Fitbug Orb Review

31 August 2014

I originally received my Fitbug Orb a month ago and my first impressions were good.  Little did I know that this tiny orb would actually change my fitness levels and make me aim higher.  I had already signed up for #RunOrDye in October so this will help me to prepare. I found the factsheet that you received with the Orb useful as this gave you links to various help pages that you might need along the way.
The Fitbug Orb monitors your daily activity day and night.  Through the day it monitors the steps you take along with any aerobic activity, this can then be synced to your app on your smartphone by pressing the button once.   By logging on to your account on the computer you can input any additional activity you have completed, plus your food intake, this then calculates the nutritional value of what you have eaten and balances it against your activity levels.  The Fitbug dashboard displays an overview of your goals with a handy pink triangle to show you your targets.  I found the actual website more use than the app on my phone as this was more motivating to me and enabled me to increase the number of steps and exercise I do on a daily basis.  I like the fact that you can balance your nutritional intake, although I do wish this could be done on the app as working full time it was quite difficult to access a computer some of the time.
By pressing the button three times in succession at night the Fitbug Orb monitors your sleep, I'm not sure how it does this but it does work, the app provides you with a chart of your time asleep and the quality of your sleep. Although I wake quite often it appears that I still achieve the minimum sleep hours I require.
One thing I found really useful was the daily motivational emails and the Bugzine issues, these contained lots of useful information on topics such as Nutrition, Health, Well-being and a Cookbook with some really good fast healthy meals ideas.
Overall I like the Orb and its flexibility, even if I didn't want to wear it on my wrist I could fasten it to my bra strap so it couldn't be seen. I found it a really useful tool to help me get fitter and healthier and hopefully I will complete #RunOrDye which is my goal.  The Fitbug Orb costs £49.95 which I think is a reasonable price based on what you can achieve with it.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Silent Sunday 31st August 2014

31 August 2014

Black and White Week 8

31 August 2014

We've had a fab day today, shopping, walking and playing and I've been looking for a decent camera, my phone just doesn't give me the quality I need. I love the Black and White project and would love to present better pictures.

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- Posted on the go :)

Build A Bear Workshop Experience

30 August 2014

Today we visited Build A Bear Workshop to experience their new range of bears. On entering the shop we were greeted by Jo and Emma who eagerly showed Grotbags the newbies, there was so much choice that Grotbags found it difficult to choose as she loved them all. With the help of Emma she decided on Teacup who is Disney Princess Belle's puppy.

She then needed to decide if she would like a sound inside her puppy and she picked the barking sound (well it is a dog after all). Everything chosen it was time to stuff the puppy and with the help of Emma, Grotbags controlled the footpedal which filled the puppy with stuffing. It was then time to chose a heart and make a wish before it was placed inside the puppy along with a Cotton Candy scented pad to make her smell scrumptious.

It was soon time to dress Teacup and Grotbags found a lovely little tutu and tshirt along with a pair of polka dot pants and a tiara and wand. Once you have completed your bear and have everything you need it is time to sit at one of the computers and print your birth certificate. Grotbags can now manage to do this on her own with some prompts from Emma along the way. All finished it's time to head to the tills where your birth certificate and carry box is waiting.

Teacup costs £19 and outfits vary in price. There are other bears available ranging in price from £7 - £19. I think these are really good value, especially as the staff make this experience special for every child and the service is not rushed.

I would like to thank Jo and Emma at Build A Bear Meadowhall for providing Grotbags with a fun filled experience.

We received this item FOC for the purpose of this review, but the opinion is entirely my own.

Barcelona Planning with Amadeus

30 August 2014

I love planning holidays and until recently I had not heard about the planning tool from Amadeus which could come in really handy over the next few months.  I have started a travel plan for a trip to Barcelona for my 50th birthday next April just by following the simple instructions on Amadeus.
To start I typed Barcelona in to the search bar, along with departure dates and holiday duration, if you prefer you can get more inspiration from travel plans that have already been created by other users. I then searched for the best flight options (although you cannot buy these on Amadeus), the site shows you the cheapest time to travel, with which airline and what the weather conditions are like.  I then saved this information to my travel plan.  Editing this information is easy and once complete you can share it with family members etc which I think is really useful when planning a holiday/break with extended family.
I find it really useful that you can actually add links to your saved plan, I find this useful when searching for restaurants, activities and places of interest. All these links can be stored safely in one place, which is a big plus for me when planning.
Other tools available include currency conversion, airport guides, subway maps and dialing code information.  You can view my plan here, why not take a look and create a holiday for yourself.  I would love to know if you try the site out and what your thoughts are.

#Win a £20 Amazon Voucher

27 August 2014

Autumn is nearly upon us and I would like to thank all my lovely readers by running a giveaway for a £20 Amazon voucher so that you can treat yourself to something nice for Autumn.

I love Autumn, there is nothing nicer than going a walk when the leaves are changing colour and everything is golden.  This year I will have been married 10 years in September and we are hoping to have a romantic weekend away, I want to stroll through the woods (without chasing after a energetic 9 year old) and sit to take in the views. We have all seen the advert with the catchphrase "I want to be a tree", well that is what I want :).

Anyway if you would like the chance to win my competition please complete the rafflecopter form below, and good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Family Holiday Planning

26 August 2014

I love planning holidays, from choosing the right hotel and flights to sourcing what trips to take whilst we are away. I spend hours trawling the internet researching the area we would like to visit and also reading reviews on activities that are available in the area. I like to involve Grotbags from an early stage and on our recent trip to Mexico she wanted to visit Chichen Itza, which we booked and had a fabulous day, although I do wish I had researched it better, as it was a long day and journey, we were travelling on a coach for about 5 hours in total, the tour operator was brilliant with plenty of refreshments along the way.
Airport parking is a must, as we travel to the airport by car. If we have an early morning flight we often book an overnight stay at a hotel with parking included for the duration of the holiday, this allows us to be bright and fresh for our early morning flight. There are lots of great deals available online.

There is so much to take in to consideration when travelling with children, the flight to Mexico was alot longer than what we have previously taken, so we had to be well equipped with items such as colours, books, iPods and snacks to keep Grotbags happy. Plenty of fluids are essential on long flights to avoid dehydration.  The flight was about 12 hours and I am very surprised on how well behaved she was (obviously the planning I put in worked).
I find if you book your holiday earlier you can often get a better deal and free child places, which can save you money.

Now I am a little OCD about packing, if it was left to my other half things would be just thrown in.  I usually start about 2 weeks before, Grotbags will pick her outfits what she would like to take and I will pack the items I can.  I have a list of everything we need which I have added to over time and saved on the computer, I print this off before I start packing. My most important items are a small first aid kit along with antihistamines, paracetamol, ibuprofen and dioralyte (which is a great remedy for hangovers), sunscreens, insect repellent etc. This list is stuck to the lid of the suitcase and I tick things off as I place them inside. Simple but effective to use and I can see in an instant if I have forgot anything. 
It is nearly time for me to start packing for my next holiday, wish me luck :) and why not check out some more useful tips at Purple Parking.
This post is writting in assocation with Purple Parking.

Asda Baby Event

26 August 2014

Did you know that the Asda Baby Event is now active online and instore.  The event is a great chance to pick up some bargains and stock up for the weeks ahead.
Even though I don't have a baby anymore I will be stocking up on the essential babywipes.  Happy shopping.

Silent Sunday 24th August 2014

24 August 2014

Black and White Week 7

24 August 2014

Last week we had a fab time at Eureka museum and I love this little attic that was stowed away above the stairs.

I would love to rummage in an old attic somewhere :).

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PetShopBowl Bank Holiday Offers

22 August 2014

Just thought I would let my fabulous readers know of some great offers from PetShopBowl. You can treat your fur-babies for less this Bank Holiday weekend.

These great offers run from Saturday until Monday 25th August. There are also more great offers on their website. Happy shopping.

I have always received super service from PetShopBowl and highly recommend them.

Little Live Pets at Eureka Museum

18 August 2014

On Sunday we were invited to Eureka Museum for the Little Live Pets event in celebration of their launch. Little Live Pets are the brand new toys from Character Options and they are a big winner with Grotbags. She had great fun completing the bird watching trail which ran through the museum and received a certificate for doing this. Unfortunately the face painting and other crafts were only available on the Saturday but this didn't stop us from having an amazing time.

Little Live Pet birds cost £9.99 which is quite reasonable, you can also buy butterflies and they both actually respond to your touch, Grotbag's bird actually chirps different songs and is rather cute. I think these will make great stocking fillers for Christmas.

We had a fab day out at the Eureka Museum, there is so much for children to do, everything is hands on and very informative. Grotbags favourite part of the museum was the "About Me" section, but as you can see from the photos she tried her hand at everything, even changing a wheel. We will definitely be visiting Eureka again and I'm sure Grotbags will be requesting more a Little Live Pets to add to her collection.

Mia Tui Ella Bag Discount Code

15 August 2014

A few months ago I was honoured to review the Mia Tui Minnie Amelia bag which I have used for travelling to Mexico, days out and work.  It is so good to be able to carry all my personal possessions as safely as possible and I personally recommend Mia Tui bags for the thought that went into the design.

The lovely people over at Mia Tui have a fabulous offer on at the moment for their stylish Ella bag in your choice of colour, it comes with buggy clips and a travel changing mat all for £39.00 including P & P.  The code for this special offer is Ella40 and they are offering free UK mainland postage in August.  The promotion runs until the 31st August.   I personally love the cream one, what is your favourite colour?

Fitbug Orb - First Impressions

13 August 2014

For a while I have been unhappy with myself, I have felt unfit and unhealthy.  I want to improve all this so that I have more stamina and physical strength to make me a healthier person.  Me and my daughter have signed up to do Runordye in October so drastic action needs to be taken to improve my general health and fitness levels as I have never run 5k in my life.  When I saw the opportunity to review the Fitbug Orb it sounded like a fabulous opportunity to help me on my way.
First impressions of the Fitbug Orb are good, the Orb itself is about the size of a 50p and can be slotted into a bracelet to be worn around your wrist, or can be fastened via a clip to your underwear.  The Orb then transmits data around activity and sleep back to the App which you have download onto your smartphone. 

The Fitbug Orb was quite easy to set up, once I realised I needed to actually use the computer to physically set the account up in the first place and fill in a basic health assessment.  If you want to input what you have eaten this needs to be done on the computer as well, this then allows the Fitbug Coach to monitor your nutrition also.

It will be fun to monitor my progress over the next couple of weeks and I will be posting my findings by the beginning of September.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Country Clothing Wishlist

12 August 2014

Living in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside my daughter and I love clothes that are suitable for outdoors but are also fashionable and fun. Grotbags is a huge equestrian fan and has riding lessons on a weekly basis, therefore anything horsey is a must. Joules country clothing is gorgeous and so we both sat down and made a wishlist for our annual visit to Chatsworth Country Fair in September.

Grotbag's Wishlist
  • Moxie Girls Applique Polo Shirt £24.95
  • Carla Girls Cargo Trousers £29.95
  • Kirstie Girls Waterproof Coat £49.95
  • Girlswelly £24.95
My Wishlist
  • Wellyprint Womens Wellies £39.95
  • Cowdray Womens Striped Sweatshirt £49.95
  • Merriton Womens Chevron Gilet £49.95
  • Newmarsha Womens Intarsia Jumper £69.95
    There are so many items to choose from and we have lots of favourites that we have highlighted to family for christmas/birthday presents.
Written in assocation with Joules.

Black and White Week 5

10 August 2014

This last weekend we had a lovely break in Lincoln and Grotbags wanted to light a candle in the cathedral to commemorate all the people who lost their lives in WW1.

I am so proud of her caring, thoughtful nature, she is so sensitive to the needs of others.

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Silent Sunday 10th August 2014

10 August 2014

Handmade Locally - Little Critter Designs and 20% off Code

9 August 2014

This weeks Handmade Locally is brought to you by Shevonne the lady behind Little Critter Designs. Shevonne is a single mum of a beautiful and very spirited daughter who is 6 years old and she also works part time as a teaching/learning assistant based in the arts department of her local high school. Her mum introduced her to the sewing machine, helping her make clothes as a youngster. Shevonne studied Weave initially but the sewing machine won.

Little Critters is just over a year old, it was born of Shevonne's love of textiles and soft furnishings and 'little critters', mostly birds. Shevonne is influenced by nostalgia and everyday life, whether walking the dog, sharing a pot of tea, family holidays all portraid through quirky little critters.

She uses the sewing machine to draw (free motion machine embroidery) over an applique base using new, upcycled and vintage fabric to produce brooches, hanging decorations, cushions, futher embellished with beads, buttons, feathers and bells and textile/mixed media art/illustrations which are also available as Giclee prints.

Shevonne supplies the Created by Hand (Gallery/shop) in Beeston/ Nottingham and currently has the front window of Gallery 18/ Henry Brewer Gallery in Loughborough.

Little Critter Designs will be at the Catton Hall Craft and Design Fair Aug 30/31.

I don't know about you but I love the vintage feel to her work and adore the cushions. I also have fabulous 20% discount code for anything bought from her Etsy shop between Sat 9th Aug and Sunday 17th August, just add BLOG20Off at the checkout. Thank you Shevonne for sharing your talent with my readers.

- Posted on the go :)

Barbie Princess Alexa - The Secret Door

6 August 2014

Grotbags was recently sent the new Barbie Princess Alexa doll to play with and review. I know how much she loves her Barbies so it was interesting to find out what she thought of the new Princess Alexa.

Her favourite part is the pink wand in the doll's hand which plays two song clips from the new movie whilst her bodice lights up and sparkles. The full length dress has a floral pattern with bits of neon and sparkle running through it, with detailed flowers embellished on the skirt of the dress. She even has a tiara like a real princess. Grotbags has had lots of fun playing the song clips and I must admit the melodies do grow on you.

Barbie and the Secret Door looks like being a really good movie with great songs and characters. Along with Barbie starring as Alexa there is a magical unicorn, a mermaid and a fairy.

The new movie comes out on DVD on 1st September but will also be screened exclusively in Vue cinemas. In the movie shy Princess Alexa teams up with two new magical friends to save the kingdom. Grotbags can't wait to add the new movie to her Barbie collection and has already watched the trailer for the new movie numerous times.

The Princess Alexa Doll retails at around £24.99 and is recommended for children 3 years and over.

- Posted on the go :)

#Win Red Lily Earrings from Silver and Porcelain

5 August 2014

My last feature on Handmade Locally was from the lovely Sara at Silver and Porcelain and she kindly provided me with a pair of red lily earrings to giveaway to one of my viewers.  I really do love Sara's work, every piece is unique so if you would like to be in with a chance of winning these gorgeous earrings please complete the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at

Black and White Week 4

3 August 2014

In February we went to Mexico and one of the highlights of our holiday was swimming with these amazing creatures.

They have such a beautiful nature and it was an astonishing experience that will stay with us for a long time. Grotbags even wanted to bring Sid home with us, unfortunately that was not possible, but we have some fantastic memories that will remain with us.

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Posted on the go :)

Silent Sunday 3rd August 2014

3 August 2014

Silver and Porcelain - Handmade Locally

2 August 2014

Today on a Handmade Locally I have the lovely Sara Boyle who is a jewellery designer, maker and owner of Silver and Porcelain, which is a colourful collection of original handmade jewellery.

Sara works from a ceramic/silversmithing workshop based in a lovely little village on the outskirts of the Derbyshire Peak District. The jewellery she makes is quite colourful and every piece is slightly different, no two are exactly the same, so you end up with a piece of jewellery that is truly unique and individual to you. Sara hand makes all items from start to finish, no part is manufactured in any way, with this you get an item that has the jewellers markings on and has a worn hammered distinctive look, which I think makes it all the more special to wear.

Sara's favourite items are the Lily Earrings, which are very vibrant but simple in their design, shape and form, also the Veda Bracelet and Earrings are a favourite too. Sara enjoys the making process with these items, as there are a variety of materials and techniques that have to come together for these designs to work. There are plaster of paris moulds, porcelain coloured slips, the firing process (which is always exciting no matter how many times its been done before) and last but not least, the silver smithing element which transforms the finished items into beautiful jewellery to be worn.

I recommend you have a look at her website Silver and Porcelain where she showcases all of her work and where you can buy unique pieces of jewellery. Sara would love feedback on her social media sites below.


I love this jewellery and keep your eyes peeled for a lovely competition coming soon.

- Posted on the go :)

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