Thursday, 26 November 2015

Black Friday at is not just about appliances and white goods

I was very surprised by an email I got this week from When I think of them I think cookers, fridges, washing machines and tumble dryers. But they do so much more and as a result there are lots of bargains to be had on tomorrow's Black Friday and they're all geared up for it.

If you've LOVED Great British Bake Off, then they have loads of counter top baking appliances.

If you LOVE coffee then this Bosch has £64 off for Black Friday. I feel sorry for John Lewis tomorrow as they are selling it for £14 more and they're never knowingly undersold - I don't know if they will be able to keep up...

Personally, if I was to buy something tomorrow it would be a Slow Cooker as I have just got into casseroles, in a big way, thanks to our current cold snap and plummeting temperatures.

I know a lot of people get new TVs in the run up to Christmas, and they've included them in Black Friday too: TV deals.
Black Friday Week
Massive deals. Available now.

Shop deals

The tech gifts they really want
The tech gifts they really want
For music lovers, box set buffs and the tech-obsessed, it's easy to find the coolest gifts this Christmas. We've everything from the latest TVs to Headphones and Wireless Speakers. Add some extra sparkle to their seasonal entertainment.

Read more

Gifts for bakers and creators
Gifts for bakers and creators
If you know someone who likes to get creative in the kitchen, we've got just the thing. From mixers and juicers to bread makers and coffee machines, we've got everything they need to create something truly delicious this Christmas.

Discover kitchen gifts

Hotpoint - Stock up this Christmas
Stock up this Christmas
From the turkey and trimmings to everyone's favourite treats, stock up and have space to save the leftovers with a bigger capacity fridge freezer. This multi zone model will ensure you're prepared for the party season - its top drawer can be used as either a fridge or freezer.

Find out more

I know you are now wondering why I am sharing all of this with you.... Well quite frankly I owe a debt. Hubby recently overfilled my beloved washing machine that I've had for 15 years - my FIRST ever appliance in fact. I was bereft and with a newborn on the way was like WHAT is a girl to do. came to my rescue and are letting me review a rather gorgeous washing machine. So this blog post for #BlackFriday is just one of some of the ways in which I will say thank you. So sharing this content (from their promotional email) is from me, not them and I remain honest and unbiased. Oh and hubby redeemed himself as he has bought our first ever tumble dryer, which with a Winter baby on the way will be much needed. All of the baby washing with Aaron was no big deal as he was born in June so the washing line was constantly full and it was a very hot Summer so PERFECT drying weather for much of the Summer that was 2010.

By the way, these are their Black Friday washing machines - the model I will be reviewing is not there.

I'll be busy tomorrow so not even sure if I will do any Black Friday shopping myself. The only shopping I am interested in currently is of the baby girl newborn kind, so if you see any baby grow or sleepsuit bargains on Black Friday then feel free to let me know :-)

Liska xxx

The Snowman - Peacock Theatre November 2015 to January 2016

Going to see a festive theatre show is one of the best things you can do to get in the Christmas spirit and with that being the case I cannot wait to see The Snowman. I am not a big fan of Panto, so really, The Snowman is perfect for me. Aaron wasn't sure (it's quite some time since he's been to the theatre) so I got him to watch this Snowman youtube video and now he is incredibly excited. Also, he idolises his cousins and they are coming, so he will be in his element. Plus we get to see the lovely Ruth and her kids too, which is a bonus. 

To be honest Aaron has had the ability to sit through a long theatre show since he was 2 years of age. He's seen shows at Butlins and been to Panto two Christmasses in a row, aged 2 and aged 3, so I am not worried. The show is going to be both captivating and magical, I just know it. 

So, seeing the show, will be our official start of Christmas, like cutting a ribbon to say, "Christmas is now open". But that of course makes me think of what is the other side - a new baby.............. yikes, that is the next thing on the list to get ready for.
"A perennial family favourite, The Snowman has transported a generation of children and their families into the wintery world of a boy and his magical snowman. As a friendship is kindled, the two embark on a starry-skied adventure to the North Pole, where they meet dancing penguins, reindeer, Father Christmas and escape the clutches of Jack Frost".
"With music and lyrics by Howard Blake, including Walking in the Air performed by a live band, choreographed by Robert North and directed by Bill Alexander, the stage show based on the book by Raymond Briggs and the subsequent film has become a much-loved festive tradition for all the family. With Ruari Murchison’s enchanting design and Tim Mitchell’s spectacular lighting this show will delight young and old alike with its captivating mix of dance, music, storytelling, spectacle and magic".

Peacock Theatre
Portugal Street 
Holborn WC2A 2HT

25 Nov 2015 - 3 Jan 2016
020 7863 8222
"The signature song Walking in the Air' reached number 3 in the UK charts when sung by choirboy Aled Jones in 1985. 

Suitable for all ages, The Snowman is the perfect introduction to dance for the very young".

‘One of those shows that gets me through the winter. Magical flight to a winter wonderland.’ The Daily Telegraph

This is the official video:

Bye for now, Liska

Disclosure: we are seeing the show complimentary in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Top Tips For Buying a New Car

If you’re thinking about buying a new car, there could not be a better time. With the UK car manufacturing industry at an all-time high, quality cars are available at competitive prices.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recently revealed that this year has seen British car makers achieve the best 10 month performance in a decade and the industry shows no signs of stopping.

In many cases, buying a new car actually works out cheaper than buying a used car as along with special offers and payment finance options, new cars are cheaper to run and won’t need anywhere near as much maintenance as used cars.

If you’re thinking of treating yourself to a new car, these are some of our top tips to making it affordable.

Know your credit rating

The majority of new cars in the UK are bought on finance as they are such expensive purchases. The key to obtaining a great finance package is having a good credit score, so if you have no idea what is on your report, it’s time you found out. You can request your credit report from a number of companies such as Experian, enabling you to see what finance companies can see, and giving you the chance to amend any incorrect information that may be harming your score.

Of course, if you have a low credit score this will impact your ability to obtain credit. Bad credit car finance provider Clearway offers finance packages specifically for those who have low scores, and has trained advisers who look at each applicant individually.

Regardless of your credit score, if you know what it is, you have a higher chance of locating and applying for a loan that you will most likely be accepted for.

Decide where to look for finance

If you take the time to research different types of lenders before you begin to apply, you will be in a better position. By deciding on what type of finance you are going to acquire before you choose your perfect car, you will not risk getting distracted and signing up to something in a rush to drive home in your new vehicle.

You can either obtain finance through a personal loan from a bank or a broker, or you can go through a car dealership. The majority of customers get finance through their dealership as it can be an easier process, and dealerships can ‘shop’ their customers application to a number of lenders, thus improving their chance of acceptance.

Whichever finance route you decide to go down, doing your homework beforehand will help you obtain the best rates and the fairest deals.

Go for what you need, not what you want

It can be tempting to go for the car of your dreams, but it pays to be practical. You may be dreaming of a sporty two-seater convertible, but that isn’t going to seem such a good idea when driving the kids to school on a rainy British morning.

Along with this, the car salesman may encourage you to buy extras, and even if they sound appealing, you have to draw a line if you want to keep your costs in check. To avoid spending a fortune, remember to only buy what you need, not what you want.  

Determine your maximum car loan length

Most car loans are over periods of 48 or 60 months, but many loans are now lasting 72 or even 84 months. Remember that the longer your car loan, the higher amount of interest you will pay. Comparing the cash price of the car to what you pay over 72 months will make this point hit home and give you the reality check that may prevent you going down this route however tempting it may seem.

If you are thinking about choosing an overly-long car loan length so you can afford to pay the repayments, then it would suggest you can’t really afford the car. One of the problems with long loan lengths is that you could end up with a negative equity vehicle, and find yourself paying more for the car than it is actually worth. Most people change their cars every 2 to 3 years, so this is something to keep in mind.

Decide on an overall budget, be realistic, and stick to it!

It is vital to decide on an overall budget, to be realistic about that budget, and perhaps most importantly, stick to it.

Think about your income, your outgoings, and plan for the future; remember that life can throw unexpected curve-balls. Only spend what you can afford to pay back and don’t cut back on necessities such as rent or bills to afford a sparkly new car.

My First ScaleXtric Review. Perfect Christmas Gift for an Aged 3 to 5 track and car fan

My First ScaleXtric Box
We recently received My First ScaleXtric - Racing Fun for the Young Driver - which was just perfect being that Aaron is a huge car and track fan. He's played with tracks for over 3 years and these are his finest moments in terms of concentration and play enjoyment. Once upon a time I'd have to build everything and his enjoyment was the play, but now he gets just as much enjoyment from setting things up and he's so quick too. I confess I did set the ScaleXtric up for him though, purely as I was concerned about the electrical circuit and that it may not function if he did something wrong.

It was extremely speedy to set up and I filmed us live as we unboxed it. Bear in mind though, we've just come back from Movie Night at school (for Children in Need) and it's a Friday so it's been a long week, so we're quite mellow (tired) and both in onesies :-)


I love that the tracks, cars and triggers are all colour coordinated red and yellow. 
My First ScaleXtric red and yellow cars
As you hear in the video, I keep obsessing that we need batteries, but turns out that the track is powered by the mains and the cars hook up with that electricity, hence the importance of keeping their underneaths clear of dust and debri.
My First ScaleXtric track and triggers
Being that the track is a number 8 it comes with two bridge supports for the upper level. These perplexed me a little until I resorted to looking at the instructions and realised that the track simply balances on top.

I can imagine this would be a great gift to open on Christmas Day as it is always a relief when something is quick to set up and doesn't require batteries. A gift that is too time consuming to build can take away from the excitement that builds whilst unwrapping.

So that brings me on to pros and cons.

  1. It is only £34.99 available here: My First ScaleXtric.
  2. No batteries required.
  3. Simple construction that means you don't need a resident track expert. Tip: do make sure all of the arrows are pointing in the right direction, like I pointed out in the above video.
  4. The triggers have a groove on them which can be adjusted for speed.
  5. It is a starter set. The simple number 8 style track is perfectly simple for a 3 year old, but what makes it fun/challenging for a 5 year old and the adult that maybe playing with the second trigger, is the fact that: go too fast and you will fall off on the bends.
  6. This means there is a technique to be learned. You either slow down overall, or pulse the trigger so that you go slower on the bends. The degree to which you do this may be slower or faster than your opponent and that's the second layer of fun right there!!!
  7. I would recommend getting this for a 3 year old so that they can get a couple of years out of it.


  1. There is a metal area (like wire wool) on the underside of the cars. These need to be well maintained.
  2. Similarly there are metal grooves on the track, that are best kept dust free.
  3. Therefore this is a track that requires a bit of adult supervision and can't be flung around and stepped on like wooden tracks you may have previously owned. Make it about it being special and precious. If they hover their hand above the track, they'll feel a "current" and hopefully be in awe of it and understand it needs a little care.
  4. For a 5 year old, it is not a toy you will get years out of, but is perfect if they are new to tracks/cars or if they have a younger sibling who they can teach how to play. It's a great starter set though.
I'll be making sure that Aaron plays with it with his cousins over Christmas as I know they will have hours of fun.

I'll leave you with the official promotional TV advert for this toy:

Disclosure: we received this toy for the purposes of an honest review and I have not been told what to say.

All the best, Liska

P.S. this will definitely be making it to my Christmas Gift Guide when I finally get round to putting it together.

Monday, 23 November 2015

When Is The Right Time To Sell My Home?

Selling your home has never been easier especially when you consider all the different ways you can go about selling your home. From the traditional estate agent to online agents such as Jet Homes you are not short of many and varied ways to sell.

But the big question that has come about in the last few years has been “when is the right time to sell?" What year will see the biggest rewards? With the deepest recession ever (commonly now referred to as the Great Rcession) after the 2008 market crash, and an economy that is just starting to pick up, many have also begun questioning when is the right time of year to place their house on the market.

There are a few great tips which Jet Homes has provided to help you consider the most appropriate time to sell your home.

How quickly do you need to move?
If it’s all about selling your home fast then you need to think about how your house is valued, or the reasons as to why you need to move so quickly. If it’s for financial reasons you may want to consider renting your home rather than selling. However, if you are relocating for work reasons, can you afford to keep two houses?

The big question has to be why you want to move in the first place. If you know the answer to this and you have set timescales, consult with estate agents and locals in the area on how quickly houses sell or do a quick search on the internet for recent house sales to get an understanding of the market you are currently selling in and what you think you could reasonably get for your property.

Look at the economy
The economy has started to pick up, and more houses are selling now than before the pre-2008 financial crisis but does this make it the best time to sell? There are some key things to consider; 

  • Bank rates; what is the Bank Of England going to do with Interest rates moving forward and how will this affect your mortgage rates?
  • Mortgage offers; shop around and see how the mortgage offers are reflecting the general state of the economy.
  • Consumer Price Index; this will help you understand how we’re living and if we have inflation or deflation.

Keeping an eye on the economy and using financial websites to read into the next 6 months can help you understand how the economy is actually working and what can be done to help make your mind up.

Think about the time of year
If food has seasons, so does selling your house. Let us explain this a little better, dependent on the time of year your house is put up for sale it can have an effect on valuation and purchase periods. Sometimes the difference can be marginal but there are a few key seasons.

  • Autumn is arguably the best time to sell as you can have mild ones, like this year, which means your home can look great on first impressions and there is just enough good daylight hours for people to view your home at different times.
  • Summer is possibly the worst time. There are holidays to contend with and if a family is looking to move they would want to do it during the holiday season or certainly before the school term starts.
  • Spring is an interesting time as you start to get more daylight and well kept gardens are keen to be shown off; it's generally what's thought to be the best time of year if you’re looking to sell at your highest price. Sometimes, depending on lead times, selling in Spring, requires getting prepared in the months beforehand.
  • Winter closely follows summer in how hard it can be to sell. Between Christmas and New Year it can be difficult to get people visiting your home and you need to consider daytime visits to make the most out of your home.

Selling your home can be stressful and sometimes, there is no definite answer as to the best time to sell your property. Consider things such as the impact it could have on your day to day life and circumstances, how you would need to organise new schools, doctors and social environments with a house move.
Decluttering is an important thing to do prior to getting valuation surveys or viewings. Not only does it make your home a more attractive proposition, but it also means that packing and moving are a dream, being a lot less stressful. Packing your clutter due to time constraints only means you have to face it again at the other end. It's good to consider a new home a new start.

Whatever the reasons, pick your timescales wisely and start getting organised. You never know, you could sell your house within an hour of it being on the market!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Third Trimester Tiredness and Pregnant at Aged 42

I am in shock at how very tired I am. During the first trimester I was in bed by 21:15 nearly every night and kept telling the husband "don't worry I will have loads of energy in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters" Yes, it turned out to be true of the 2nd trimester but now that I am in the 3rd, I am 30 weeks but looking like I am 40 weeks and if I am honest I am struggling. It's another large baby and just as with Aaron, my bump is measuring +2. For anyone who says "those bump measurements are notoriously innaccurate" at the 4d scan they measured the baby's head circumference, abdomen circumference and femur length and I think all of those measurements put my new baby girl on the 94th growth percentile. Again, a duplicate of her brother.

Just like with Aaron my bump is all out in front, very large, and no extra weight anywhere else on my body, not even around the face and no swollen ankles yet either. Despite the change in gender, the only difference seems to be that with Aaron I had no morning sickness whereas this time it was from week 6 to week 14.

The limited number of blogs and vlogs I have done are purely due to how tired I am, and how little get up and go I have. So so so so so many thinks I was MEANT to do this week.

If I was one of those organised Mums who already had a nursery set up (from about 25 weeks on) then it wouldn't be a problem. I could carry on watching 2-3 Xmas movies a day (as has become my habit) except I have done nothing and have bought nothing. Ooooops. We don't even know what we've done with the screws to the cot. And if we don't find them soon, I will have to be contacting Cosatto to ask if there is such a thing as them being able to post them to us....... eeek.

I've just decided to tweet them and see if they can help:

Hmmm, turns out he is going to HAVE to find them as Cosatto have already replied to me, as below. 

I've already phoned the number and got a blow by blow account. Blow (1) THAT cot is discontinued blow (2) we no longer use the factory that made it (3) we don't really do many cots any more and (4) we ran out of that spare part half way through this year and as we don't use that factory anymore won't be getting anymore in *cries*......... looks for hubby!!!

I filed EVERYTHING to do with baby when I was expecting Aaron, so I just abandoned this post for a second, while I went through everything trying to ascertain the model name/number of the cot, but guess what I found... the paperwork for our travel system. I've been beating myself up that I had one in place (during my last pregnancy) much sooner last time, but yet the paperwork tells me I ordered it on 26th May... that was cutting it fine considering Aaron's due date was 7th June. He was 8 days late and born on 15th June. I actually paid full price, up front, for a buggy at the February baby show, but a couple of months later got cold feet about how much I'd spent and got a refund. I then spent the next few months researching buggies (alongside working really long hours) even joining Which, temporarily, so I could read all of the technical reviews on buggies. I ended up going for a travel system that lasted me for 2.5 years. I never upgraded to a stroller, and just always used our buggy. Aaron was out of it at 2 and onto a scooter, then a balance bike and then straight to a proper bike never a stabilizer in sight. We used to walk about a minimum of 20 miles a week so he always had to have some sort of wheels (I don't drive) and we'll be the same again as now I walk about 30 miles a week.

I don't even know where my wrap is, and I was big into baby wearing last time, carrying Aaron until he was a year and a half old. Yes I used the buggy too, but living in a flat, the wrap was invaluable for getting him up the stairs when I had shopping in both arms. It was also invaluable when hanging washing on the line or bringing it in. I would even chop vegetables amongst many other chores whilst "wearing" him. It was a life saver as there are often times when they don't want to be put down and it is so so nurturing for them to hear out heartbeat and of course share our warmth. A wrap means at least you can be mobile and not tied to the sofa. I must find mine from the Aaron days, although I am longing for a We Made Me one this time.

Even though I say I have not bought anything, yet, thanks to HushCush and Nature's Purest, I do have baby's nursing pillow and first baby grow :-)

Just need to work out what else I need.

I haven't had my camera much in my hand of late, so don't really have any photos to share with you. Friday 13th November I wore a onesie for Children In Need movie night at school and I looked enormous in it. I'd intended to get one of my fellow PTA mums to get a snap for me, and would be including it here, but it was so busy getting everything just right, I never did get chance to pass my camera to someone. Haven't had chance to get hubby to take a recent bump shot either. I know! Pregnant blogger fail alert!

That's one of the reasons I hung fire on writing this post, as I only like to put blog posts together when I have the photos to go with them. 9 times out of 10 it's always photos that prompt blog posts.

Back to what I need to get for baby number two. In case I have problems breastfeeding again, one of these is definitely on my shopping list:

I suppose if I go in to premature labour without having sourced a buggy, I can always baby wear for the first few weeks but I don't fancy my chances considering I will be post-op as I have a planned C-section and the school run covers 30 miles a week. I do still have Aaron's travel system, but it is black and knackered. The wheels were never ever changed and they cover many many miles. I'd love something fancy for my little Princess, so best get cracking picking one and getting my tired old life sorted out.

In terms of eating, in the first trimester I used to crave salad and quiches. All healthy stuff. Huge portions, huge appetite, eating 6 times a day. Whereas now, I can quite happily have porridge for lunch and just graze at dinner time. My stomach doesn't have much space now and I have really bad heartburn. I like to think my Pregnacare supplements are picking up the slack, as I have the Pregnacare MAXIMUM ones and have taken them throughout my pregnancy.

I'd really love to do a pregnancy Vlog as I had planned on doing one every week throughout my pregnancy, but with this pregnancy tiredness that has descended I just don't imagine how I could be photogenic, watchable or natural on camera. But perhaps I should just film real life. Tired, 42 year old me.

Perhaps I will try and get the energy to wash and straighten my hair tomorrow and do one.

Ah tomorrow, that reminds me, we are getting a new washing machine. Hooorrrraaaah. So that is what I will be busy playing with when everyone else is at Mumsnet Blogfest. I have been to all 3: 2012, 2013 and 2014 and I normally write really good blog posts about the conference - with one of them even winning me a competition (a 3 night stay at Featherdown Farm), but sometimes you have to know your limits and I just knew I don't have the energy for it this time. I'll have to stay off social media or I will be gutted.

With regards to my tiredness, Aaron has been FABULOUS at understanding. Last Friday when we got back from Movie night, the only energetic thing we did, was set up his new (review) ScaleXtric. Then Saturday and Sunday, both days we had a PJ day, and he must have been tired too, as my active boy did not object at all.

In the evenings he's been happy to do low energy things like colouring in, except as you can see he makes me join in too:
Bye for now, I need to put my feet up before the school run ;-) I'm serious!

I am back to add on another bit.

Yesterday a Mum on the school run asked me if I wanted any girl's clothes to which I said "yes please". She already had them with her, all boxed up on the school run this morning, so we transferred them from her car to hubby's. She's given me 5 carrier bags and 2 nappie boxes of gorgeous girl's baby clothes. So, all of a sudden it is all feeling a bit more real. Whoooops!

Liska xxx
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...