleep deprivation stage and would you do anything differently?

Liebster Award!

The very lovely www.twinmummyyummy.co.uk has very kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award – hurrah!

I’ll be completely honest, I had no idea what this was to start with but after a little reading it appears to me to be a very neat way for fellow bloggers to support others and also to reveal a little more about ones self

As with any award, there are rules;

1. Acknowledge the blog that has nominated you and display the Liebster Award on your Blog

2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you

3. Give 11 random facts about yourself

4. Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award with less than 200 twitter followers or who haven’t received a Liebster Award before

5. Let those bloggers know you have nominated them

6. Give them 11 questions to answer

Phew, you still with me? That is rather a lot so here goes;

liebster badge

1. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done?

I’m not a jump out of a plane kind of girl but I have travelled to the Far East & India alone

2. Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to?

Rome – there’s something totally magical about that place.

3. If you could do one thing tomorrow that you’ve always dreamed of, what would it be?

Travel the world with my family to spread the word about my amazing business idea that has made me millions. Just need to come up with the business idea. Minor detail.

  1. If you won a car what would you do with it?

I’m not going to deny, I’m a car snob (champagne tastes/lemonade budget perhaps) so if it was a Skoda, I’d trade it straight in. If it was a Range Rover Evoque, I’d pose around in it for a good few months before reluctantly trading it in to fund the aforementioned amazing business idea……that I need to come up with.

  1. What is your favourite drink?

I’m partial to the Prosecco but the Red Wine rules in our house – preferably Italian

  1. Who is the first person you go to in your time of need?

Without question, my lovely hubby

  1. What is one goal that you have not yet met but are working to achieve?

I wouldn’t say I’m actively working to achieve it at the moment (due to mummy/work/blog time) but I would love to do my PHD at some point

  1. Do you think you’ll move house again?

Well, obviously when my amazing business idea (did I mention that?) comes to fruition we’ll have a house across the globe but until then, I reckon we’ll stay put for now. Moving house is very stressful in my experience!

  1. If you only had time to save one thing in your home, what would it be?

Well, assuming husband and Nipper are safely outside with me and the hunky firemen, it would possibly be photographs. However, as much as we all like nice things around us I’m not especially sentimental about stuff, only people.

  1. In your life, what brings you the most happiness?

My beautiful little family

  1. Where is your happy place?

Saturday mornings with my other half the the little person, bacon sarnie and coffee on the go and the weekend together stretching ahead of us.

I’ll be posting my nominations and questions in a 2nd post as its getting late……and its also hairwash night (!) so toodlepip for now and check back soon to see who the lucky peeps are that I’ll happily pay this forward too x



The beginning……..

Well here we are, first post on the blog on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I should in fact be having a snooze whilst my 9 month old has a nap. He’s had croup over the last 2 weeks which has left me with a delightful and oh so attractive summer cold to contend with whilst trying to develop my new career route, getting prepared for our 1st family holiday away and keeping up with the mundane necessity of having a somewhat presentable house……easy-peasey.

Holiday is a week in a cottage in North Norfolk which the hubby and I are very much looking forward too. Its a huge departure from our usual annual trip to Ibiza but the combination of maternity pay and a small child has led us to rethink that holiday format. Well for now anyway. At the moment I’m in the throes of endless list writing and ‘to do’ lists in preparation for our little break away.

However, I blame my cold for my lack of inclination to do anything but lie on the sofa watching you tube videos……unmotivated is an understatement. Maybe that snooze is a good idea after all 😉