Halloween Pumpkin Carving Tips And Tricks*

I don't know why but Darcy is really into Halloween this year. So this means having to find lots of Halloween activities to keep her busy.  One thing she has been on my case about it carving a pumpkin. Lucky for her Families online got in touch with us to see if we wanted to take part in their #myfamiliepumpkin campaign.

As you can see from the pictures she had lots of fun, I did too actually if I'm honest,  apart from failing to cut a My Little Pony design. But hey it's the taking part that counts right?.

If you are doing pumpkin carving with your little ones this year, here are some tips and tricks to help it all go smoothly.

  • Take the time to plan your design first. If you are not very artistic, there are lots of printable templates online that you can use.

Here is a step by step video from Families online, showing you how to use a printable template.

    • Use the right tools. I found this pumpkin carving kit in Poundland for you guessed it ... one pound! Hold the pumpkin in your lap for stability whilst you are carving.
    • To create a cool effect, peel away part of the rind of the pumpkin

    • Use battery operated  lights, not only are these safer around children but they keep the pumpkin fresher for longer.

    Well those were my tips and tricks for carving pumpkins. Will you be decorating pumpkins this Halloween?

    Best Boots For Wide Feet And Calves*

    Best Boots For Wide Feet And Calves*

    Autumn is here and everything is changing from green to gold, amber and russet. One thing I really enjoy doing with Darcy is going on autumn walks and conker collecting. There's only one thing, I can't be wearing my typical foot wear of ballet pumps as I end up skidding and sliding all over the place.

    A decent pair of boots are definitely needed, the only thing is I have large  wide feet which makes it harder to find a cute pair of boots. Boots are an  investment buy for your autumn and winter wardrobe they need to be comfortable, stylist and durable.

    Thankfully there are lots of companies out there such as Rockport, Evans and Duo Boots who offer shoes and boots different sizes and calf widths. 

    One of the best things about the change of season is the stores launching their new collections and ranges. Here are a few of my favourite boots I have found

    Have you treated yourself to a pair of boots? Where is your favourite place to shop for boots?

    What colour shirts do women prefer?*

    Recently I was having a catch up with the girls and of course the conversation turned to dating. I've been single for a while now and they are desperate to marry me off. And it got me wondering.... what attractive me to a man other than personality of course. Is it height, friendly eyes or a happy smile. But does the colour of the clothes he wears make a difference to if I find him attractive or not?

    When choosing a shirt to impress, a few questions might cross a man’s mind: does it match with the trousers? Is the material of a good quality? Is it suitable for the dress code? Something that men should also be asking is – what does this colour says about me? 

    Research has shown that the colour of a man’s shirt can perceive them in a certain way, if you’re looking to come across as powerful; choose red. If you want to show confidence, always opt for black.  Charles Tyrwhitt is a experts in gentlemen’s fashion and retailers of men’s formal shirts, to investigate further and find out which colours women prefer on men.

    Choosing the right colour 

    When it comes to deciding which coloured shirt to buy, there are some that are perceived more positively by the opposite sex. Consider purchasing one of the following coloured shirts on your next shopping trip if you’re looking to dress to impress… 

    Associated with Valentine’s Day and all things romantic, red signifies love and passion. It is thought that the attraction to red comes from our biological roots – many animals such as baboons are attracted to the opposite sex if they display bright colours. To wear this on a first date might be slightly overpowering, however it does give off some vibes that your date might be interested in.

    If you’re looking to show power and a strong social status, red is a good colour to go for. Research found that wearing red can actually boost the wearers own confidence, which will be a good thing during a first date for women who are looking for a man with some self. A red shirt can shows that you have good health and are financially stable, two more things a woman may have on their checklist when looking for a new partner. 

    In a survey which explored the attractiveness of men in different coloured shirts, red was found to be more attractive than blue or green. This perception was a global consensus - so wherever in the world you go wearing a red shirt, expect to get a similar reception. 

    However, although the colour was linked to romance it was not associated with the wearer being kind or sociable – perhaps you’ll have to demonstrate these traits through the power of conversation instead. 

    Although originally kept in the wardrobe for mourning, black is now worn for various occasions by many fashion followers. Similar to red, black can be perceived as the colour of self-assurance – 56% of women said that it inspired confidence. Other comments included that the colour black made the wearer seem more intelligent and sexy – perfect for a first date! 

    Black is renowned for being worn at classy events. Too much black can be overpowering, so if you opt for a black shirt you should avoid pairing it with a black jacket, pants and shoes too. It is a versatile colour and don’t be afraid to mix and match, such as denim jeans and a black shirt is a good casual outfit for many events. 

    White was another colour that rated high in terms of clothing. It was perceived to be the least arrogant colour and instead gave off the impression that the wearer was full of optimism! 

    A white shirt is a nice and classic look for when you are trying to impress at a formal event. However, during research, it was the definitive white t-shirt and jeans combo that caught women’s eyes and was perceived to be the more attractive look for a man.

    Ones to avoid 
    There are also some colours to avoid when it comes to choosing a shirt. In many surveys revolving around the attractiveness of colour, orange and brown consistently performed poorly. They often are perceived as rather boring, drab colours although a bright orange shirt could brighten up an outfit nicely on a summer’s day. 

    Pink didn’t go down very well either.Only 5% of people thought that intelligent people would wear this colour! 

    Other tips 

    • When choosing a coloured shirt consider the following tips too: 
    • Many men look great in a colour that matches their eyes, if you have green eyes perhaps opt for a moss green shirt- a popular colour this season 
    • Avoid wearing dark colours if you have a light complexion, this can really draw your skin tone out and make you appear paler 
    • If you have dark hair, opt for bright colours as these are likely to complement you more

    Darcy's First Swimming Lesson | Baby Annabell Learns To Swim Launch With Rebecca Adlington

    Well something pretty excited happened recently. Darcy was invited to the launch of Baby Annabell Learns To Swim; the new Baby Annabell Doll from Zapf Creation.

    Baby Annabell Learns To Swim was launched at The Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park; the kids had a very special swimming lesson with none other than Rebecca Adlington OBE. This was Darcy's first swimming lesson and she was understandably nervous. However, after a while those nerves disappeared and she was splashing about the pool lije a fish born to water.

    The lesson was run by a fab teacher called Donna and assisted by the amazing Rebecca who was amazing with Darcy. The kids got to play lots of fun games using floating aids. Darcy especially loved the shopping game, where the children had to collect as many balls on their floats as possible.

    Darcy had an amazing time and it took me forever to get her out of the pool. I may have a moment..... ok! ok! I cried as I was so proud of her.

    Darcy is besotted with her Baby Annabell and has a firm fixture in her bath time routine. Not only does Baby Annabell swim and floats on her back when in contact with water, she always giggles and babbles away.

    To mark the launch, Rebecca Adlington has shared her tips for encouraging your little ones into the water too;

    1 - Children can be initially nervous of the water, baby steps and lots of praise will help them overcome a lack of confidence. Try taking them along to just watch for the first time, then toes in next time and so on, along with lots of positive praise to help encourage them to take that first dip. 

    2 -Toys are a brilliant tool, they are such a good distraction for anyone who doesn’t normally like putting their face in the water or splashing. Toys such as the new Baby Annabell Learns to Swim doll are a great way to give children (and parents!) the courage to take those first steps towards swimming.

    3 - Swimming is huge bonding experience. The learning process is a lot to do with trust and really builds a closer relationship between and parent and child. For this reason, try not to use your phone during lessons to avoid distractions.

    4 - The younger you start swimming lessons the better. I took Summer from 3 weeks old. It is all about building confidence and awareness of the water from a young age. Swimming also helps with a child’s muscular development and is fantastic for understanding their physical abilities. 

    5 - Make good use of the equipment that’s there. Whether it’s armbands, noodles, or vests, use whatever your child is more comfortable with. I tend to do five minutes with floatation equipment and five without, this helps when they’re really young and still building confidence. 

    6 - Mix up who takes the child swimming. Whether its Mum, Dad, Grandparents etc. It’s good to go with someone they trust whilst getting used to swimming with different people.
    Baby Annabell Learns To Swim comes with a armbands, swimming costume and Towel.

    Suitable for ages 3+ You can buy Baby Annabell Learns To Swim here

    Fakeaway Slow Cooker Doner Kebab and The #HealtyRedMeat Challenge

    I don’t know about you, but we love a cheeky kebab in our household. However as you know I am trying to refrain from ordering takeaways and include more healthy meals into our diet.

    BritMums and the Meat Advisory Panel recently set up a challenge for parents to create a yummy family friendly recipe with beef, pork or lamb. 

    I chose a recipe that was quick and easy to make and it’s one of Darcy’s favoruite meals. She’s starting to get a little picky with her food so I try to include as many healthy elements to her meals as possible. Dr Emma Derbyshire, a public health nutritionist and mother, says: “Including a small portion of red meat in the diet a few times a week after weaning can help to bridge nutrient gaps and so help to maintain good health through childhood and beyond.”

    If I am honest we are not big red meat eaters in our house but when we do have it I make sure it is as lean as possible. Red meat is also a good source of iron, zinc, B vitamins, selenium and potassium – essential ingredients for the healthy growth and development of children and maintenance in adults.

    Fakeaway Doner Kebab


    500g lean beef (you can use lamb, but I find beef is more flavoursome)
    1 tbsp oregano
    1 tbsp mixed herbs
    ½ tsp onion powder
    ½ tsp garlic powder
    ½ tsp salt
    ½ tsp black pepper
    ¼ cayenne pepper
    2 beef oxo cubes


    1. Place all dry ingredients into the bowl and mixed together
    2. Add the mince, and mixed together until smooth (using your hands are best for this)
    3. Roll the mixture into a sausage shape
    4. On a sheet of foil place sliced onions and put the kebab meat on top,
    5. Wrap the kebab meat up and cook in a slow cooker for 5 hours on low or 3 on high
    6. Once cooked slice and serve with lots of salad, pitta bread and or chips

    What’s your family's favourite meal?

    This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.

    How Underfloor Heating Can Help Children with Allergies *

    Allergies are definitely a pain to endure. They can be extremely persistent and are frustrating for anyone who has to deal with them on a regular basis. When a child has allergies there is even more of a worry for parents, as seeing their child suffer because of something that can be prevented by them is not pleasant to experience. Here we’ll look at some of the most common allergens in the home, and how using underfloor heating can be one step towards combatting our little ones from suffering more than is necessary because of their allergies.

    Dust allergies are very common in the UK. They can leave people dealing with runny noses, itchiness, and watery eyes for days. They can also result in symptoms of asthma such as coughing and feeling short of breath.  Many of those who suffer from dust allergies are most commonly triggered by dust mites inside their own homes. This is especially true for children dealing with dust allergies. 

    As too much exposure to dust mites for an allergy sufferer can sometimes lead to asthma, it is important to try and minimise dust mites in your home as much as possible.

    If you’re wondering how you can adjust elements in your home to reduce dust mites and avoid triggering your child’s allergy, there may be a surprising solution.  Installing an underfloor heating system with underfloor heating trade supplies can have a positive effect on allergies. Read on to find out how.

    How can underfloor heating help my child with their allergies?

    No amount of cleaning your home will result in complete elimination of dust mites. These pesky creatures can only be reduced by employing certain tactics. Your choice of heating is one of them.

    Radiators can be one of the main causes of dust mites circulating in your home.  And as we know, dust mites are the primary trigger for allergy and asthma inside homes.

    When radiators distribute air, they actually circulate the dust around the room which can obviously be irritating for allergy sufferers. The way in which the heat the room moves dust mites around as warm air is emitted. This means that your children will be breathing in dusty air which will no doubt irritate their little lungs.

    With underfloor heating, you don’t get the same circulation of dust. With an underfloor heating system, you have less air movement and more of an even distribution of warmth around the room. The air not moving around as much means that the number of dust mites that are airborne can be reduced by up to 80% with underfloor heating.

    If you decide to invest in hard flooring (as most people with underfloor heating systems do) that is even better for your child’s allergies. Dust mites absolutely love to live in the carpet. It provides the perfect place for them to live and breed as dead skin cells, hair and food eventually make their way to the inner fibres of carpets, mats and rugs. Even with a carpeted floor, underfloor heating can actually have an effect on reducing dust mites by retaining heat in the carpet.

    How else can I help my child with allergies in the home in other ways?

    Here are some more simple tips that you can incorporate to help you reduce dust mites triggering your child’s allergies in your home:

            The first and most obvious one is keeping your home as clean and dust-free as possible to maintain.

            Do not carpet your flooring as dust mites love carpet. Unfortunately, no amount of vacuuming can get rid of them completely. In fact, vacuuming can result in unsettling them causing them to rise up in the air.  Try and ensure that your children steer clear of freshly vacuumed areas for at least 20 minutes to allow any dust mites and allergens to settle.

            Sadly pets can also be a trigger for allergies. If you have a pet that you love, just try and keep them away from the children’s bedroom while they sleep at night.

         Wash your bedding regularly to avoid dust mites accumulating. You should also change your mattress and pillows every few years as dust mites love to live in there.

    Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies provide dry and wet underfloor heating systems to effectively warm your home. We install the systems quickly and efficiently. To find out more, visit our website or call us today.