A Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

Friday, 30 October 2015

10 Fab Faux Fur Coats & Jackets Under £100

I love this time of year, not least because it gives me a reason to wear as much faux fur as possible. 

There really is no excuse for wearing the real thing any more is there?

And some of this year's faux fur coats and jackets are an absolute steal.  

I'm treating myself to the beauty from F&F.

Which one is your favourite?  
New Look Faux Fur Coat
New Look - £54.99

Matalan Yeti Faux Fur Coat
Matalan Yeti Faux Fur Coat - £45.00

Very Faux Fur Coat
Blue Faux Fur Coat - Very - £79

Phase Eight Katya Faux Fur Jacket
Phase Eight Katya Faux Fur Jacket - £99
M&CO Petite Faux Fur Coat
Petite Faux Fur Coat - M&C0 - £89

Wallis Faux Fur Coat
Black Faux Fur Coat - Wallis - £80
Twiggy Faux Fur Coat
Marks & Spencer Twiggy Coat - £99.00
White & Petrol Blue Faux Fur Jacket - Glamorous.com
White & Petrol Blue Faux Fur Jacket - Glamorous.com - £87.00
George at ASDA Faux Fur Coat
George at ASDA Hooded Faux Fur Coat - £40.00

F&F Monochrome Faux Fur coat
F&F Monochrome Faux Fur Jacket - £39


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Win A £200 Voucher For Winter Wellies With Shoetique.co.uk [closed]

Now that the clocks have gone back, it is officially autumn and time to wrap up warm and get your wellies out for some brisk country walks.

Caitlin and Ieuan love splashing in muddy puddles and there is plenty of opportunity to do that near us as we are lucky enough to live close to some beautiful countryside and have some fabulous parks and places of interest on our doorstep.

You can read about some of them here.

If you'd like to splash out on brand new wellies for the entire family. Shoetique are running a great competition to win a £200 voucher.

You can take your pick from a range of Hunter and Joules wellies for men, women and kids alike.

We like these.

Joules Navy Ditsy - £40
Hunter Kids Original Boots Brit Navy - £49
Joules Kids Seafarer Wellies - £20
Shoetique are an award-winning company, having won Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year Award at this year's Drapers Footwear Awards and have over 30 years' experience in the footwear industry.

To win, all you have to do is to enter your email address and subscribe to their newsletter. You can enter here and terms and conditions are here.

A winner will be picked at random when the competition ends at 8 am on 31st October 2015.

The prize is a £200 Shoetique voucher and the prize is non-transferable.

To enter you must have a valid UK mailing address.

Good luck!

*collaborative post

Win £50 Cash

Christmas is looming and we're all starting to save the pennies.

£50 cash could be yours

The kids are already writing their Christmas lists and the careful negotiating has begun.

"I don't really think you need to ask Santa for one of those - it's too old for you".

"Are you sure you would play with that?"

"I think that's for a child a little bit younger".

"If you ask Santa for this, I don't think you can ask for that as well".

If you've been disciplined, you've been squirrelling a little aside each week.

I read about a great idea which works well if you have internet banking and a related online savings account.

It works like this.

Each day go online and check your balance.

Then, if your balance is an odd amount, simply adjust it by rounding it up to the nearest £5 and move the extra to the savings account.

For example,  your balance is £127.99.

Then you'd move £2.99 over to your savings account so your balance is £125.00.

Or your balance is £158.27.

Then you'd move £3.27 over to your savings account so your balance is £155.00.

Sometimes you will move ridiculously low amounts - even under a £1 but stick with it.

I started at the beginning of May and have saved £250 so far and I do not have that many transactions leaving my current account.

It's an easy and relatively pain free way to say a Christmas fund - as long as you remember to check your balance.

Many of us can afford to save a little each day - even if we just give up our morning takeaway coffee.

I will certainly be starting to do this from 1st January now I have seen how quickly a small amount saved can grow.

Some of my lovely blogging friends and I are offering to help you add (or perhaps start) your Christmas pot with £50 cash and I recommend you check out their blogs too where you can get some additional entries towards the prize.

Rebecca at ialwaysbelievedinfutures.com
Lucy at The Parent Game
Mellissa at The Diary of Jewellery Lover
Lucy at It's A London Thing

Entry is via the Rafflecopter below. Terms & conditions apply.  Please allow 28 days for delivery. No automated entries. No bulk or third party entries. One entry per person. Giveaway ends midnight on 26/11/15. The winner's name will be published. Please note there is one prize of £50 cash across the 5 blogs participating.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you entered my other competitions?  Just click HERE.

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Apprentice 2015 - The Egos Have Landed

I have to say I have high hopes for this series, particularly since Nick Hewer's eyebrow raise has been replaced by Claude Littner's scathing brand of management training.


But, year upon year, the candidates seem to be more media-savvy and more desperate for a job in TV whilst demonstrating an ego which would make Kanye West look shy and retiring.

That ego is usually combined with the worst the British Education System has to offer, that is zero general knowledge, a complete absence of people skills and absolutely no street smarts.

The fact that they are actually there to sell their business plans seems to be forgotten.

Courtesy of BBC.co.uk
This, of course, is the joy of the programme.  We love to sit in our armchairs, tutting and muttering.

We criticize their lack of business acumen.

We practically combust with laughter at their arrogance.

We, of course, can spot a basic business error from 20 paces and become expert negotiators even if we would struggle to take a pair of socks back to Marks & Spencer.

And those quotes.  Oh, those quotes.

Here's a quick trip down memory lane - can you remember any of these judged by www.myvouchercodes.co.uk to be the top ten best / worst quotes from The Apprentice?

This list certainly contains some cringe-worthy reminders of old favourites such as Luisa Zissman and Katie Hopkins.

I'd also include this classic from the late Stuart Baggs (who sadly recently passed away) - "everything I touch turns to sold" and this, from this year's David Stevenson - "you've got age and beauty and those two go hand in hand all the time.  Sugar's got the age and I certainly am beautiful".

Currently there appears to be an unladylike spat going on between candidates Selina Waterman-Smith and Charleine Wain  which has, it is rumored, culminated in a 'scuffle' outside the boardroom.

This may be a little bit of PR to oil the wheels of a series which, so far, has been a little 'same old, same old' but, if true, shows just how desperate some candidates are to secure their 15 minutes of fame.

The sad truth, of course, as anyone who has worked in a corporate environment will tell you, is that personalities like these do indeed often rise to the top, by dint of ruthless ambition rather than concrete talent.

There are many David Brents in waiting it seems.

But, the prize here is to be Sir Alan's business partner and, one suspects, no amount of hot air, waffle and posturing will pull the wool over his eyes.

I can't wait for the legendary "interview" episode and I wonder who will replace Claude in the interviewing panel.

Whoever it is, I'll bet they won't be a soft touch and will bring the candidates back to earth - with a bump.

I'm also enjoying Jack Dee on the sister show "The Apprentice - You've Been Fired", although I think he could be a little more of the sardonic Jack we're all used to.

Roll on Wednesday at 9 pm!

See you all on Twitter!

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram

Sunday, 25 October 2015

My Sunday Photo - 25/10/2015

Caitlin & Ieuan sharing some sibling affection


Friday, 23 October 2015

My Recommended Ways To Bond With Your Toddler

Bonding with my children is essential for me, as I'm sure it is for you too. I try to make sure I spend one-on-one time with them, as well as doing things with them together. Our bonding time can be anything from sitting down to do their homework to running around at the park.

A lot of newer parents can worry that they're not doing enough to bond with their kids. Once they start to explore and observe the world, you might wonder about the best ways to help them experience it. I'm here to tell you not to worry too much! Spending valuable time with your children isn't rocket science. If you're looking for some activities to help you bond with your toddler, try some of my favourites.


Although I'm very careful not to play it too loud, I love enjoying music with the kids. Sometimes we put something on and dance around, just for the fun of it. Music is a great way to connect with your children in lots of different ways. And it's especially good for toddlers to help them learn rhythm, language and other skills. There are so many ways to introduce music into your daily activities. You could sing some nursery rhymes when you get up in the morning or just have music on while you go about your day. Some basic musical instruments like drums and xylophones are fun too.



If you want to do something physical with your toddler, swimming is an excellent option. Unlike chasing them around the park, swimming can be quite relaxing, as well as fun. You can take them to your nearest pool on your own. However, if you want them to start learning to swim, swimming classes for toddlers can be a good option. They can start using the pool soon after they're born and can look amazingly at home in the water. If you think about it, they did spend 40 weeks swimming about! Getting into the pool with your toddler can be a fantastic way to bond with them.

Story Time 

I'm a big believer in doing lots of reading with your children, from as early an age as possible. There are so many benefits to reading to and with your kids. Even if they're not old enough to understand what you're doing, it can help them to engage with your voice. Story time doesn't have to be saved for just before bed. You can read with them at any time of the day, and it's a great excuse for a cuddle. You can also do funny voices and actions, turning the story into a more immersive experience. 

Bedtime Routine 

Bedtime is one of my favourite times to bond with my children - if they're cooperating, that is. Having a bath, getting into PJs and enjoying a story and a cuddle help them to wind down at the end of the day. There are no other distractions, and you can create a little bubble of just you and them.

You have lots of opportunities to bond with your toddler, but it's up to you to make them. Sometimes you have to put in some extra effort to keep your relationship strong.

You can find loads more tips and tricks for parenting by clicking HERE.

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Review: Keep Colds At Bay With ColdZyme® Mouth Spray

We were recently sent a ColdZyme® mouth spray to try. This claims to be a "revolutionary mouth spray which targets the cause of the cold, not just the symptoms" and is also clinically documented to help reduce the duration of a cold.

Since we are all recovering from the latest horrid virus the kids brought home from school, I was very interested to find out more about this product!

It is an easy to use, pleasant-tasting mouth spray which works immediately by forming a protective barrier in the throat and it also helps to lessen the duration and severity of symptoms when used in the early stages of infection.

Unlike other over the counter remedies, ColdZyme® actually targets the virus itself rather than just alleviating the symptoms. The product is suitable for use by adults and children from the ages of four and up.  

If you do not have any symptoms of a cold but are likely to be exposed to the cold virus,  you are advised to spray 2 puffs (1 dose) into the throat every 2 hours up to 6 times a day while you are exposed to the cold virus.

ColdZyme® was tested in a blind, placebo-controlled study under advice from a UK expert in respiratory disease, Professor Sebastian Johnston from Imperial College, London.  

The study was conducted on 46 volunteers who were all infected with the most common virus that causes the common cold.  Half of the volunteers received ColdZyme® and the other half received a placebo product.  

The study showed that ColdZyme® reduced the virus among those infected by more than 99% compared with the placebo and the duration of the symptoms was also reduced from 6.5 days to 3 days.

I think the biggest challenge with this product will be to know exactly when to start using it but if, for example, you work in an office where your colleagues have colds, that would be an very good time to give this product a try.

If you notice coughs and sniffles among your children's friends, again, I'd be tempted to break out the ColdZyme®.

And if you travel via public transport, you may want to stock up!

We were certainly be using ColdZyme® this winter because you can bet that a cold will strike at the most inconvenient time possible and if one of us gets it, we all get it.  There's nothing more miserable than doing the school run with a streaming cold!

ColdZyme® is available from Boots and independent pharmacies nationwide at an RRP of £15.99 for a 20 ml bottle (which offers effective treatment for three colds) and £9.99 for a 7 ml bottle for protection on the go.

*A PR sample was sent for the purpose of this review.

You Don't Need To Go Back To The Future To Change Your Life Today.

Today, 21 October 2015 is "Back To The Future Day".

Back To The Future Clock
In "Back To The Future II", this is the day on which Marty McFly and Doc Brown return to the return to the future to save Marty's future son from disaster, (at 4:29 pm to be precise).

But it's got me thinking about those times in my life when I wish someone had interfered with the events unfolding in my life.

For a start, I can think of at least two ex boyfriends who should have been jettisoned into the far reaches of outer space before I had the bad luck to meet them.

It would have been helpful if someone had made my path cross with that of The Husband at least 10 years earlier.

Somebody could have replaced the school careers officer with somebody who could think about something other than just blindly pushing pupils into the university system.

I actually wanted to study beauty therapy but was told I had "too many 'O' levels".

Then there was the coven of dreadful bosses I had, each of whom did the minimum they could get away with whilst making the lives of their team members as unpleasant as possible.

There was one in particular who, every time you entered her office, would quickly slam her laptop shut to hide the fact she had been doing her weekly shop at Sainsburys.

But be a minute late with an assignment?  Woe betide you.

If only someone could have made me sverve away from those particular firms.

The more you stop and think about it, the more you realise that there are many, many occasions when, had the hand of fate been given a shove in the right direction, your life may have turned out quite differently.

But here's the thing.

It's the old destiny versus free will conundrum.

Are we the product of an arbitrary fate?

A bit of inter-stellar flotsam being pushed here and there to experience the good, the bad and the mundane willy nilly?

Or are we a product of our own choices?

Our lives are really the sum total of all the choices we have ever made.

I'm not saying we were never pushed or coerced into making those choices.

Nor am I saying we have always been free to make the choice we wanted.

But when I think about my life, most of my choices have been mine.

And if Marty McFly and Doc Brown had turned up to change the course of events, I reckon I'd still be more or less exactly where I am right now.

We don't need time travel.

We can change the course of our destiny by making different choices RIGHT NOW.

We can choose to say sorry, to phone an old friend, to leave a relationship.

We can choose to stop smoking, drinking or eating junk.

We can choose to be happy no matter what life throws at us - and in that choice alter our entire destiny.

That has to be worth more than a flying car, doesn't it?

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

How To Choose The Best Toothbrush For Adults And Children

Looking after the kids' health is part of my role as a mum.

Part of that is leading by example and teaching them how to take responsibility for their own health. There are lots of aspects of health and well-being to think about, from our diet to our happiness.

One of the things that we all have to take care of is our dental health so we can keep our teeth nice and healthy.

I recently had to buy some new toothbrushes for everyone.

I realised that we don't always put a lot of thought into buying a toothbrush. So I did some research to help me decide which toothbrushes are best.

Manual or Electric

The biggest decision you need to make when you buy a toothbrush is whether to buy a manual one or an electric one.

We're all familiar with a normal toothbrush; it has a plastic handle and some bristles.

You have to do all the work to brush your teeth, which I'm sure my kids would prefer not to do!

The other option is to get an electric toothbrush, but many people wonder whether they're good for your teeth.

In terms of effectiveness, there isn't really a difference between the two types of toothbrush.

You can see toothbrushman.com to read about some of the benefits of buying an electric one.

Some other things to think about are the cost, and how you use it.

Electric toothbrushes can make it easier for you to be gentle if you need to.


Bristle Softness 

When you look at toothbrushes or heads for electric brushes, you will usually see soft, medium and hard bristles.

Many people go for medium or hard ones as they feel they will do a better job.

But I recently found out that it's often better to use a soft brush.

It can be gentler on your teeth, whereas medium and hard bristles can sometimes be too harsh.

If you (or your child) brushes vigorously, you may only need a soft brush to do a good job.

Choosing Toothbrushes for Children

Picking toothbrushes for the kids is a little different to buying them for me.

While they might be tempted by cartoon images and bubblegum toothpaste, I'm more concerned about how well they can clean their teeth.

The most important thing is that it's the right size to reach every part of their teeth.

If a toothbrush is too large, they won't be able to get it to the back of their mouth.

And since children aren't great at being gentle at the best of times, a brush with soft bristles is best.

Even though I have final say, I like to take the kids with me to get new toothbrushes.

They can be more excited (or at least less unenthusiastic) about using it if they get to pick it out.

I never knew there was so much to think about when it comes to picking a toothbrush.

But now I know it's a bit more complicated than I first thought, I'll try to get the right ones every time.

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Review: Hey, That's My Fish! Game

Sometimes, the simplest games are the most fun and this one, "Hey, That's My Fish!" from Esdevium Games has kept Caitlin and I playing for a good couple of hours.

Hey, That's My Fish!

The game involves moving your penguins over the ice floe and capturing as many fish as possible.

You have 4 penguins each and they move across a selection of tiles each marked with one, two or three fish.

There is a strategy involved.  You create a square with your 60 hexagonal tiles which represents the ice.

Turn the tiles over and shuffle them, then flip them over and start creating your ice floe.

Caitlin laying out the ice floe tiles

The tiles are hexagonal and you can move in any direction, unless you are blocked by your opponent.

Basically, your penguins jump from tile to tile and the tile they jump off is added to your stock of fish.

It's a race to get your penguins on the tiles with two and three fish.

Our ice floe creation needs a bit of work
Beware though,  if all the ice (tiles) vanishes around you, you're stuck and are out of the game.

The winner is the player who collects the most fish before the ice melts.

The game can be played by 2 - 4 players and is, I would say, suitable for children aged 6 and up.

Caitlin intends to win!

Caitlin really enjoys this one and can't wait to challenge her dad when he returns from his latest business trip.

Hey That's My Fish! retails at £9.99 and is available from Amazon and from other gaming stores. You can use this handy store locator to find your nearest stockist.

You can also read our review of Dobble, Disney Pictopia and Hotel Tycoon.

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram.

*A PR sample was sent for the purposes of this review which contains an affiliate link.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Win A Footcare Bundle From Scholl

Since I had kids I must confess that most of the time I am in flats or boots - largely so I can keep up with Caitlin and Ieuan.

Just occasionally, and usually for a date night with The Husband, I put on a pair of heels.

There is a definite art to walking in heels and I think I've lost it.  It's a bit ironic that in my working days I lived in heels and thought nothing of sprinting for buses and trains wearing them.

Nowadays I find I'm teetering like an old lady whilst holding on to The Husband's arm!

Having big feet doesn't help.  I take a size 8 shoe and it's only in recent years that footwear manufacturers deigned to make shoes in that size!

Actually, I'm in good company.  Look at the celebs below who have less than dainty feet!

Elle Macpherson - size 12 feet
Elle Macpherson - size 12
Kate Winslet - size 11
Uma Thurman - size 11

Paris Hilton - size 11 feet
Paris Hilton - size 11
Oprah Winfrey - size 11
Meg Ryan - size 11

Audrey Hepburn - size 10.5 feet
Audrey Hepburn - size 10.5
Cindy Crawford - size 10
Jacqueline Kennedy - size 10

Surprising, isn't it?

But when I do find heels that fit, I usually have to sacrifice comfort for style.

I rely on products like Scholl's Party Feet, thin gel inserts which just slip into your shoes and stop that awful burning sensation on the ball of your foot.

I also make sure my feet are well moisturised and that I've removed any uncomfortable hard skin.

Scholl have just brought out a new Dry Skin Instant Recovery Cream which moisturises and exfoliates to give an instant soothing effect that lasts for up to 24 hours.

Scholl claim that your feet will look much healthier after 7 days which is a time-scale I definitely like!

Shoes and boots can also be kept fresh with Scholl's Fresh Step Shoe Spray which has a 24 hour formula.

Very useful for trainers and keep fit shoes!

Scholl products are widely available at supermarkets and chemists.  For further information, visit their website at www.scholl.co.uk.

If you would like to try some Scholl products, I have a bundle of Scholl Footcare products to give away to one lucky winner comprising:-

Scholl Dry Skin Instant Recovery Cream 60 ml
Scholl Fresh Step Shoe Spray 24 Hour Performance 150 ml
Scholl Party Feet Ultra Slim Invisible Gel Cushions - 1 pair

Just enter via the Rafflecopter below.  UK entrants only.

The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Friday 30th October 2015.

Please note that the prize will be sent out by a PR company and I cannot be held responsible for items lost or damaged in transit or which do not arrive.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*PR samples were received for the purpose of this post.

My Sunday Photo - 18/10/2015


Friday, 16 October 2015

Essential Fashion Guide For Your Children This Winter

This winter is looking to be particularly chilly, so I’m already thinking about wrapping the kids up warm.

They’ve reached the ages where they want a say in their fashion choices.

They want to look like all the other kids and wear the big brands and the right movie merchandise.

It’s not always easy to get hold of the things they want, so I’m spreading my search on the internet to see what is looking good this winter.

Baby wear in winter is really easy.

Babies can’t regulate their body temperatures in the same way we can so it’s essential to provide layers to trap their body warmth in.

Protecting little fingers and toes is important too. I really cringe when I see barefoot babies in buggies at this time of year!

Lots of mums are looking for designer baby clothes to ensure the quality is good, and the look is just right too.

Toddlers are trouble with a capital T!

They run around and make a mess in no time.

When you’re looking for winter fashion for a toddler, you need to find clothing that moves with them.

Most toddlers are quite wobbly on their feet, so it's important to avoid any clothing that restricts them too much.

I love those cute, fluffy snowsuits, but they can be hard for a toddler to move about freely.

For a baby, they’re perfect because they’re easy to take on and off in a nappy emergency.

Preschoolers are very determined little people.

They don’t want to wear scarves and socks, and good luck getting them to wear a jumper!

If your preschool has a uniform, I would recommend buying it, if your budget can stretch to it.

You may have more chance of getting them to wear things like jumpers and hats if everyone is wearing the same thing.

Snow boots are the big thing in footwear right now. They’re warm and robust, and muddy puddles are no cause for concern!

Once kids are at school, they are determined to be wearing the latest thing but I avoid V-necks and Tees at this time of year.

Long sleeves and warm collars help keep chesty coughs at bay.

Gloves, hats and scarves get lost a lot, but if you choose a set featuring their favourite movie characters, the kids are more likely to keep them safe!

With the bad weather coming in, I prefer to stick to clothing I can run through the tumble dryer.

When it comes to teenagers, you sometimes have to give them a clothing allowance.

Let them make their own choices.

Appearance and fashion are very important to children at this age.

If you get something they don’t like the look of, they simply won’t wear it - and boy can they be stubborn!

It’s important not to panic if they don’t look appropriately attired for the weather.

Teens are hardy creatures, but they won’t let themselves be cold or wet for long!

When it’s cold and wet outside you want to wrap your children up in long coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

But not all kids will be willing to wear what’s needed!

Have a warm and healthy winter.

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Tips To Make Sure You Don't Break The Bank This Christmas

Christmas is a popular time for people to spend way more money than they can actually afford. Christmas quite literally breaks the bank. If you’ve got kids, it’s tempting to buy them everything on their Christmas lists and more, but this can mean a struggle at the start of the new year. Here are some of my tips to make sure you don’t break the bank this Christmas:

Write a List and Stick to it 

Sit down and take the time to write a list. On this list, include who you intend on buying something for, what you’re thinking of buying them, and the amount you’re thinking of spending on them. Then you need to promise yourself you’ll stick to this list. Christmas shopping without a list can be very dangerous for your finances. The smallest amounts can add up. Remember, it isn’t about buying the most expensive gifts for people, but the most thoughtful. You can find lots of helpful gift lists online if you need some inspiration.

Set a Budget

When you have an idea of how much you want to spend on each person, set a budget. Make sure you can afford this budget. If you can’t, work out where you can cut back on certain people/gifts. The earlier you start putting money towards your budget in the year, the better you’ll feel when it’s time to go Christmas shopping. Yes, Christmas shopping in August can be depressing, but it all helps to avoid being broke during the new year.


Consider Credit Accounts

Obtaining a credit account is an option, although you’ll need to proceed with caution. Providing you pay everything back on time, you can actually help your credit score. However, if you don’t you can get yourself into financial difficulty. The key is not to spend or borrow too much, so know exactly what you can afford. This can help to spread out the cost of Christmas. Some catalogues offer credit accounts for Christmas and other times you might need help, so take a look and see what you think. 

Compare Prices

Before buying something, compare prices in different stores first to see if you can get it any cheaper. Every little helps, especially at this time of year.

Make Stuff Yourself

Why not get your creative head on and make some stuff yourself? This will save you a ton of money, and people will appreciate the thought and effort you’ve put into their gifts a lot more. You could make a food hamper, pamper hamper, cupcakes, a canvas, or anything else you can think of.

Give to Charity

Instead of buying cards for every Tom, Dick, and Harry, why not give to charity in their name? You could even do this instead of buying a gift if you don’t know what to buy. You’ll save money and do good for the world. How could they not appreciate it?

These tips will help you to keep your finances in check ready for the start of the new year. The earlier the plan, and the more effort you put into making rather than buying, the more money you’ll save!

Thanks for reading Mother Distracted.  I really appreciate your support and I'd love it if you could share this post across social media. If you’re new to Mother Distracted, why not join me on the Mother Distracted Facebook page, tweet me on @lindahobbis or follow me on Instagram


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Fun And Educational Days Out With The Kids

When we take the kids out for the day, we like to look for educational things they can enjoy. A lot of places like museums are free to enter, which is always a bonus. Plus, I like to think that they're learning something on a day out, even if they don't know it. It's not difficult to turn a day trip into an educational experience. Even a trip to the shops can be a chance for them to learn some valuable life skills. 

I like to look for things where they can expand their knowledge and interests. We love visiting castles and museums, in particular, and learning about all the history there. These are some of my favourite activities to do as a family when I want to sneak some education into our trips.

Interactive Museums

Some museums can be boring for kids, but thankfully most of them make an effort to entertain them. The best places to go are the ones that have exhibits that kids can participate in. Even though they should learn to look at and admire things from afar, it's also fun when they get to touch and do an activity. We love our local museum, the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, but there are many more around the country that are great for kids. For example, there's the Motor Museum in Beaulieu or the Science Museum in London.

Castles and Palaces

We're lucky in the UK in that we have a rich history. Go to America and you won't find many castles! We love visiting castles and palaces on our days out, and you can find them all around the country. Naturally, a lot of them are in slightly more rural places, but there are lots to see from cities too. London's palaces are fun to visit, and there are more of them than you might think. Then there's Edinburgh Castle, which sits on a hill above Scotland's capital. Our nearest castles are Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle, both of which the kids love.


Nature Walks and Beach Days

Museums and castles can be great trips for rainy days. But when the weather is a bit brighter, or even if it's raining, it's nice to get outside for a walk. We try to stay active and spend some of our family time outside. If you want to get your children interested in nature, going for a walk is a great way to do it. You can find your nearest park or wander off into a forest to explore. There are lots of things you can do, from playing Pooh Sticks to having a scavenger hunt or foraging for edible plants. A walk along the coast can be great fun too - it doesn't have to be a sunny day to enjoy the beach. The kids can peer into rock pools and dig through the sand to see what they can find.

There are lots of ways to make your family days out educational. If you do it right, no one will even notice that they're learning.

*collaborative post

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Things I Think When I'm Ill

We have all had the latest bug this week which has been going round the school like the plague. Caitlin had it and gave it to Ieuan. Unfortunately I have succumbed to it too and, as I lie festering in my bed, unable to move or even think straight,  I find my thoughts are far from productive and, dare I say it, even a bit odd.

Do you think anything like this?

I should get up.

Do you feel really guilty at having to lie down?  Even though I know the Husband is fine looking after the kids, it still feels like my 'job'.  And if he's away on business,  I have to get up.

Have I given it to the rest of the family?

In which case it's likely to go round and round... and round.

Have I failed to bleach / detox / wet wipe sufficiently?

Has the current miasma of dust and spiders webs lurking in certain, ahem, corners created a cauldron for a nasty virus?

Will it ever go or is this the start of something worse?

That's the thing about being in your 50's.  You do start to become a little more, shall we say, neurotic, about bits of your body starting to malfunction.

Should I reschedule all my meetings now, just in case I'm not well enough to go?

Even if the meetings are days ahead, I still find myself obsessing about not being well enough to go. The idea of being taken ill whilst out and about terrifies me.  The Husband, on the other hand, carries on regardless - and a positive mental attitude must work because he is very rarely ill, and then only mildly.

Do I need to see a doctor?

Ah, the biggie.  I think we probably all rush to see a doctor (if we can get an appointment, that is) when a few days "watch and wait" would probably see the back of the illness altogether - particularly if it is the latest virus which is doing the rounds.

I should eat something.  But I don't really want to eat.

I find in times of sickness, I can usually manage a glass of milk or a lump of cheddar but that's about it.  We have a sort of family cure of Oasis drink (banned the rest of the time because of its sugar content), cheese & onion crisps and chocolate - which also doubles neatly as a hangover cure - but it does seem to work.

I want to hug the kids but I probably shouldn't in case I pass the bug back to them.

Ironic that at the time you need comfort most you should probably have an "avoid at all costs" sign around your neck.

I need to watch junk TV.

I don't but the mindlessness of morning TV is kind of soothing.

I think though, that when we are under the weather, rather than berate ourselves, we need to be kinder to ourselves - even if that just means an earlier night or cooking a healthier tea (and leaving the wine in the fridge).

Sometimes we don't realise how run down we have become until a bug strikes - and even though we feel horrible, it is a good opportunity to look at our self care and to take a step back and ask ourselves what we need.

Sometimes, we may also need to ask the family for their support in this and that can't be a bad thing because a happy mum is the lynch pin of a happy family!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Ideas For Making Your Big Day As Memorable As Possible

Each couple wants to make their wedding memorable, not just for themselves, but also for their guests. You will only get married once, which means that making your big day as special as it could be, is crucial.

I know that when I got married, my main concern was that my big day wouldn’t be memorable enough. There was no need to worry, however, as mine and my husband’s wedding is still reminisced about often, by us, and our friends.

The key to making your wedding unique and special, as well as memorable, is planning. If you want a day that is talked about for all the right reasons, here’s what you need to do:

wedding 2.jpg

Serve delicious food

Have you ever been to a wedding where the food wasn’t great? The chances are that the fact the food wasn’t very nice was the thing that you remembered most about that wedding. Believe it or not, one of the best ways to make your wedding a success is with the most delicious food.

Choose a venue for the reception that comes highly recommended for its yummy food. Look for somewhere that not only serves tasty food, but that also presents dishes well and has a high hygiene rating. We’ve all heard that story about the wedding where every guest came down with food poisoning - don’t let your wedding go the same way.

Hire a band

Yes, hiring a DJ might be cheaper than booking a band, but every couple has a DJ. If you want your big day to stand out, hiring a live band could be the way to go. No one is going to remember another party with a DJ, but one with a fantastic live band will be easily remembered.

Not only will hiring a live band make your wedding more memorable, but it will also give a better atmosphere. People will be more inclined to get up and dance if you have a band playing, instead of a DJ.

Pick somewhere unique for your wedding

While a church or hotel is a great location for a wedding, picking somewhere a little more unique could be a good idea. Art galleries, museums, beaches, and all sorts of other places, can make great wedding venues.

If you want to wow your guests, you need to choose a location that’s different to the norm. Weddings abroad can be a good option, as they are not only unique but also incredibly memorable. No one forgets attending a wedding on a tropical beach, do they?

Be creative with traditions

While following traditions can be nice, if you want a celebration that’s memorable, get creative. For example, instead of giving each guest a glass of bubbly for the toasts, give them a cocktail instead. Or, instead of having traditional music or entertainment, opt for something a little bit different.

When it comes to making your wedding day as enjoyable and memorable as possible, thinking outside the box is key. If you take the time to come up with some unique ideas, you can ensure that your wedding is as memorable as possible.

*PR collaboration

Friday, 9 October 2015

What To Do With The Kids Around Cardiff This Weekend

I find that unless I plan something to do in advance, we end up getting up far too late and then wasting the morning - and potentially the rest of the day.  It's good to kick back at the weekend and spend some quality time together, isn't it?  But without spending a fortune.

Here are some ideas for this weekend.  Just click on the image for further information.

Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan (Free Entry To National Trust Members)

Dyffryn Gardens, St. Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan CF5 6SU
Visitor information is available on the Dyffryn Gardens Website HERE.

Caerphilly Castle (Free Entry To Cadw Members)

For further information about Caerphilly Castle go to www.cadw.wales.gov.uk.

Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, South Wales (Free Entry To Cadw Members)

Photo courtesy of Cadw

Castell Coch is a 19th century Gothic revival castle built above the village of Tongwynlais in South Wales. 
Treetop Adventure Golf, St Davids Shopping Centre, Cardiff

Mini golf in a tropical rainforest!
Further information is available at www.adventuregolf.com.  

National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (Free Entry)

Further information can be found at www.museumwales.ac.uk/cardiff/.  

Cosmeston Lakes Country Park & Medieval Village, Penarth (Free Entry)

The country park has a variety of habitats covering over 100 hectares of land and water and is home to a reconstructed 14th century medieval village, where costumed guides show visitors around the period furnished buildings. 

St. Fagans Natural History Museum, Cardiff (Free Entry)

Bute Park & Arboretum, Cardiff

Credit:  bute-park.com
Bute Park offers an extensive area of mature parkland within Cardiff's city centre, including play areas and 3 cafes

Roath Park, Cardiff

    Roath Park is a large Victorian park with lake, botanic garden, adventure playground, cafe and sports facilities.

and if you're looking for somewhere family friendly to eat, why not choose one of these?

Which attractions would you add to this list?
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