E, you are three!

Two weeks ago my darling daughter E turned three. I know I say this every time I write an update on the children but time has honestly flown by and I can't believe that she's officially not a baby anymore. I think it's a bit more bittersweet because although I'm loving watching her grow up, it's hard because she is my last baby.

For the first two years of her life we co-slept and absolutely loved it but now she successfully falls asleep herself in her own bed, we've potty trained and she doesn't take a bottle or dummy anymore. Nope, I definitely can't get away with calling her my baby but I'll still do it anyway!

Personality-wise, she is amazing. When she was born, her older brother C was just turning two and I remember thinking, "He is just so funny. No other kid is going to compare." Then E came along. She is forever pulling funny faces, putting on accents to make us laugh and even the lines she comes out with have us in stitches.

Chris and I make an effort not to push gender stereotypical toys on our children and we let them play with what they like. E is a massive girly girl in the sense that she is obsessed with Disney Princesses and loves to do her hair and make up in front of a mirror. As much as she likes donning a dress, she is happiest in a pair of trainers and leggings or jeans, and pretending to be Wonder Woman or Maria Hill to her brother's Nick Fury. Yep, she's a Marvel and DC Comics lover too.

She is very much a diva and can throw a tantrum like no other. I see her huffy face 85% of the day and I've lost count of how many times she told me that she's not my friend anymore. She can be a grump but she is very cuddly and always tells us that she loves us. She and her brother are constantly fighting and bickering but I know that she loves him really and her little eyes light up when he gets out of school and she can't wait to speak to him. E is very into her family. She will always be asking to visit her grandparents and having a cousin who is four months older than her is fantastic. They are like two little old ladies when they get together and it's adorable to watch them interact. They'll always be swapping shoes and holding hands.

E has a brilliant imagination and can keep herself occupied quite easily. Even on car journeys, she'll give each of her hands little personas and make them have conversations. She won't really sit still long enough to read a story which is something that I want to try and work on with her but she has a great vocubulary, understands everything and can speak well. I just want to encourage her a bit more before she starts nursery next September.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings!


Barbie Dreamtopia Styling Head - Review

My three year old daughter E is a bit of an all-rounder. She loves superheroes, Star Wars and sci-fi but I can always find her posing and doing her 'make up' in front of a mirror, wanting to wear a princess dress and playing with my hair as it's "so long and pretty."

The Barbie Dreamtopia Styling Head from Flair is perfect to encourage budding stylists like E. E discovered Barbie by playing with my old dolls at her grandparents house then she finally got her first one for her birthday last week. As soon as she opened out the Styling Head, she instantly recognised the Barbie branding and couldn't wait to get playing.

The set comes with the Barbie Styling Head, six hair barrettes (clips), eight pop-in gems, four hair ties and a hairbrush.

The two things that caught E's eye automatically were Barbie's sparkly top and beautiful rainbow coloured hair - I think they added a bit of excitement. Everyone knows that rainbow hair is much better than regular hair!

E got straight in with the brushing but because the base is hollow, E had to make sure that she held it down or vigorous brushing could topple it over. The barrettes each have a little hole that the pop-in gems can be inserted into. These are great to explore a number of colour combinations and E was able to put them in by herself, but did need help taking them out when she wanted to change them. Putting the barrettes into Barbie's hair and closing them was also something that she could do independently.

Hair ties and three year olds don't mix. I've been trying to teach her but I think she's a little bit young for that aspect, but I had a similar styling head when I was young so I am more than happy to get involved and help with that.

E has been having so much fun over the last week or so changing up Barbie's hairstyle. It's great for letting her imagination run wild and having her get creative with hairstyles. I may have also been practicing some hair tutorials on it when she's asleep!

The Barbie Dreamtopia Styling Head retails at £19.99 and is available to buy from Very. There is also a larger Barbie Deluxe Colour Specialist Styling Head in the range where you can decorate Barbie's nails as well as doing her hair.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

What I've Won - August 2017

We are now well into September so I am back with a new What I Won installment - this time for August 2017. This month has been pretty decent, I've put a bit more effort into Instagram giveaways and it seems to be paying off.

1) Marshmallow bars (RRP £8.10) from Mallow and Marsh
Mallow and Marsh run giveaways on Twitter every Monday and it was one of the comps that I was desperate to win. After years of trying, I finally won! They are delicious too - especially the raspberry.

2) Bottle of white Rioja (RRP £10.99) from Rioja Wines
Who doesn't love an alcohol win?! Rioja Wines run quite a lot of these on Twitter too. I've yet to try it yet - maybe this weekend.

3) Box of Pip Organic juice (RRP £4.49) from Pip Organic
I won a box of Pip Organic juice on Instagram in a like and comment giveaway. After I won, they informed me that they cannot ship to Northern Ireland so I sent them to my friend Jenna for her son to enjoy.
4) Mum and Baby headbands (RRP £16.00) from Lamb and Bear
Alex from Lamb and Bear is actually a blogger who has her own clothing range. She had a new range released last month and a Twitter party to coincide with the launch. I originally was joining in in more of a "support another blogger" type stance but I ended up purchasing the flamingo leggings that E is wearing in the above photograph, then I ended up winning the matching mum and baby headbands!

5) Caudalie Beauty Elixir (RRP £32.00) from Bath and Unwind
I won this in a simple like and comment giveaway on Instagram. I've heard such amazing things about it.

6) Summer Vibes t-shirt (RRP £15.00) from Awesome Merch
This was a really low entry Twitter win with maybe about 20 entries? It's definitely worth taking the time to search for your own comps.

7) Book (RRP £11.60) from Quercus Books
This was yet another like and comment giveaway on Instagram. I used to read a lot before I had the children and I'm trying to get back into it. This sounds great!

8) Kids t-shirt (RRP £30.00) from Vida Kids PR
I absolutely love this tee but I wasn't sure of the size as it wasn't stated in the competition post. It arrived and it's age 8 so I'll have to squirrel it away for three years!

9) Bath bomb (RRP £4.25) from Amazebomb
This was a win courtesy of my friend Jenna. She won the comp but she tagged me and another friend so we all won! I haven't used it yet but it smells amazing.
10) Ragdoll (RRP £5.00) from Little Lucy Willow
Yep - another Instagram like and comment win. It's super cute and E loves her!

11) Moana costume (RRP £10.99) from Rubies UK
My kids both absolutely adore dressing up so I always enter Rubies comps when I see them on social media. E has loved Moana since we got it on DVD so she'll be thrilled when this arrives.
12) Bamboo muslin squares (RRP £22.69) from Abosca Ireland
I was so chuffed with this Instagram like and comment win as I'm going to gift it. The muslins are super soft!

13) Jelly Belly goodies and £20 Wilko gift card from Jelly Belly
Jelly Belly is another regular competition that I enter weekly and finally managed to win on Twitter! I'm pretty sure it is the Jelly Belly air fresheners that I've won which will be great for Chris's car.
14) £150 People Tree voucher from We Shop Social
I couldn't believe it when I won this on Instagram. I never buy myself new clothes since I had kids so it's lovely to treat myself with wins like this. They have a beautiful range.
15) Box of frozen cocktails (RRP £7.49) from Ice and Easy
I won these in an Instagram giveaway too! Surprisingly, they are still in my freezer and haven't been tasted yet. They look great!

16) Jake and the Never Land Pirates plush and inflatable sword (RRP £13.00) from Disney Junior
Almost every Tuesday, I take part in the Disney Junior Tea Party on Facebook. I was lucky enough to win this little Jake prize. The kids love the show!
17) Soul Food Collective snacks (RRP £6.87) from Soul Food Collective
I won a few bags of snacks in this Twitter giveaway. I love a food win!
18) Smurfs Blu-ray and book (RRP £41.99) from Sony Pictures
Both children love the Smurfs and I am so impressed with the book - it's amazing!
19) Town and Country book (RRP £8.99) from Book Bairn
C and E are massive bookworms so any book win - I'm happy with. This a little turnaround search and find book. I'm sure they'll love it!
20) Tutu dress (RRP £19.00) from houseapop
I won this gorgeous tutu dress in an Instagram like and comment giveaway. Apologies for the rubbish photograph - it's much more beautiful in real life.

21) Taste Inc voucher (RRP £2.99) from Taste Inc
Phew - another Instagram like and comment win. This is just a little voucher for a free pack of their chilled chicken snacks.

22) Hamper of selfie goodies (RRP £314.52) from Hot UK Deals
Holy. Crap. This was an Instagram like and comment win too and I wouldn't let myself believe it until it arrived. How bloody amazing!

23) Bundle of goodies (RRP £15.50) from Jackson Reece
Jackson Reece are another company running regular giveaways (every Friday). With two little ones, these will be so handy.
24) Ben 10 action figure (RRP £9.99) from UK Mums TV
C is a big fan of Ben 10 and has quite a few of their toys from older ranges. He will absolutely adore this!

In August 2017, I won 24 prizes worth a total of £781.45!

I always do a comparison so for the same month in previous years:
August 2016 - 32 prizes worth £554.19
August 2015 - 24 prizes worth £229.29
August 2014 - 5 prizes worth £119.82

Did you win anything nice last month?

From Engagement to Wedding Rings...

Your fiancé has popped the question and now all you’re looking forward to is the big special day and wearing your wedding ring to symbolise the love you have for one another.
With everyone having specific tastes when it comes to wedding essentials, it’s only natural that you want to have a say in what wedding ring you will be wearing to represent your long-lasting marriage. With so many different types of cut, colour, clarity and carat to choose from, it can be a daunting task before the big day arrives. Together with Angelic Diamonds, specialist retailers in solitaire engagement rings and bespoke wedding rings, we provide you with the definitive need-to-knows when it comes to choosing a ring that looks perfect on your finger:

Wedding rings: diamond cut

Your diamond ring is made up of the four C’s; cut, colour, clarity and carat. Cut is the most important feature when it comes to your ring - this is because it has the greatest influence on the diamond’s sparkle, meaning the better the cut, the more the diamond will sparkle on your wedding day.
Your diamond ring can still appear dull, regardless of it having the best clarity and colour grade. The only thing that keeps a diamond from looking dull is its cut.
Everybody wants their wedding ring to sparkle and this comes down to its light performance. So, the perfect ring with an ideal diamond cut will not be too shallow or too deep, and it will allow light to pass through it so that it reflects evenly throughout the diamond.

Wedding rings: colour

When deciding on the ultimate wedding ring, take the colour into consideration. The eye detects sparkle from the diamond cut first, and then detects the colour of the diamond second.
Wedding rings can be expensive and can limit the type of rings you can pick. Choose a near colourless diamond grade between G-H. Colour will not be detected by the naked eye, which will make you and your diamond look perfect on the day, and in the photos. Colour in diamonds appears as a pale yellow, so if this is evident anywhere in the ring you are thinking about buying, we would recommend avoiding it.

Wedding rings: clarity

In a diamond ring, there can often be small imperfections that are regularly referred to as inclusions. The less inclusions in the ring, the better the clarity, which means your wedding ring will shine bright no matter where you are.
It’s not a big deal if there are some imperfections visible – they won’t be seen easily when you’ve got it on your finger. By purchasing an SI (slightly included) quality diamond, you’re able to buy something visually stunning, without having to pay the cost of a diamond that contains no inclusions and no imperfections.

Wedding rings: carat

Many brides believe that the carat of your wedding ring refers to the diamond’s size, and not its weight. This isn’t the case – so try to keep this in mind when choosing the ideal ring for your wedding.
When it comes to your wedding ring, the cut will change how the carat weight looks. You need to be able to get a good balance of both and this will not only guarantee the turning of heads on your wedding day, but also give you the shine that makes it sparkle.

Extra tips that are good to know

Other factors to consider when trying to pick the perfect ring for your wedding are as follows:
  • If carat weight is important to you, consider a diamond with a good cut, with an SI1-SI2 clarity and an I or J colour grade.
  • Keep in mind that based on the size of your finger, the larger the diamond will appear.
  • Not all ring fittings will fit all diamond carats and shapes, so it’s important to consider what type of diamond shape you’d like before choosing its design. 
     Hope these tips help!
    (This is a sponsored post.)
© Mum of a Premature Baby

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