18th Birthdays

My eldest ‘child’ has just turned 18. I can’t believe where the time has gone and I certainly don’t feel old enough to be the Mother of an 18 year old – crow’s feet tell me otherwise however.

It’s made me think back to when I turned 18 and what I was doing at the time. For my 18th I had a party in the local Community Centre, with friends and family. Getting ready for said party I remember spending hours choosing my outfit – a toss up between black PVC trousers – they were ‘in’ at the time, I swear! – and a short checked skirt complete with those horrible shiny tights which everyone wore. I teamed my fave crushed velvet top with the skirt before coming down the stairs to my Dad’s ‘I’m not in the slightest bit bloody impressed face’ before telling me I looked like a tart and to go and change. Off I went upstairs and changed. Actually, that’s a lie because I went upstairs and faffed around for long enough for it to be too late for him to make me change and off we went with me in my tarty skirt. Luckily enough we didn’t have a long walk!


IMG_0932 (1)


Much hilarity and alcohol ensued including dancing with my late Nan to Tina Turner’s Simply the Best. We even had the obligatory punch-up that happens at all the best parties. I wasn’t involved mind you! It was the weirdo Uncle and 300 times removed knobhead cousin. I was more bothered about my laddered tights making me look less than glamourous. Nevermind that I had lipstick smeared across my face.

I don’t really remember an awful lot else apart from being put to bed by the then boyfriend (who dumped me shortly after – dick) and waking up several times to be sick,scooping up cold cider & black covered lumps of vol-au-vent in the morning isn’t up there on my list of favourite activities I must admit. To this day I can’t drink cider and black. Bleurgh.

The next night I joined a few of my friends at the local nightclub, in my 18 badges and got a few raised eyebrows from the bouncers who’d been letting me in on a Saturday night for months. Oops!

Since my 18th wasn’t all that exciting I decided to ask some fab bloggers what they did for their 18th and this is what they said!

Chantele from Two Hearts One Roof:

“I had a big party in a local hotel. But I couldn’t touch a drop of alcohol as i was on special antibiotics and painkillers that would have caused me to vomit if i drunk even a drop, I had a bad root abscess in a front tooth 4 days before that caused half my face to swell, cue panic! the extra strong meds were in the hope my face would get back to normal before the party!”

Jenna from Then There Were Three:

“Mine was awful! Hired out a function room of a pub for all my friends and family. Ended up leaving at 10:30 after arguing with my boyfriend at the time who had a go at me as he thought my cousin was coming onto me 😂😂 I ended up throwing a pint over him and pushing him into a bush before leaving 🙈”

Sarah from The Parenting Trials:

“I made it a 18th birthday weekend, consisting of meals, a trip to the pier, a drunk night out and then a hungover family meal urgh haha was so ill couldn’t eat it, my family kept trying to get the bday cake brought out to sing happy birthday to me, however i kept running off to be sick so they had to keep sending it back lol 🙈🙈”

Laura from The Unsung Mum:

“I went to Newquay with a group of friends including my now husband. He invented a friend who had just broken up with his long term girlfriend and they decided to get drunk then throw up all over our bed. Safe to say I gave him the cold shoulder the next day, found every pot and pan I could to smack around and made him make it up to me for a week after!!”

Jodie from Life With Pink Princesses:

“My friends hired a stripper and we had alcohol at home for a house party and Ann Summers party 😂”

Maddy from The Speed Bump

“I got engaged! We went on a family holiday, my boyfriend came along and he asked me to marry him at sunset! We went back last year for my 21st birthday with our toddler, it was so lovely 🙂 “

Steph from Mental Parentals:

“I went to my local pub that had been my local for two years…”

Cathryn from A Cardiff Mummy Says:

“I had my last A-level exam on my 18th birthday! English Literature. The joys of a June birthday! A group of us went straight to the pub after our exam, in our school uniforms! After much persuasion and showing of ID, they let us buy alcoholic drinks.
I then had an awesome house party that night. Even though having an A-level exam on my actual birthday was pretty rubbish, I’m very grateful the exam wasn’t the day after my birthday so at least I could celebrate.”

Carla from Random Thoughts Of A Twenty Something:

“I was 6 months pregnant with my second child. I was surprised with a meal with all my friends and family and an awesome TARDIS cake! :-D”

Lauren from Blogger Mummy Lauren

“I went in to Newcastle for my first legal drink then invited a group of close friends over to my house for a ‘quiet house party’. I woke up the next morning with no recollection of my night, covered in all kinds of phallic shaped permanent marker drawings all over my body. Had to go for an interview for my foundation degree with the outline of something quite rude on my face the next day 😂”

Michaela from Two Little Paines

“I decided I’d never had a birthday party before so I was going to have one …adult bouncy castle, pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, vodka jelly, baileys ice cream etc”

Hannah from Hannah Spannah

“What if it was nearly 20 years ago and you can’t actually remember? 😂😂😂
I know I had some friends over for cake and champagne but I must have done something else. I probably went out to Harrogate and drank so much that I have permanent memory loss.”

Zoe from Mama Geek

“I was taking part in the International Air Cadet Exchange and was visiting Canada for 10 days. I spent my 18th birthday visiting Niagara Falls, including a trip on the Maid of the Mist boat. I didn’t have any alcohol though as I couldn’t legally drink as where I was staying the legal drinking age was higher than 18. An absolutely amazing birthday though!!”

Helen from Casa Costello

“I spent my 18th with the most boring teacher ever searching through clearing to get a place at uni (Daft August birthday!) I did secure a place at uni about 3pm though (and then went to the pub)”

Jessica from BabiAFi

“My nan died not long before so it was very subdued, really. As I remember on the day itself I went to a local pub quiz – which we lost massively – and because I was a total prig in those days I only drank orange juice anyway!”

What did you do for your 18th? Was it all fun and games or a more sober affair?Julie x (2)


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Home Learning with NCC

Having my family young meant that I was limited to the kinds of jobs and hours that I was able to take. I have been thinking for some time about furthering my education but have been unable to do this whilst still earning money to feed the little ones. My partner and I both work so without paying for childcare going back to college would be nigh on impossible and all the money we earned would go straight back out again which is then totally pointless.

Then an opportunity came up with NCC Home Learning who asked if I’d like to study a home learning course and it was a lightbulb moment as it means I can learn from the comfort of my own home without the need for juggling childcare, the kids, my job and a college course.

I chose the Human Resources Diploma Level 3 as my current job is office/admin based I thought this would be a great course to compliment the skills I have already gained from the jobs I have had over the last 20 odd years.Showing my age there!! This covers modules including Recruitment, Selection and Induction of Staff Producing and Maintaining Personnel Records Staff Management and Relations Staff Support and Development Disciplinaries, Grievances and Disputes Staff Terminations.

I’m actually very excited to find out what it’s like to go back to learning and see how I get on with it as it’s been a long time since I’m done anything as formal as this aside from various in house training courses for work.

I will update later on when I have completed the course to let you know how I got on, I’m confident that I will thoroughly enjoy it though. Who could want more than to better your learning whilst sitting on the sofa with your feet up?

Startup Stock Photos

Julie x (2)

Nurture Fruity Water+ Review

Nurture Fruity Water+ is a yummy,still fruity water which contains 7 vitamins, beta glucans, calcium and zinc to help support little ones immune systems. We were asked to try the 2 flavours – Cherry & Strawberry and Orange & Pineapple. I found them interesting as a lot of kids drinks are full of sugar and that tends to be the ones kids aim for unfortunately, however these drinks – aimed at children from 1+ are slightly different in that they are healthier yet tasty despite not having any added sugar, sweeteners or preservatives it only contains naturally occurring sugars.What’s not to like?


Nurture is the story of parents Lucie and Derek Sanders. With three children of their own, they were on a mission to create a children’s drink that not only tastes delicious but is healthy, thanks to its natural goodness. Driven by a firm belief that if children consume less sugar from an early age, they will be less inclined to develop a ‘sweet tooth’ and more inclined to make healthy consumption choices later on, Lucie and Derek have focused on flavours that kids love. Nurture Fruity Water+ is all about nurturing our little ones’ healthy habits for life. Out with sugar, and in with flavour!

The water comes in a really handy 200ml pouch which can be resealed, which is great for taking on days out or even in a lunchbox for school as it also meets the school standards government guidelines for England. It contains 45% juice and 55% water so there’s plenty of fruity flavour.

My children, 7&4 tried them and liked them a lot. The Orange & Pineapple one went down the best, they said it tasted just like fresh pineapple. They didn’t dislike the Cherry & Strawberry one, they just preferred the Orange & Pineapple. They have lots of flavour and you would definitely be able to tell what flavours they were if you didn’t already know.

I think the kids  expectation was that they were going to be a lot sweeter so you could see the ‘oh’ on their face but they were very happy to drink them and they are something I would buy again if they were to be stocked at my local supermarket as I tend to give my children sugar free flavoured water for school anyway because their school does not allow squash type drinks to be taken in.

NURTURE Fruity Water+ is available in 200ml pouches with a RRP of 99p to £1.49. Retailers include: Ocado, Whole Foods Market, and Holland & Barrett.

Julie x (2)


*We were sent the products for purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

To My Teenage Son


As I sat there on the bathroom floor sobbing quietly to myself wondering where on earth I’ve gone wrong. I thought I was doing ok,not perfect but who is? But it’s so much harder than I ever imagined it could be. Being the parent of a teenager is bloody hard, when that teenager wants to be treated as an adult yet the behaviour they display is that of a child just without the high pitched screeching (most of time).

Son, do you think it’s ok that your Mum is feeling worthless because you’ve just told her to stay out of your business again when she tried to engage you in conversation? Or your Step-Dad is in the shed trying to calm down because you’ve told him to eff off when he asked you to clear your mess?

Us parents who gave up years and years of our lives, took meaningless jobs so we could provide food to go in your mouth because we wanted a family, children to love and care for who would love them back, only to find that years down the line said child would throw it all back in our face and fight against every rule they’ve made to keep you safe. Every suggestion to help you get on in life. Those parents that scrimped and saved and went without just so you could get the things on your Christmas list.Sacrificed their social lives and stopped going out with their friends, some of which lost them a friendship or 2 because those friends stopped asking after a while, fed up of being rejected.

Replaced the phones you lost and/or smashed so you can communicate with your social group even though we could ill afford it. Moan that we take away your essential wifi akin to removing all the blood in your body because it seems to be the only punishment that gets through.

Become best friends with slamming doors and huge sighs of irritation at the slightest ask of help, why should we do all the dishes only to find you’ve abandoned your glass on the kitchen counter because it’s beneath you to just swill the damn thing out.

Get out of bed at 12pm and demand a lift to somewhere you should have been an hour ago, hang on – I thought you were an adult – you know, the type who get themselves out of bed and go to work and earn a living?

I was a teenager, I know it’s hell on earth at times but one thing I do remember and remember well is not to bite the hand that feeds. Once you’re out in that big, bad world you’ll know. You’ll see what we’ve been saying all along is true and that really deep down you’re still a little kid who has no idea what they’re doing. I know because I’ve done it. I left home at 17 thinking I was the kiddie and I could rule the world. Til I realised that world was actually full of an awful lot of some quite horrible people. People who don’t care about you and would walk past you if you were on fire. Who do you run to then? I think we all know the answer to that.

Son I love you with all my heart and soul but right now I’m not liking how things are going. I want my boy back, the one who hung off my leg and watched intently everything i did. Where did he go? I only hope that one day we can look back and laugh. Until then we have to ride it out.


Julie x (2)

Haymax Kids Allergen Barrier Balm Review

More children than adults suffer from hay fever; around 30% of all children in the UK suffer from the allergy, compared to 20% of adults. HayMax allergen barrier balms provide an effective defence against grass pollen; they can be used by children from birth and are proven in independent studies to trap pollen grains before they enter the body.

With the warmer weather (well sometimes) comes the dreaded hayfever season which we are right in now. My daughter always starts the day around this time of year coughing and sneezing and rubbing her eyes. Anyone who suffers hayfever knows how miserable it can be so when I saw Haymax Allergen Barrier Balm I asked if they would send me some to review as I thought it sounded great for my 4 year old daughter. I hate having to dose her up with medicine every morning which makes her feel a bit sleepy.

Haymax Kids Balm is an award winning organic drug-free allergen barrier balm based on beeswax and sunflower oil which is designed to trap pollen before it gets into the body and causes the allergic reaction. People who suffer from hayfever can only tolerate a certain amount of pollen before they start to react. All you have to do is apply the balm around the rim of the nostrils and the bones of your eyes and it helps trap the pollen.

HayMax is drug-free and the ingredients have been chosen to be suitable for children of all ages, and pregnant and breast-feeding women which is ideal – I wish it had been around when I was pregnant the first time I suffered horribly with it then and felt it would never end when I couldn’t take my usual anti – histamine.

It comes in a little 5ml pot which looks and feels very much like a lip balm. You might think ‘well that’s so small it won’t last long!’ But you only need a small amount to rub on which means the pot will last ages – up to 6 months. It can be reapplied as many times as you like to make sure you have all day/evening coverage. I applied it at night too if the window was open just in case. It didn’t sting or upset my daughter’s skin and she didn’t get any kind of reaction to it. It also doesn’t have a noticeable smell.

I am very pleased with it as it does help to stop the symptoms of the hayfever for my daughter. She’s quite happy ( alright nagged me) to do it for herself so I showed her how to and she does it easily so with her starting reception in September, come next Summer she can pop one in her school bag to use if she needs to.

HayMax organic drug-free allergen barrier balms retail at £6.99 per pot and are available from Holland & Barrett, selected Morrisons, Waitrose and Boots, independent health stores, chemists and pharmacies, on 01525 406600 and on-line at haymax.biz.

Julie x (2)

*we were sent the Haymax Kids for free for the purposes of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

BABY Born Interactive Doll Review and Giveaway

My daughter was absolutely delighted to find that we were going to be reviewing a BABY born Interactive boy doll made by Zapf Creation. It was fantastic timing as it turned up around her birthday and she has been asking for a boy version of the BABY born Interactive girl we already had. I’ll be giving my fab readers a chance to win a doll of their own so look out for the giveaway at the end of this post!

So excited was she that she ripped it open quick smart and I had to take my photos a bit sharpish before she could play with him.


Excitement and squealing ensued and she quickly got on with opening the box to see what other accessories we had included in the box:BABY-BORN-INTERACTIVE-BOY

  1. BABY born boy doll and dummy
  2. Friendship bracelet
  3. Plate, spoon and baby food
  4. Bottle
  5. Booklet of dolls made by Zapf Creation
  6. Birth certificate
  7. Nappy
  8. Potty


A name was decided on – Donny – no idea where that came from but she was instantly in love with him in his little blue vest and hat he’s perfect baby size for cuddling and carrying around for my 4 year old – he’s suitable for children aged 3 and up and requires no batteries which is always a bonus! She then couldn’t wait to get started feeding him.

There is a small sachet of baby food included and it just needs to be mixed with a small amount of water to make it the right consistency so it goes through the doll.

The bottle can be filled with water to feed the baby and once they’ve had enough they can be popped on the potty and the button on their tummy pressed for the ‘wee’ to come out. Something that never fails to amuse my daughter🙂

BABY born can move his head and his arms and legs and head and his eyes close when he’s led down to go to sleep.

BABY born can cry if you squeeze his right arm a few times, which actually was quite sad the poor thing!


BABY born has a friendship bracelet on his wrist and there’s another included in the box for your little one too.


BABY born can also have a little bath, something my little lady really enjoys doing with all her baby dolls. Then it’s time to wrap up in a lovely warm blanket pop a dummy in and cuddle down for the night.


I’m pleased to say that Donny and Lily are now the best of friends and have been on all sorts of adventures together. They top ‘n’ tail in the cot at the side of my little lady’s bed .


If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning your very own BABY born interactive boy doll then enter  via the Rafflecopter below:


Baby born

  1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only.
  2. There is 1 prize which is non-transferable, cannot be exchanged and no cash alternative will be offered.
  3. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget above.
  4. The winners will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries.
  5.  The giveaway will run until Midnight 31/07/16
  6.  Once the giveaway is over the winners will be contacted for their details to arrange postage of their prize :-)

Julie x (2)

Tips To Get You Ready For Having A Teenage Boy

One day just when you think you have this parenting thing cracked, they’ll go to bed and wake up a totally different kid. You’ll wonder what on earth happened whilst drowning your sorrows in gin. Here are my tips to get you ready for having a teen boy. It isn’t serious I’m just as blimmin’ clueless as everyone else but it will give you an insight into the delights you can look forward too. Yippee.

• Take a lovely pair of white socks, get in the car, drive to the nearest rubbish dump, rub them around the smelliest pile of crap you can find. Take them home leave them for a week. Now pick them up and take a good sniff. That smell right there is how their socks will smell and consequently their bedroom. Oh and clean up that vomit you just got everywhere you’re gonna need a stronger stomach.



• Start learning how to fashion a gas mask out of a tea towel to do the washing now so you get used to it. Believe me when I say you’ll need it. You can NEVER be prepared for how smelly their pits  get and NEVER EVER ask why that sock is crispy and stuck together.

• Start having conversations with the walls. Sometimes those guys will be the only ones listening and they won’t roll their eyes at you or huff and puff every time you so much as open your mouth or even just breathe near your darling teen. Maybe make it worth it and stick a poster of Tom Hardy up there. If you’re gonna be ignored at least he’s worth looking at.

• Buy a dictionary of ‘crap words made up by teens’ or you’ll never be able to understand a bloody word they grunt your way. Do you know your peng from your fam or your raw from your schnapping? Nope, I didn’t have a Scooby Doo either!

• Start using the space under their bed as a makeshift bin. That way when you go searching for the batteries they nicked out of your Sky remote for their Xbox controller there’ll be no nasty, niffy surprises.



• When storing their phone number in your phone change it to your own number. You might as well just text yourself all day long as I can guarantee they won’t answer you unless of course you’re clever and text something like “your little brother is in your room looking through your DVD’s and there’s one with no name on it, is it ok for him to watch?” they’ll be straight on the phone then telling you to “get the hell out of their room, they never get any privacy”.

• If for some reason your teen has to go somewhere with you (oh the horror) be prepared for them to walk 20 steps in front and act as though they have no idea who you are. Especially when any of their mates might see you and wind them up by shouting MILF at you. Then you may hear some other choice words but these you will DEFINITELY know the meaning of. They really won’t thank you for giving them a clip around the earhole for swearing in front of their ‘crew’ so best just to let them walk on ahead.

• If, like mine, they’re into free running get ready for your stomach to launch itself out of your mouth every time they show you the latest thing they can do or how many flips they can do off that massive wall that would make you crap yourself just climbing.

Bet you’re totally and utterly looking forward to it now aren’t you?!

Julie x (2)

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


House of Fraser Father’s Day Wishlist

So Father’s Day is fast approaching and House of Fraser have some fantastic ideas for gifts for the special Dad’s in your life. Here are some of my favourites chosen from lots of options on their site.House-Of-Fraser-Fathers-Day-Wishlist

1. Diesel 3 pack Solid Underwear Trunks – well you’re going to get them underwear make them worth looking at hey😉

2. Superdry Skandia T-shirt – to remind us of gorgeous summer beaches (when in reality we’ll probably end up in Porthcawl again) but I think it’s lovely.

3. Emma Bridgewater Mug – as much as he winds the kids up left, right and centre he is their hero. This mug is great as it’s half pint just right for the coffee he needs in the morning to get him shifted!

4. Ted Baker Contrast Colour Wallet he’s always carrying around a skanky one he’s got from somewhere so it would be lovely for him to have a really nice one for a change.

5. Sshh! Don’t Wake Dad Game – A bit of fun for us all as a family, in reality a tornado wouldn’t wake my fella.

6. Everything Tablet Premium Leather Case For IPad Mini 2 & 3 if the kids are going to nickit all the time at least he can have a nice case to protect it!

Do you fancy any of these? What would you like to get?

Julie x (2)

*This post is written in collaboration with House of Fraser*

Nineties Nonsense

Growing up for me  was, I imagine like growing up for anyone who was a teen in the 90’s, I spent my evenings ‘down the leisure’ I ate bags of beef Space Raiders and chips in cones made to look like newspaper, played Street Fighter on the arcade machine and drank Lilt. Elbowed my mates when one or other of our crushes walked past and talked about what a slag Kerry was ‘cos she let Barry do something naughty to her outside the fire exit.

I used Salon Selectives but I definitely didn’t look like I’d ‘just stepped out of the salon’ it did smell nice however, once it was clean it was time to spray it within an inch of it’s life with Silvikrin whilst scrunching. Surprised we didn’t all end up with clawed hands because of it. Fire hazard be buggered, took your life in your hands every time you lit up a sneaky fag, some dippy git told me to wrap chewing gum round my fingers so my Mum couldn’t smell the smoke – did it work? Did it hell!


I wore Cover Girl foundation that I won from a competition in a magazine. My Mum would never have let me have it otherwise – wouldn’t want me ruining my lovely young skin see. I can still remember the smell of that stuff to this day. It’s highly likely I looked like Casper the friendly ghost – not that I cared I was grown up obviously! I wore Heather Shimmer lipstick. Think everyone in my school/town/country did. Good job there’s not an awful lot of photo evidence around it’s really cringeworthy stuff.

I had a luminous pink Hi-Tec bag that I could have fitted my whole family in and more. I had those horrible white daps (plimsoles for those not from Wales) with a heel and those really shiny flesh coloured tights that made your legs look like sparkly sausages.  I wore ankle length wrap skirts (not good in a gust of wind) with a body underneath. Those poppers were a bit of a twat when you were busting. I read somewhere recently they were making a comeback. Well sod that!

I bought all my single cassette tapes from Woolworths. This is back in the day when Woolworths was the best shop in town (well our town anyway which didn’t have that much other than the ‘Big Tesco’).

I called him Mr. Raider, called him Mr. Wrong, called him Mr. Vain and couldn’t say no to anyone without saying the full No no, no no no no, no no no no, no no there’s no limit! I watched Bad Girls, Band of Gold, Bottom and Byker Grove.


As much as loved being a teenager in the 90’s and so many things were better then I really wouldn’t want to go back and do it all again. Especially all the boy trouble, let’s be honest many teenage lads are complete arseholes! The fashion wasn’t exactly anything to write home about either – black velvet choker anyone?!

Julie x (2)

Lucas Frank Review

We have been trying out some gorgeous clothing from  Lucas Frank who, if you haven’t heard of them is a clothing company started by the parents of a little boy -Lucas Frank- in Yorkshire when they were inspired by their cute baby son. They wanted the clothes he wore to be smart, stylish and above all, boyishly British.

So when they  asked me if I’d like to review for them and after having a look at their site I say a definite ‘YES’ as their clothes really are lovely. I asked if I could have something green as since my little man discovered Luigi (from Mario) he’s been obsessed with the colour! They really did deliver, they sent me two items -:


They couldn’t have been better choices for him! We got the Bamburgh Polo Shirt and the Long Sleeved Tee. I have to say I love the fact that the Polo shirt is called ‘grass stain green’ how apt a name is that for a childs top😀

Both tops are made from good quality materials – both cotton which is great against young skin which can get irritated. There are also some lovely little touches i.e the badges and a button tag at the bottom of each top.


The other cute thing is the tags, they bring a lovely sense of fun! They contain the message of what Lucas Frank is all about as well as a cheeky ‘Urgh, girls’ which my little boy found hilarious!



Size wise they were brilliant and hang lovely on my 7 year old who was sent size 7-8, they can be casual paired with some simple shorts or dressed up a bit with chino style trousers for a kids party or family day out.


I likes both tops as they were lovely on my boy however my favourite has to be the Bamborough Polo as it made him look so smart. I would love to have some more of these in different colours as I thought it really suited him. They really are ‘Boyish and British’

They also wash well which is obviously a must for kids clothes and they haven’t lost shape or colour and didn’t run at all in the cycle.

Julie x (2)

*we were sent the items for free for the purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own *