Post Comment Love 29th April - 2nd May

Welcome back for another week of Post Comment Love. Is it just me or are the week's flying by? I can't believe it's Friday again already, AND it's May on Sunday!



What's with all this snow?! It's nearly May and we're having more snow now than we did back in December. What's that all about? Once the flowers start blooming I think it's time for the weather to get warmer, NOT COLDER!!

We've had a pretty good week, despite the awful weather. I've managed to get lots of work done (blogging wise) and the boys are back into a good routine. My washing mountain is still a mountain but you can't have everything can you?

Brio SmartClean Electric Toothbrush Review

I have bad teeth, they're sensitive and yellowed. When I was a teenager (and younger) I didn't brush properly or regularly and as a result I have bad teeth now.

In my adult years though I've taken more care of my teeth, using dental floss, brushing properly, etc. I've always tried to brush for two minutes and inspect my teeth every morning. I'd been advised that using an electric toothbrush would be better. 

I'd never tried one so when I was offered the chance to review the Brio SmartClean Electric Toothbrush I gladly accepted.



I decided the best way to review the toothbrush was to keep a diary, writing down my thoughts about the brush.


Spotlight Stationery Subscription Box Review

Even in a world where technology reigns I'm still drawn to stationery; pens, notebooks, coloured pencils, I have an urge to buy them.

There is nothing like writing the first words in a brand new notebook with a brand new pen.

As it's National Stationery Week I thought I'd share a review with you that's all about, well, stationery.

Spotlight Stationery is run by people who are passionate about stationery, they source fantastic quality products and work from less well-know artisans and want to send it to you.

I was so excited when I received the Spotlight Stationery box in the post that I opened it immediately. 

On opening I was pleasantly surprised by the lovely packaging, it made it feel like a personal gift
rather than a box subscription. 

spotlight stationery subscription box


I pulled open the tissue paper to reveal a box of goodies and I almost clapped my hands with glee.

This month's theme was "In your pocket"

spotlight stationery subscription box contents


The box contained a Castelli pen notebook from Italy, a Tombow Airpress pen from Germany, a Koh-l-Noor mechanical pencil and magic coloured pencil & eraser from Czech Republic, a Crown Mill coloured notebook, envelopes and cards from Belgium, and a Spotlight notebook & postcards from England.

spotlight stationery "In my pocket" themed box


The Castelli pen notebook is really rather handy, it's small enough to fit in my handbag and I don't need to worry about making sure I have a pen because the pen is attached. It has an elastic strap around the notebook too, ensuring you don't end up with folded pages. 

The Tombow Airpress pen is chunky but will definitely be useful. It can write upside down and on wet paper! I've tried using it upside down and it did work, I haven't yet tried it on wet paper.

I like the envelopes and cards, they're small and great quality. I imagine using them to send lovely messages to friends and family.

Overall the Spotlight Stationery Subscription box is great, there are some useful things in there and some arty things too. I particularly like The Desolation of Smaug postcard. I'll be keeping the notebooks to hand, they're always useful either in my handbag or on my desk. Pens, and pencils are always disappearing in my house too, either that or the pens run out and I'm left scrambling to find another. I'm looking forward to testing out the Tombow Airpress pen more to see just how well it can do. 

You can subscribe to Spotlight Stationery either monthly or bi-monthly for £25 per box. You can also buy their previous boxes if you wish. 

The next box will ship on 23rd May.

Get your stationery fix this National Stationery Week and subscribe now.

I was sent the Spotlight Stationery Box for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

A Healthier Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so people say. You shouldn't skip breakfast. You should try and have a healthy breakfast. 

But when you're not very imaginative and don't want to spend hours preparing a healthy but filling breakfast what do you do?

This is something I've struggled with for years. I used to have one slice of toast but I was always hungry before lunch and it left me feeling a bit, well, a bit "meh". I tried having bagels for a while but they were too heavy. A boiled egg with a slice of toast was next and that was great for a while but boiling an egg takes time that I just don't have in a morning.

That is until I spied a brilliant breakfast idea over on Claire's blog I Wasn't Expecting That. Fruit, cereal (or granola), and yoghurt, it sounded delicious and I was determined to try it.

6 Outfits for Stylish Boys

LP loves to look 'cool', he likes unique t-shirts or sweaters and has his own style. He'll often come downstairs in an outfit and ask me if he looks cool or not. He's learning what he likes and what he doesn't and deciding whether it's good enough to wear.

With that in mind I asked him to sit down with me and pick out a few outfits that he thinks would look good together.

boys style


The One With The Sex Video

First of all if you're here expecting to see a sex video you're in the wrong place. There are no sex videos here!


BP is 11 years old, he turns 12 in August, and he is well and truly in the tween/teen strop stage. Whether it's me getting him up in a morning, telling him to do his homework, or asking him to do his chores the most common response I get is a grunt, or if I'm lucky a "it's so unfair!".


We have just given him an iPhone, we had an old iPhone 5S lying around (as you do) and decided that it was time for him to be upgraded from his Windows Phone. 

What I Read 45

Things are finally settling down after a crazy few weeks. The boys are back at school and we're in a good routine, which means I can get back into my reading.






Catie who blogs over at Diary of an Imperfect Mum writes about her autistic son. In her post, Autism is... she talks about her son's presentation he gave at school, how he spoke about his Autism. Sometimes our children can make us so proud and I was really pleased to read Catie's post because I knew her boy had been practicing for a while.






Post Comment Love & Newbie Showcase 22nd - 24th April

I cannot believe it's Friday again! On the one hand it's great that the weekend is almost here and I get to read more fantastic blog posts from you, but on the other hand the kids will be home all day tomorrow!

Kids at home means noise, mess, and arguments. Don't get me wrong I love them both but I've got used to them being at school this week and I'm not quite ready for them to be home again.

I feel like I'm still playing catch up. I've had work to do for the Hubby (I do the admin for his business), I've had my washing mountain to tackle, and I've had lots of emails throughout the week.


My to-do list of posts is growing and it's sometimes hard to find the time to fit it all in. I know I'll get back into my routine eventually but it's quite a slog getting there.

On a positive note I'm enjoying seeing flowers blooming and the lovely colours about the place. I've had to get rid of the flowers I'd started to have in the house because of my (and BP's) hayfever. Boo! But it is nice seeing the bright colours appearing in the garden.


What's your week been like, have your kids just gone back to school or are you back into a lovely routine again?



Newbie Showcase Mainy from My Real Fairy




I'm Mainy and I went live with my blog at the start of 2016. I'm a 40's something woman and I run a busy household like most people and I work full time. My blog is a really big mix of lifestyle, tales of our family which are my 2 school age boys and my partner. Book reviews, poems and arts & crafts are also a passion and something I love reading and writing about. Most of what I blog and feature will have a fairy or folklore theme, however tenuous that may be. But even then, I like to mix it up a bit so that it can be fluid. I blog to relax and to have something that is more of a creative outlet than other areas in my life. I see it as a bit of 'me' time.

You can find me on:

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/myrealfairy/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/myrealfairy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011524113407

My five blogs which I'm proud of are:

Tales of a Newbie Blogger #1 - http://www.myrealfairy.com/?p=343

Fairy Pools - http://www.myrealfairy.com/?p=159

Ariella - http://www.myrealfairy.com/?p=147

Fairies at The Bottom of The Garden ~ The Cottingley Fairies - http://www.myrealfairy.com/?p=5

Is Yoga right for me? - http://www.myrealfairy.com/?p=442


Pocolo


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked. The rules are still the same; your post needs to have been written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

The Newbie Showcase is continuing and you'll find it alternating between us. Over the last few months we've had the odd issue with finding replacements for our Newbie Showcase when people have dropped out. As a result Stephanie and I have decided to change the rules slightly.

Now when you get in touch we'll ask you for your information before we give you a date when you'll be featured. Once we have your information we add you to our list and tell you when you'll be featured as our Newbie.

So far this is working much better than before and Stephanie's and my stress levels are significantly lower!

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Newbie, you remember what it was like being a new blogger right? It's always nice to get a comment or two.

If you'd like to be featured in our Newbie Showcase please do email us at PostCommentLove@gmail.com

Thank you for popping by.

Post Comment Love
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Randomise your game playing!

We love playing board games, from things like Cluedo to classics like Carcassonne. Our collection of board games is ever-growing and they're beginning to take over the lounge, but we don't mind. 
hands and feet together on grass

Randomise is a game in our collection, it's different, new, and... random.

randomise, a card game, in its box


When I was asked if I'd like to review Randomise I couldn't wait to find out what it was all about. We always try to make time to play games with the boys and this would be another game in our list to choose from. 

About the game


Randomise is a card game, with a difference. 

How I feel about gaining weight

I've gained weight since last week...



Yes, that's right, since stating that I wanted to lose weight I've put it on instead. BUT I'm feeling strangely positive because I've made significant changes.

In the last week I've changed what I have for breakfast in a morning, I'm eating less of the sweet stuff, and I'm eating less food. 

Breakfast


On a regular day I would have one slice of toast for breakfast with a coffee. While this is okay I was getting bored of it and I never particularly enjoyed it. Now that fruit is in season and is quite tasty I decided to switch what I'm having for breakfast.


oats, fruit, yoghurt, breakfast


Over the past week I've had oats, nuts, and raisins with yoghurt and fresh fruit. There are most definitely more calories in that than there are in one slice of toast but I have to say that I feel a lot better after eating it. I feel 'fresher', if that makes sense, like I'm giving my body what it needs rather than stuffing it with something just to abate the hunger.


Morning Coffee


Over Autumn and Winter I drink a lot of coffee, when the days are cold and dreary a good coffee is lovely first thing in the morning. 

On brighter, warmer days though I don't need the coffee. This morning for example I had two glasses of water before taking LP to school and when I started work I added some Vimto squash to a pint of water.  So far today (it's 09:20am) I've had no coffee!


Eating less


I'm listening to my body. I'm starting to notice when I'm full and rather than finishing my food I'm stopping.  It may not sound like much but I think that's half my problem, over-eating. I continue to eat something even though I'm full because it's nice. Not healthy.

Paying attention to what my body is saying and acting on it surely will make a difference eventually.


Exercise


Unless you class housework as a workout then I haven't done any exercise. We took the boys for a walk last week, oh and we visited Bolsover Castle, but not any physical activity, nothing that would get my heart rate up. 

I'm still planning on clearing out my room to make space for yoga practice too but with getting the kids ready to go back to school I've had no time. I'll get to it, eventually.


woman's silhouette, doing a yoga pose


Although I've gained weight I am feeling better, which doesn't make much sense. All I can put it down to is eating the right things and perhaps the weight loss will come later.

Chicken Stir Fry with Black Bean Sauce

The problem with not enjoying spending lots of time in front of the cooker is that you can feel like there isn't enough variety. The trick is finding the easy, but tasty recipes to try out.
chicken stir fry with black bean sauce "a healthy meal in 15 minutes!"

Stir fry is super easy, takes about 15 minutes, and is tasty AND healthy!
chicken stir fry with black bean sauce


What you'll need:


A Wok
Olive Oil
Diced chicken
Green Beans
Baby Corn
Mushrooms
Pack of stir fry vegetables
Pack of Black Bean Sauce

Amounts will vary depending on how many people you're cooking for.


10 things I love about being a stay-at-home parent

When you tell people you're a stay-at-home parent do you ever get the feeling they're imagining you sitting on your bottom all day watching daytime TV?

Either that, or they think your house is immaculate and all you do is clean.

I've often felt like that and I wonder where they get the idea that stay-at-home parents are either obsessed with cleaning or are slobs.

I love being a stay-at-home mum, but I am neither a slob nor an obsessive cleaner.

My house is 'lived in' and I'm proud of that fact. I don't obsess over vacuuming the carpet every day, there are toys left out, and my kitchen looks 'used'.

There are many things I love about being a stay-at-home mum but below you'll find just 10 of them.



1. Taking my kids to school


On our trips to school LP and I chat about all kinds of things, it can range from imaginary animal fights to where we'll be going on our next holiday. It's my chance to talk with him, just me and him. We laugh, we sing along to the radio, and we make our way to school together.

young boy with school bag on his back, walking to school





2. Quiet time once the kids are at school


At 9:10am I get back home after dropping LP off at school and the day is mine. From then until 3:15pm, when I go to pick up LP, I can do what I choose. Admittedly, on most days, what I choose to do is blogging. I spend my days in my office writing, taking photos, and tweeting.





3. The kids know where I am


No matter what the time of day the boys know that I'm at home if they need me. If they're sick while at school, or if they leave something at home, I'm on hand to help. I can be at LP's school in five minutes or BP's school in 10. 





4. I manage my own timetable


I don't have to be anywhere at a particular time, unless I arrange it that way, which means that I'm almost never late. I arrange my days the way that works best for me.





5. I don't have to 'dress up' for anyone


As I don't go into an office every day I can sit in my pjs if I want (I don't!) or joggers and a t-shirt (I do). I am comfortable every single day.

Morgan Prince wearing navy jumper and dark green jeans with light grey ballet flats




6. No compromise on holidays


When my boys are off school for the holidays I am right here with them. I don't need to 'borrow' holidays from next year, I don't need to arrange with my co-workers for days off, and I don't need to arrange my holidays for the same time as the boys.





7. I have no childcare issues


Sickness, snow days, or burst pipes at school are no trouble. Always being at home means that I'm here when something happens. I don't need to worry about childcare at all.





8. Being able to arrange surprises


Sometimes, when I'm feeling particularly soppy, I like to arrange surprises for my boys. I've bought movies, set up new games, all sorts of things, all while they're at school. It's lovely being able to sort out a surprise for them to come home to.





9. Going for coffee with the girls


I have one or two friends, women I've met through my kids, who I meet with occasionally. We go to a local coffee shop or the local soft play centre, for a drink and a chat. It doesn't matter what time they want to meet up, because I'm at home either way.





10. Eating lunch with the Hubby every day


The Hubby and I eat lunch together every day. We both work at home, him in the lounge, making his mobile games, and me in my office, blogging. People think we spend every hour of every day together but we really don't. What we do get to do though is eat together every day.


So there you have it, being a stay-at-home parent is awesome and I wouldn't want to change it for anything

What I Read 44

I've certainly been doing lots of reading over the past few days, catching up on Post Comment Love and other linkies reading.

Gold circle containing words 'What I Read' in pink


It really is lovely finding blog posts to share with you and today is no different. I've got some great picks.





Squirmy popple

Katie, aka @squirmypopple, wrote a list about what being a mum means to her. In it she mentions things that made me laugh, made me nod along, and made me smile because I don't have to do those things anymore! 



Post Comment Love 15th - 17th April

Every time I write one of the Post Comment Love posts I try and think of a different way of saying welcome, unfortunately my mind goes blank and that's the only word left!

Here we are again, another week flown by and the kids are back to school on Monday!!!! (to many exclamations?)


I feel like my freedom is just a few days away. That might sound like an awful thing to say about my own kids but after the chicken pox and two weeks of holidays I'm ready for them to be back at school. I do love my kids but boy do they drive me nuts!

The house is slowly getting back to normal. I still have a massive laundry mountain and the vacuuming needs doing desperately, but the kitchen is somewhat tidy. That's always been my bug-bear, I hate an untidy kitchen. Especially when I have to do breakfast in a morning but cleaning is required first. 

Being a parent is...

What is the first word that comes to mind when someone says "Being a parent is..."?

For me it really depends on the type of day I'm having.

Today for example, the word that first comes to mind is 'hard'.

I'm the parent of a tween, he's stroppy, looks at me with contempt on a regular basis, constantly argues, and thinks that everything I say is wrong.

We have to fight about everything.

The depressing thing about it all is that I know this phase is going to last a while. I mean, he's not even a teen yet. I'm dreading the teenage years.

Saying that though BP can be such a lovely boy sometimes. Those times when LP isn't around, or he's woken in a particularly good mood, he'll actually talk to me using real words! We can have chats about all kinds of things and it really is nice to have a proper conversation with him. It is rare, but I cherish those times.




LP is easier to parent right now, he's 7. He'll do as he's told (most of the time) and is happy to help out with housework and other chores. He just wants to make everyone happy so he'll put himself out in order to make someone else smile. 

Don't get me wrong, LP has his moments too. He'll get toys out and spread them all over the floor and then not want to tidy them up. He'll jump on the furniture pretending to be an acrobat and kick drinks onto the floor. And he needs constant attention, from sticker books to video games he's always wanting to show me his progress.

Being a parent is such an all encompassing thing that it is hard to think of a time when I wasn't a parent.

So many words describe it...

Difficult
Challenging
Scary
Terrifying
Painful
Heartbreaking
Fulfilling
Exciting
Exhilarating
Joyful
Amusing
Entertaining

When you think about being a parent what word comes to mind?

My Weight Loss Journey

My weight has yo-yoed for years, I weighed 14st 8lbs at my heaviest and 9st 10lbs at my lightest. Right now I'm 13st and I'm not happy, it's time to start the weight loss journey, again.

I spent a long time blogging about my weight loss, at one point I was doing great and I loved writing about it. It was a positive story after all, I was doing exercise (and enjoying it), I ate far less and my weight just kept going down. I was so proud of myself. 


It was all for our holiday to Florida and I knew that I'd put weight on while I was there. As it turns out I didn't put on as much as I thought I would and I returned home having gained 6lbs. But that's when the trouble started. 

Everyone has a talent. What's yours?

Everyone has a talent, something they are particularly gifted at or really enjoy.

Last week was LP's 7th birthday and I asked my sister to make him a cake. I'd seen photos of some of the cakes she'd made and thought I'd give her a challenge. LP has just got into Star Wars and I thought it would be a great idea to have a Death Star cake. To be honest I had no idea how she would do it, there is no way I could do something like that. But when I went to pick up the cake and saw what she'd achieved I was stunned.

Death Star (Star Wars) cake

My sister's talent is definitely making cakes.

Hello, My Name is EVIL MUM

Evil Mum, that's me.
Evil through and through. 

Only an evil mum would ask her children to put shoes on so that they could go out.
Only an evil mum would tell her children to bring a coat with them, in case things got cold.
Only an evil mum would ask her children to tidy up action figures that were spread out across the carpet.

Evil mum is my name.
Evil is what I do.

The best evil-ing is done when the kids least expect it. 
Like when they get up in a morning and they're told to brush their teeth and wash their face.
Like when they're about to eat and they're told to wash their hands.
Like when they've finished eating and they're told to take away their dirty dishes.

Evil is a part of me.
Evil, not just mean.

Not letting them spend all day playing games.
Not letting them play out in the pouring rain.
Not letting them hit each other with light sabres.

I have become the Evil Mum, the one who hates and does everything in her power to make their lives a misery.

And do you know what?

You will become Evil Mum too...

three pears, with evil, angry looking faces.
Us Evil Mums should stick together!

Sooner or later your child will look at you with such hatred in their eyes you will want to cry. All the same things you've always said and done will suddenly be the worst possible things in the world.

Chatting about school friends suddenly becomes a no-go topic. 
Chatting at all is a rarity.
Getting them out of bed in the morning becomes a fight in itself and the simple fact that you were the one to wake them makes you sprout horns on your head.

Parenting is tough, there are times that really test you. 
Parenting a tween, and a tween-in-training, is pushing me to my limits.

As always I will continue, I'll take the Evil Mum name and use it. 
After all a good parent uses everything to their disposal right? 

So yes, my name is Evil Mum.


Evil Morgan


Is your room tidy?


What I Read March Roundup

Throughout March I read some really great blog posts and shared them in my What I Read series. Here's a roundup of all the posts I shared.







In What I Read 41 Zaz sent herself some love and urged you to send yourself some too. Tori, aka The Mama Nurse, discussed trolling mums on Facebook. Lizzie started her weight loss journey with the help of Nutribuddy. Danielle discussed the small things that make a huge difference to her and her little one. Emma shared her thoughts on success and how she's adjusting her focus, for now. And finally Clare talks about how hurtful simple questions can be, such as "When's the next one then?". Perhaps think, before asking such an 'innocent' question?




Post Comment Love and Newbie Showcase 8th - 10th April

It's that time again and Stephanie and I welcome you to another Post Comment Love.

You know those times when life seems to run away with you and before you know it you're behind on all of the jobs you wanted to get done? That's me right now.

With LP having chicken pox last week, and then both the boys are off school this week and next, things are a bit crazy. I'm running behind on blogging, on reading blogs, and on doing housework. I'm trying to catch up but things aren't looking good.

On the positive side though I get to spend time with my kids. I'm not stressing, it's completely pointless. I'm going to take time for my kids, I'm going to enjoy the holidays while I can, and once the kids are back at school everything will be back to normal. 

Chicken & Sausage Pasta Bake

Pasta Bake is another favourite meal in our house, it's easy to make and super-tasty. I use a jar of sauce (shock-horror!), on the jar it says to simply add pasta and cheese but I much prefer my pasta bake with chicken too.
pasta bake, easy to make

What you'll need:


(Serves 4)

450g pack of chicken
Cooked sausage (Mattesons cooked sausage works best)
Fusili pasta
Homepride* pasta bake sauce (in your favourite flavour)
Grated Cheese
An ovenproof dish

A Letter to LP for his 7th Birthday

To my boy, LP,

You turned 7 yesterday. You woke later than usual but as soon as you were awake you jumped out of bed with excitement. Opening your presents was especially fun, I watched your delighted face as you opened the toys you'd asked for. Your squeal when you spied the Lego Star Wars Poe's X-Wing Fighter told me we'd chosen right.



The day was spent playing with your new toys, eating takeaway food and cake, and generally having fun. Time flew by and before you knew it it was bed time, you were disappointed that your birthday was over but went to bed with a smile on your face.

What I Read 43

Here I am back again with another What I Read, and am happy to be sharing other bloggers' posts.

#WhatIRead badge





Mama Mim

A post that really touched my heart for personal reasons is Mim's post Am I An Imposter? In it she talks about her cancer diagnosis and how she felt. This particular post brought tears to my eyes and I knew instantly that I wanted to share it with you. Please do head over and read.