Starting School at 4 Years Old.

I think that no matter what age our children are we will always think they are little, especially when it comes to milestones such as starting school, starting reception, and then moving into mainstream school and heading through Year 1 to Year 11 and onwards if they so choose.

When Charles started preschool we didn't send him because we wanted to get him out of the house for however long or felt he really needed it. His speech has always been really good, at 18 months you could have a proper conversation with him, with full sentences and could easily understand what he was saying. He was good with his numbers, his alphabet, something at the time which seemed so normal yet since having Harry who doesn't do the things Charles did, we can now understand how well Charles was doing at that time. I'm not saying he was advanced because I don't agree with that term when it comes to children's development, but we know he was a year ahead in a lot of his learning and developments.

The reason we sent him to preschool was simply because we could. We were given those 15 hours of government funded hours and although his learning new things wasn't of great importance to us at that age, his understanding of the environment was. Being around other children, communicating with other children, learning a routine and to listen to adults and following instructions were important too.

When it came to going to school it was tough, as it is for many parents. Although I didn't feel strongly that he shouldn't start there was a part of me that wanted him to have an extra year at preschool, but we went for the full time at a local reception option instead.
We didn't want him joining Year 1 straight from preschool, to be shocked into this very new environment surrounded by children who knew this new building, new how things worked, and more importantly new each other.
I briefly considered sending him part time but then I hated the thought of taking him away from friends at lunchtime and them all continuing to form bonds and friendships and him being excluded from that.

The first few weeks were tough. Harry didn't cope very well and desperately missed his brother. Every time we went out he thought we were going to see his brother and this caused some emotional meltdowns for him. Charles settled in really well, despite the nerves taking over on the first day as he woke up (you don't need to know details) and being so poorly with a 24 hour bug on the 3rd day of school and already having to take a day off sick.
He was tired coming out of school and for a while I felt like my child had gone and was replaced with a boy I didn't know. I would dread the time to collect him as I knew there would be tears and that I would have done something wrong.
It was hard sticking to a strict routine too. Preschool was quite laid back and if you were late dropping them off it didn't matter. Yet now it was a fight to get a space some days, dodging the most ridiculous of parked cars (seriously, does common sense disappear whilst it's school run time?!) and being invisible as you walk to get your child...clearly a pushchair isn't big enough to see or to move over for.

You have constant fears and worries of whether or not school is right for your child. Are they too young at 4? Should he be at home? Be at preschool? I know I questioned our decisions a lot.
But now?
I don't know why I questioned our decisions at all.

To see how he, and the other children, can read and write blows my mind. To think that we could have held Charles back from developing something that is clearly ready and active seems so silly.
He finds learning fun, he enjoys Maths, he enjoys spellings and reading. He can colour in a lot better than he could when he left preschool. He is more aware of lines and shapes in a picture and will try and stick within those lines as much as possible.

His eagerness to learn is brilliant. I love moments when he sits and drawers and things are so clear. His writing is the cutest thing ever and makes me feel like I have the cleverest boy in the whole world, despite other children doing the same. I love how he spells things differently because he "sounds them out", like Woz instead of was, and Sosij instead of sausage
Reading blows me away and he can sit there and read a book to me with very little help.

One of the proudest moments so far was getting this note in his reading diary. Getting moved onto the next level in reading in what seems like such a short time is amazing.

As a June baby Charles is one of the youngest in his year, so I don't really agree with the argument of the youngest ones being left behind.
Schools are full of children with a range of abilities and of course willingness to learn.
Everyday most of the children in the reception classes rush into school, squealing when they catch sight of their teacher, looking forward to writing down the missing numbers from the whiteboard, and learning new things.

I can't wait for the day he brings me home the very first story he writes, the day he comes home and wants to talk about Greek Mythology, Volcanos or Anglo Saxons.

The best school years for me were spent at Primary School, and reliving those years through my child is, as Charles would say, "really awesome".

My Two Mums Sharing Happiness


Fight or Flight

Yesterday I attended the second in a six week course of Stress Control Classes. Last weeks class was all about understanding what stress is and how every ones stress is different and this week was focused on 'Controlling your Body'.
We were told about how exercise can help to overcome, or at least ease, anxious feelings, depression and stress as a whole.

We were given a relaxation cd, which was played towards the end of the session, and I'm really looking forward to listening to this as I think it helps me, if not in the long term, certainly for an hour or a few at least.

We talked about Fight or Flight which is something I've always been interested in.
I studied Psychology in Sixth Form and loved learning about behaviours and how our body and mind works.
I find it all so interesting, and now I'm going through what I'm going through I actually quite enjoying having an excuse to learn about it all again, and to understand why this is happening to me.

The fight-or-flight response is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.

I feel as though, through hearing about and being reminded of Fight or Flight, my body seems to be constantly in this build up mode. Feeling threat all the time, over things that can happen, will happen and are also very unlikely to happen.
I feel like my body is constantly at war with itself, wondering what to do. Fight or Flight. Which is incredibly hard to cope with when really there is nothing to flee from or to fight. But then that can make it worse. I can get this reaction, this fight or flight feeling, and I look around and see no threat, no attack, and then I panic because I think something must be about to happen.
I have constant worries, constant feelings of threat or attack. A lot of things I haven't said openly before.
Despite accepting that it is just how I am, and it's not things I choose to think, I can never bring myself to actually type those words.
Why? Because I'm worried about reading those words "unreasonable thoughts" "irrational thoughts". To me, these thoughts are not unreasonable, or irrational.
They are real. Reasonable.
I'm worried about people thinking I am crazy. Or attention seeking. Or trying to create drama.
But it's all very real. As much as I try to convince myself that particular things won't happen I can't. As my doctor once said, my filter doesn't work.
I can't filter things into "will happen, could happen, very unlikely to happen, or will never happen". To me, everything is possible, no matter what the odds are.

The reminder that my reactions are not about being crazy, and are just down to my body protecting me, or at least preparing to protect me, makes me feel a lot more at ease and more accepting of being this way.
I'm hoping that just the understanding of what is going on will help me to not get over the anxiety and depression I am stuck with, but at least to cope with it, and to not panic when my body decides to react for whatever reason.

I can only control so much.

Preparing to Sail #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

As the Spring season gets ever closer we are currently being swept up by the excitement and anticipation of getting our first boat ready to be put back on the Broads in a couple of months time. Weekends and any spare weekdays are now being spent preparing her for her return to the water. This weekend was no different although it involved one of the biggest jobs so far, sanding and starting to varnish.
We headed to our local Sainsburys beforehand to pick up some lunch and some Zico Coconut Water. Once we were pointed in the right direction (the Sainsburys store we went to was huge so we were a little bit lost) I spotted the Zico Coconut Water straight away due to the bright blue packaging. Sanding down the boat and varnishing is thirsty work and making sure we keep hydrated is important. We need to be careful with the drinks we take so anything in strong bottles are perfect so we know the lid is screwed on tight enough that it won't spill if knocked over or is being stored.

As a not usually sporty family there was a chance we may have thrown ourselves into the deep end (there's a pun in there somewhere) when buying a boat.
Loving the Broads as we do buying a boat was always a dream of ours and of course we could have chose the easy option and bought a motorboat but then where is the fun in that?
As we began our search we realised there was a lot more to it than finding a boat we loved and handing the money over. We had to consider maintenance, mooring, where we will keep her in the winter when it is best for them to be out of the water and other costs we may not have considered.

When making our final decision it was primarily based on 3 things:
  1. Storage
  2. Community
  3. Future 
We sat at a pub based next to the Norfolk Broads during the time we were trying to decide on what it was we really wanted. We would see boats going past which were hired, we saw boats going past that were owned, we watched teenagers racing in their Laser sailboats and talked about how one day it could be our boys doing just that. This was strange for us as we never envisaged ourselves being interested or involved with anything sporty, yet here we were totally mesmerised by it all. The community of it all.
It was around then we decided which boat we favoured. We realised that community was a big thing for us, and the place we would be storing our boat has the most amazing community feel about it, even as visitors when we first went to look at the boat we felt really welcome and could sense this wonderful atmosphere. It was exciting and was something we really wanted.
A month in we have already made connections, talked to a wide variety of people, and been overwhelmed at the amount of people who have welcomed us and given us tips and advice. We've enjoyed learning about other peoples experiences, and their own boats.
We wanted to research places to sail as we had to decide if we wanted to sail around the Southern Broads or Northern Broads. This has been really fun as whilst we've been researching maps and books we've made mental lists of all the places we want to sail to....and pubs we want to try out too.

We've also discovered a couple of Regattas and meet ups that happen locally. Although we won't be at the stage to join in with the Regattas this year we are excited at the possibility of maybe joining in next year...or the year after. This year will just involve us mooring up and watching as the other boats sail past.
We worried so much about the boys and whether or not Sailing is really suitable for two young children, two excitable young children, so we are busy trying to prepare them and ourselves the best way we can in terms of safety. Ultimately Sailing seems like the best form of family sports, with everyone learning and enjoying their time exploring the local rivers and waterways. The future, and how we will advance with the boats we have, and maybe the boys enjoying it so much that they get involved in competitions when they are old enough.
Never before did we think we would be involved in something like this, in anything sporty at all, but this just brings us so much excitement and happiness already.



Pancake Possibilities with Warburtons

On Tuesday March the 4th almost every household will be celebrating Shrove Tuesday...also known as Pancake Day.
If you are as useless as me at making pancakes it is good to know that there are simple alternatives out there, so you can still celebrate without making bowls and bowls of what turns out to be gloop, throwing away many a burnt spoldge in the centre of a smoking frying pan, and of course....saving washing up.
Warburtons Pancakes are easy to prepare and can either be served cold or toasted/grilled.

We were sent a wonderful pancake kit so we could try out a range of different flavours. On the lid of the box is a wheel with 7 different serving suggestions, within the box are the ingredients to carry out each suggestion.
Now, I've had these pancakes before and usually serve with chocolate or honey greek yogurt and fruit, never did I think of serving them as a savoury dish.

For the boys I kept it simple and grated some of the chocolate provided, adding a sprinkle of coconut and popping candy. Which of course they loved.
I am a marmite fan, although only in a sandwich, so I hadn't tried it on a pancake before.
I spun the wheel and landed on Mascarpone and Marmite and got on with preparing it.
Oh my goodness! I did not expect it to be as tasty as it was. The following day I had this same comination again, it was that good.

Other combinations we liked were:
Chilli jam, feta cheese and pistachio. Although the wheel suggested pancetta and pistachio I really wanted to team the pancetta with some chilli jam and mascarpone, which I did. The flavours of the pancetta, chilli jam and mascarpone all merged so well with the sweetness of the pancakes. It's making my mouth water just writing about it.
I also tried the suggested pairing of Granola and coconut, which although nice just needed a tiny bit of greek yogurt to make it not so dry.

Perfect served at breakfast, lunch, as a dessert or as a snack, these pancakes are great for not only Shrove Tuesday...but everyday!

Which flavours would you try?
I was sent a pancake kit for the purpose of this review.


World Book Day with Miles Kelly.

World Book Day is coming up on March 6th and is celebrating it's 17th year. World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and a celebration of reading. It is recognised in over 100 countries.

To celebrate Miles Kelly arranged a "secret Santa" style campaign with myself and 25 other bloggers. We were each given the name of another blogger and selected a book to send onto them.

We were sent a 'Children's Atlas of the World', which we were delighted with. Charles especially is really interested in our planet, different countries, learning about places we've visited as a family or that I holidayed as a child and then with my husband.
Learning about oceans, rivers, deserts, Capital Cities, currencies, languages has been really fun and interesting. It's not just a great way for the children to learn but for us to learn as a family too.

This shows that it's not just about reading stories to your child. Sitting down at bedtime and turning the pages of an Atlas can be just as satisfying, sharing those moments together, choosing which places you want to visit in the future....and which ones you don't.
There's something that extra bit special about sitting under a duvet, or in a den, reading about the world, something that looking on the internet can't give you.

Will you be celebrating World Book Day with your family? Reading your favourite book at bedtime? Creating a reading den perhaps?

We were sent this book as part of the Miles Kelly "Secret Santa" World Book Day campaign.


Boys Jackets and Coats from Joules | Review

As you may know there is a certain clothing brand I have a very big soft spot for. Joules clothes are made to a high quality standard, and look amazing.
Given the opportunity to review some pieces I headed straight for the coats for both of the boys.
Charles already has a coat from Joules which is weatherproof and warm, perfect for school. But rolling around in the mud in the school playground means it is constantly in the wash at the weekend.
I fell in love with the Boys Tweed 'Mr Toad' Jacket and new it would be perfect for him. I ordered in a size 5 knowing it would be too big, we always buy coats a size too big so they last longer. This one is slightly long on the arms as a result but a quite fold back of each sleeve and it was perfect.

The orange lines running through the tweed makes the coat that little bit more special and makes it really stand out. We love the deep square pockets and the brass poppers lined down the centre of the jacket as well as featuring on the pockets.
The cord details on the elbows and shoulder make this jacket extra special, as well as the Trademark Rabbit stitched into the left hand pocket.
The coat is nice and thick, although not making your child too hot and as well as poppers had a zip running through the centre of the jacket.

Charles adores it, he is as big a fan of Joules as me, and we now affectionately call it his "Princes Charles" coat as Prince Charles wears a tweet jacket too.

For Harry I selected something practical. Although tempted to go for another Mr Toad jacket I didn't feel it would suit him and instead wanted something that will be useful for us later this year.
After recently buying a boat we are now putting together the smaller items we need. Weatherproof jackets are a must and so I chose the Marine Navy hooded jacket. Again I went a size too big and chose a size 3. Although it is slightly too big it doesn't really look too bad and gives him enough room to move around in comfortably, which he'll need when he is on the boat as well as walking along the banks splashing in puddles.
The jacket is made from a fabric that is windproof and waterproof. It features a zip, two deep square pockets and those beautiful brass poppers.
I think the style and colour not only make it practical for days out but also to wear to a smart restaurant

As you can see Joules coats for boys are a must for the cold weather and should be an essential item in any childs wardrobes.
Both my boys are fans!
We were sent these coats for the purpose of this review.


Down By The River

When you think back to last year, particularly the Summer, are there days and moments that really stand out?
I have a few, one in particular is one I didn't blog about at all, which is quite rare for me!
I loved that day and the moment so much that I didn't want to tell anyone about it, I wanted to keep it for myself to soak up and enjoy.
My brother was home for a week and I drove over to High Lodge at Thetford Forest, with him, my mum, the boys and a massive picnic. After we were finished at High Lodge we popped over to St Helen's. 
We have really fond memories of St Helen's. I remember vidily going as a child. Listening to Pat Benetar and Def Leppard in the car on the way there and on the way home. We would spend all day there, paddling in the water, eating a picnic, playing with other children, playing football and swing ball.
It was magical to be able to take the boys. Although not prepared as I thought we wouldn't get there as we'd be too busy or that it would be to busy I didn't take their swimming costumes (Yes mum, I know you told me to!) and instead Charles stripped down to his pants and Harry was just in a nappy. Although not something I would usually feel comfortable with it's not really any different to a child wearing trunks and there was a real lovely family atmosphere down there that I didn't feel threatened by anyone at all. A shame that this is the case elsewhere nowadays.

We were surrounded by families who had been down there for hours, all catching the tiny fish in their nets. One lady picked up one of the fish and placed it in Harry's hands, for those of you who may think it's cruel he held it for seconds and it quite happily swam off after.

I'm really hoping this is somewhere we can revisit for years to come, although a bit better prepared with swimwear and sensible shoes to wear in the water, the stones hurt your feet so much!



A Room With Blue Chairs.

Yesterday evening I pulled up in my car, parked on the right side of the road and waited for my mum. As soon as she arrived I got out of my car and we walked into a big bright building together.
Turning left into a room I handed over a form, signed us both in and collected the booklets handed to me. Saying thank you we walked to find a seat.
We commented on how we, as people, always spread ourselves out and won't sit near other people unless we really need to.
Rows of blue chairs, not the most comfortable chairs we realised after an hour and a half of sitting on them, some occupied with gaps of two chairs empty and then another person.
The room is filled with both men and women, everyone varying in age, some sitting alone and some, like me, sitting with someone they have taken as support.

We are all there for the same reason.


We all want to learn how to control, not cure, our stress.
We sit and learn about what the 6 week course will entail. We touch on the different varieties of stress and what causes it. Most commonly being depression and anxiety.

As the lady running the course talks I couldn't help but to get distracted with my thoughts sometimes and looked around the room. I wondered what each person's main problem could be. Why were they here? How severe is their stress? Are they depressed? Anxious? Dependant on alcohol? Are they taking medication for their stress? Have they been to therapy before? Is this their last resort? Do they work? How old are they? Do they have children?

It was nice, yet kind of odd, to know there were people in the room who were feeling the same as me in some way or another. Even if not understanding how or what I feel at least understanding that feeling of "I need help".

It's hard sitting in a room full of people. When you feel judged anyway there is nothing like going to a stress control group where you know others will be looking at you wondering why you are there.
I find it really easy to write about my feelings and thoughts but find it hard to talk about. Sitting in a room with others, although we don't talk we just listen, really takes me out of my comfort zone. I really feel like I'm putting myself out there, I guess kind of like an AA meeting, and even though we are all their for the same reason, you can still feel really alone and embarressed I guess.

The lady running the group talked about different types of stress, effects of stress, how people are stressed over different things, how we react, what we think and ways of coping.
The course goes on for 6 weeks and in each session we focus on different things.
  1. Learning about stress.
  2. Controlling your body.
  3. Controlling your thoughts.
  4. Controlling your actions.
  5. Controlling panic.
  6. Controlling sleep and the future.
I really want to write about this as I learn. We went home with some work books and I'm hoping to write about this as I go along.
There are a few things she talked about which I didn't quite agree with which I want to write about too.

I'm not expecting to be cured of depression and anxiety, but if this can help me to understand it more, and to maybe cope a little bit better, then it's totally worth it.
And if it doesn't help at all, then at least I tried.


Surviving Coughs and Colds

Coughs and colds are so common over the winter period. Although the boys have picked up a few bugs I've managed, somehow, to avoid most of what is going around and had my last cold just before Christmas.
As I was still breastfeeding I was limited to what I could take. I've been used to not using decongestants, cough medicines and other types of cold remedies since I fell pregnant in 2008, I had pregnancy and breastfeeding always restricting the medication I could take. Instead I was trying to combat a sore throat with honey and lemon, and infact I grew to quite like it.

My husband on the other hand will try anything to get rid of a sore throat, especially because it can affect his voice and working as a voiceover and radio presenter it isn't ideal when his voice isn't performing as usual.

Pharmacist Anna McLaughlin, Dr Mike Smith and ENT specialist Andrew McCombe offer their advice on behalf of Ultra Chloraseptic Throat Spray.

  1. Sore throat remedies often contain ingredients that treat the infection, in doing so though they are negatively interfering with your body’s own natural defences. “Ideally sufferers should use something that addresses the pain associated with the inflammation so it doesn’t dampen your body’s reaction but still eases the soreness” advises Dr. Mike Smith.
  1. A viral infection is the most common type of infection accounting for 90-95% of all cases. This will not respond to antibiotics so it’s best to treat the pain and let your body fight it naturally.
  1. Dr Mike Smith advises “When suffering with a sore throat one of the best things to do is keep away from other people - this is more about protecting yourself than them! It limits your chance of catching “secondary” infections while your immune system is weakened.”
  1. “Dehydration can be one of the main contributors to a sore throat” says pharmacist Anna McLaughlin. “Remember to stay hydrated by drinking of plenty of fluids. Adding a drop of Manuka Honey to warm water can create a great drink to help soothe the soreness”

  2. “Give your immune system a helping hand during the winter with a supplement such as Vitamin C and Zinc and try to incorporate five portions of fruit and vegetables into your diet” advises Anna.
  1. During the colder months germs are spread more quickly thanks to people spending more time indoors in heated environments. ENT specialist Andrew McCombe suggests that you “try to get as much fresh air as possible and don’t crank the heating up too high if you can help it!”
  1. “Try gargling with salt water to fight the infection as an alternative to hot water with honey” suggests Andrew.
  1. Rest – if you’re over-tired and you come down with a sore throat try to rest both your voice and yourself to fight the infection!
  1. “Avoid food or drink that is too hot as this can cause further irritation” suggests Dr Mike Smith.
  1. If your sore throat does not improve after two weeks or it is accompanied with a persistent fever, then visit your GP.
Ultra Chloraseptic® Anaesthetic Throat Spray provides an ideal way to help ease the pain of a sore throat fast and help you make the most of your day.  
Unlike some anaesthetic lozenges, which can numb the whole mouth area, Ultra Chloraseptic’s gentle spray goes directly to the site of the pain for faster, more effective and targeted relief.
Just three sprays of Ultra Chloraseptic can numb the pain in seconds, compared to some lozenges, which can take minutes to dissolve properly and take full effect.

Ultra Chloraseptic® Anaesthetic Throat Sprays are available in three great tasting, sugar-free flavours – Blackcurrant, Cherry and Original Menthol.
All are available in pocket-friendly capped bottles for ease of use ‘on the go’ bringing ultra-fast, ultra-effective relief for the pain and discomfort caused by sore throats.
The products contain the active ingredient benzocaine (a local anaesthetic to numb pain). The swivel head applicator delivers the spray straight to the throat, targeting the pain and working in seconds.
Ultra Chloraseptic® Anaesthetic Throat Sprays are available in most Boots, Superdrug, Grocery and leading pharmacies in the UK without prescription. Ultra Chloraseptic costs £5.21, with each bottle containing more than 100 sprays (30 adult doses) and is suitable for children 6 and over at the lower dose of 1 spray. Contains Benzocaine. Always read the label and visit www.ultrachloraseptic.co.uk for more information.
I recieved a Winter Survival Kit in exchange for this post.



Half Term at BeWILDerwood | Review

In my 28 years of life I have visited a few attractions in Norfolk, and one of the best places I have ever visited is BeWILDerwood in Norfolk.
I reviewed BeWILDerwood last year when we went along to celebrate Harry's 2nd birthday. I was delighted to be offered the chance to return again this year and to review the Half Term event.

With the strong winds recently I worried not only that our day would be ruined but also about whether or not any of the beautiful tree houses, slides or walkways would have been ruined or affected by the weather. Despite being closed on Saturday due to the weather thankfully everything had calmed down on Sunday, the sun was shining, it was kind of warm and they were open!

Last year I went along with my husband and the boys but with my husband busy elsewhere my mum came along with us. This was her first visit to BeWILDerwood and she was excited to see what was one offer.

Based in Hoveton, Norfolk, BeWILDerwood is really easy to find and is well signposted. Parking is very easy and is FREE.

Walking a short way to the ticket office is simple and worry free. The staff are nothing but polite, happy and really get into the spirit of their job.

There were a couple of activities on to celebrate the reopening for half term. One of which was a really sweet idea of writing down a wish on a piece of paper and the posting the paper down a shoot which led down to the small fire.
Charles didn't want to write down a wish as apparently he had made a wish in his dream last night, but we watched other children doing it and every single one looked so happy to have been able to take part in that activity.
There were arts and crafts going on in the big hat but my boys were too busy running around wanting to explore.
The activities put on in the big hat and at the fire don't cost any extra.

As I mentioned in my review last year, the attraction is SPOTLESS!! Thinking back to last Summer I went to a few different places with the boys and there would be the odd crisp packet or chocolate wrapper flying around, and we were constantly stepping on Fruit Shoot lids, but none of these were to be found at BeWILDerwood.
We took a picnic with us and went back to the car to eat but we did grab a coffee and some hot chocolates at the Munch Bar and sat in the seating area. I could have sat there all day.

I really worried about whether or not we would enjoy it as much as last year due to the weather. I tend to stay away from attractions in case we have to leave but as yesterday was so amazing it definitely made me think twice about staying away just because of weather fears. I can hand on heart say it was just as good yesterday as last year.
We arrived at around half past 10/11 o clock and left at 4.30.
Both myself and my mum commented on how lovely the atmosphere was, that calm, tranquil, "everybody is having fun", relaxed atmosphere.

When it came to leaving I think my mum was more upset than any of us. She really enjoyed herself and it really proves the point that BeWILDerwood is suitable for all the family.
We're already planning other visits in the Summer when my family visit from Somerset.

Whether you live locally or need to drive 2 or 3 hours you are guaranteed to have a brilliant day out!

We were given complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review.


Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav | Review

When I learnt to drive 3 and a half years ago I loved my new found independence. I wanted to explore the area I lived in as much as I could and have never been afraid of going out of my comfort zone and travelling a little further a field.
Of course these journeys used to be essential with the use of a local map or a map of Great Britain, something I remember being used a lot by my parents when I was little, whereas now we are lucky to have all those pages and pages of roads, dual-carriage ways, motorways, service stops, and tourist attractions stored within a small device. No more pulling over the side of the road to read the page you need, and to work out where you are now and where you next need to navigate to, instead you can drive the journey pretty much straight away with no issues at all as not only does the small device show you your journey, but it tells you too.

Satellite Navigation Systems are probably one of my favourite inventions. Last year I drove from my house in Suffolk to a friends house in Milton Keynes and my Sat Nav was a godsend, although I was using an old model which needed an update so lots of roads were missing and over half of the journey was spent driving across fields, according to my device.
I was asked to be a safety and security tester for Tesco Compare, and was sent a Garmin nuvi 50 Sat Nav to review.

Setting up the Sat Nav was easy enough to do. I like to try and work a device without the instructions first and only look at instructions if I get stuck. I didn’t need to look at instructions at all which was a bonus.
The 5” touchscreen is easy to view and easy to use. The screen attaches to the car windscreen using a simple suction device. It is easy to attach and is very secure. You can plug the Sat Nav in to charge via the cars cigarette lighter.

The Garmin nuvi 50 has a variety of functions including detailed maps of the UK, detects your speed, alerts to speed camera alerts, will give you a time of arrival, will detect attraction and tourism sites, as well as lane assist. The device also saves your locations so you can find your way home or to a hotel and so on.

There are a few different screen view options which is one of my favourite functions. I tend to change the view depending on the type of road I am on or journey I am taking. For example, on busy roads I tend to use the Birds Eye View/Aerial view as I find it easier to see the roads around me and ahead of me.

I’ve used this Sat Nav on 5 journeys now and have only had one issue when it got me lost and sent me a long way to my final destination, but other than that I found the Garmin nuvi 50 Sat Nav to be really trustworthy and reliable. It is easy to understand and to follow not just by the screen but also to listen to the inbuilt voice assist.
This is a product I would recommend for every car driver because it’s quick to set up, easy to follow and does the job perfectly.

 I was sent the Garmin Nuvi 50 for the purpose of this review.


Zippo Candle Lighter | Review

I have always been into candles. As a teenager when I had free reign over my bedroom decoration and accessories candles would also feature somewhere.
For my birthday last year I was treated to a set of Yankee Candles, and a beautiful Wax Lyrical candle in a glass jar. Then for Christmas, Yankee Candles again including a big 566g Christmas Eve candle in a big glass jar.

I actually hate matches, and small lighters. I am a wimp and if I do have to use a match I will make sure I've used it as soon as possible. My husband could light 4 candles with one match, not me, I'm a one match per candle kind of gal.
As much as I loved my Christmas Eve Candle it became a little difficult to light as the wax melted and the wick was further down the jar. Matches couldn't reach to the bottom so for a while I couldn't use the candle at all.
Then along came the Zippo Mini MPL Cabernet Butane Candle Lighter and it is brilliant!

The Zippo Candle Lighter is available in 4 different colours, Brushed Chrome, Harvest Bronze, Champagne and Candy Apple Red, these colours make the lighter that little bit special and, I think, good enough to be given as a gift to any candle loving person.

The candle comes in a protective plastic case, which is great for keeping it hidden away and safe from inquisitive children.
The classic design features a patented child resistant safety lock button which releases and allows the ignition switch to engage, making it easy for adults to use, but not so easy for children.

I think this would be a perfect gift for Valentines Day or even Mothers Day, along with a beautiful scented candle.

The Zippo Mini MPL Cabernet Butane Candle Lighter is priced at a reasonable £13.75 and is available to buy via the Zippo website.
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