Embracing chaos and the £2.50 wonder cream

I started a spreadsheet – not just any old spreadsheet  -a Christmas one. My chance to be that woman who said: “Yes that should be fine, we have a window 12-3 on Tuesday.” I would have times and events at my fingertips.  I’ve always dreamt of being that woman and not the one who’s only attempt at a diary lies helplessly at the bottom of a bag, pages stuck together with coffee and apple juice with faded enthusiasm that wained before we hit April. Along with this growing love affair with spreadsheets I began to develop an urge to buy a powersuit – fingers crossed they work with leggings.

Oh fickle world how you woo me with your grand ideas then drop me like a fat bird on a big night out. Spreadsheets and Arthur don’t mix simply because I’ve been trying to do them on my laptop, which, to Arthur, is like a red rag to a bull. One lapse in concentration, one sip of tea and I’ve lost a date, moved a column and generally turned December into a very, very strange looking month.

So I’ve given up and embraced my lazy girl attitude and found a new found joy in being always on the cusp of a new decision and never really knowing what we’re doing at the weekend unless someone else has planned it. I must admit I have a few dates in for Christmas and this are mainly things at our lovely Surestart centre. Do you know this week I did a cooking class, music session and fantastic outdoor explorer sessions – all free. Mr Cameron please protect these vital facilities for our children’s future. Treat it as part of the NHS – health and wellbeing is so much more than physical and through Surestart all children are on an equal footing.

In my quest to look 25 for the next 25 years I’ve been trying out some fab new products from those lovely people at Asda. They’ve created a new skincare range called SKINSYSTEM Q10 Complex.

At £2.50 a pop they are amazing value, which, in the lead up to Christmas is music to my ears. I tried the day cream and found it light, easy to use and most importantly for busy mums in the morning, it sinks in really quickly so you can carry on with the rest of the war paint before facing the world. I’ve also been using the eye cream which feels lovely and is just easy to use. I can’t quite believe the serum is also just £2.50 but feels like a bit of luxuary when I put it on at night. I genuinely found it as effective to use as some of the other far more expensive products I’ve used – perfect for busy mums looking for a bit of pampering with out the price tag.

Next week I’m off to the Baby Show at Earl’s Court – really looking forward to it as I get loads of ideas for presents and stuff for at home – plus there’s a creche so that’s always a bonus! It’s also great news that the British Red Cross is kicking off a new UK-wide campaign to get parents up to speed with first aid.The First Aid Challenge begins on 26th October at the Baby Show and comes after a survey found 96% parents think all parents whould have basic first aid but two thirds are too worried or lack confidence to actually do it.

This is great news for me as I’ve always wanted to know more and indeed do more if I have to. Why not sign-up, it’s open to everyone and you can get advice, videos and lots more.

Toptip:

I’ve been stock piling paint pots, glitter, paper, felt letters and loads of stuff from pound shops on my travels and I’m going to make Arthur a big art basket for one of his Christmas presents. I looked at art sets and they are so expensive! Arthur’s going to get a massive basket full of lovely goodies that I am not too bothered about losing, spilling breaking etc, for half the price.

Make like Freddy and work that vacuum!

Autumn is the season of burlesque. When nature enchants with a gentley provocative striptease, glimpses of winter mingle with the last warmth of summer and we are turned, helplessly to a world of central heating, apple crumbles and wellies.

Ok, so that’s the official view, truth is I’m cold and have nothing decent to wear. Every year winter creeps up on me like a stealth shot of ice-cold vodka, and I’m left shivering in my summer dress – and my skin looks like I’ve been taking a cheese grater to it.

It’s at this time of year I always want to change the house, make it more snuggly and generally clear out summer. This is the first year Arthur is properly mobile and ‘helpful’ when it comes to housework. He’s been sweeping and polishing and scrubbing toilets and cleaning cupboards….he he! But the one thing I’ve not been able to get him to do is vacuum. Since being tiny he has always been pertrified of the hoover and when I say petrified I mean it in the (almost) literal sense of the word. When the motor starts he’s pinned to the spot, unable to move and shaking. So imagine my surprise when my new Vax Air 3 arrived and he did a little dance and then kissed it!

Now, unless you’re Freddy Mercury (shoutout to all you 80s babies), vacuuming is not sexy but any way you can make it easier, quicker and generally more effective has to be a good thing. Ususally getting the vacuum out is a military mission, hoofing a big ole heavy machine out of the cupboard and up and down stair is a right pain. But this new machine is just brilliant and I’m not easily impressed.

It’s so light I can carry it up and down stairs easily and it’s so much quieter than my last one. It has fab (not sure of the technical terms) manoeurability which gets right into the corners. Infact it felt so light and easy that I checked a couple of times that it was working because it really was effortless. It’s the perfect vacuum for those of us who put housework on the list but never really seem to get round to it – it’s also endored by 19-month-olds!  Oh the nifty little upholstery brush was really handy.

Top tips:

Now this is a big one which could save you hundreds of pounds!The lovely people at Vax are holding a SECRET SALE. Starting tomorrow there’ll be up to 80% off vacuums, carpet washers, steam cleaners, solutions and spare parts on vaxsale.co.uk and you can only gain entry with password STAFFSALE12. A great chance to stock up on stuff for hugely reduced prices – definitely worth a look.

Now this one was passed on to me and I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds good. When your children want to paint and your heart fills with fear as you stare at your beautiful carpet and carefully chosen cushions – try this cheap way of minimising spills. When you get coffees or small soft drinks in those takeaway cups with lids make sure you keep them. Give them a good rinse and fill with some paint. Make the hole in the top big enough for a brush and hey presto a cheap way to reduce spillage.  If you keep the cardboard trays as well they act as a bit of an anchor. Seems like a good idea and a money saving idea so let me know how you get on and I can thank her or banish her from my Christmas card list.

Ode to no. And how to look polished in ten minutes flat

I’ve not blogged for a while because we’ve been a poorly household. Well, Arthur has been ill and as such all of us have been running around rearranging work, meetings and generally catering to his every whim – oh to be a toddler. His demands would put Elton John to shame. I take your outrageous flower requests Mr John and I raise you four hours of Elmer books and wearing a small plastic chair on my head because it made him laugh.

Poor little chap is loads better now and I will share a little, slightly munchausen by proxy, secret – a little bit of me liked it when he was ill. His hot little body snuggled into me. Only I would do, mummy was number one. And, he would just sit on the sofa watching Cbeebies while I read magazines and ate chocolate.

He’s developed a love of the word no. “Do you want a drink?” ” No!”  Are you hungry?” “No!”…”Do you want some chocolate?” “No!”

“Ha ha – caught you out!”. It was a small victory but satisfying none the less.

After two weeks of being frazzled and sleep deprived I have been given some lovely new George at Asda makeup goodies. They come in lovely sleek packaging and I’ve been itching to try them for ages. Usually my make-up routine consists of slathering tinted moisuriser into the gaps, applying mascara and attempting to bring myself back to life with a rather enthusiastic amount of blusher. Well no more. I am now a goddess – or less frightening to those of a nervous disposition.

The new lipgloss range really is a triumph with fab colours that last. I used number 10 which had a lovely reddy hue without the hassle of colouring in your lips for hours. A quick slick and it lasted a good while leaving me looking like I’d just been eating raspberries – without the seeds and dribble. A really quick way to make yourself look decent without putting the hours in.

Yummy lipglass without the hefty price tag

I also used the highlighter and primer under my makeup, both great products which didn’t cost the earth but still performed. Perfect  for busy mornings and quick touch-ups. The packaging is sleek and the powder compact I tried basically looked like a far more expensve brand I usually use – you know the sleek black on with a couple of white letters. Makeup has come a long way and it does save time to be able to go food shopping and pick up some items that are not just inexpensive but good quality too – well done Asda!

Me all made up with my new makeup. Now the weirdo in the background is my wonderful other half. He thought his unexpected appearance was hilarious. I think – who’s laughing now sucker

Top tips;

Asda is now offering the flu jab for just £7. So go in, pick up your milk and bread and walk out protected from the lurgy. For £7 it’s such a bargain I’m going to conquer my needle phobia and go for it.