About Me

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Hi, I'm Lyndsey. I'm a 36 year old Mum from Wales. I have a Masters Degree in Marketing Communications and Public Relations and put it to good use in my work as a freelance Marketing & PR consultant. I also work part time as a fundraising coordinator for a Welsh charity which I absolutely love!! With two jobs, two children, two cats and a handsome man, lets just say I'm a busy lady. 
From 2006-2008, I wrote a column for the Denbighshire Free Press. I was so proud of the feedback I got for this, even the one angry ‘You Suck’ letter to the editor cheered me up no end; it showed that people took notice of what little ol’ me had to say. It’s good to know that people give a rat’s ass either way! So, succumbing to requests from my former fan club (ok, overstating there – readers who had nothing better to do on a Thursday afternoon) under the March 2014 archive you will find a selection of my early Free Press articles. I’d love to hear what you think on any of the subjects raised…you know, rat’s ass either way feedback ;-)

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Beardember & The Elf n Safety

My man has a neon pink beard.  He and his beard are taking me out for New Years Eve revelry tonight.  I will be wearing a stunning full length, gold sequin, sexy gown with gorgeous gold shoes and my hubby will be wearing ....well, lets be honest, who the heck is going to notice what he's wearing? the dude looks like he has a muppet stapled to his face!


Beardless
My fella saw an advertisement in work back in November calling for men to grow a beard for Decemberbeard; a spin off from Movember.  The disappearance of 50% of his face behind a beard would be documented and in return, friends and family would donate to the Bowel Cancer charity.  Knowing his friends and army buddies would need a bit more incentive to donate, my man promised that should he reach £1000 within the December deadline, he would dye his beard neon pink and wear it like that to work all week.
 


Big Beard
You have probably guessed by now, that the opportunity to see their sqaddie-mate humiliated publicly was too good to pass up. The donations were coming in thicker and faster than his facial growth.  I knew my dude was both chuffed and horrified at the same time.  I was so proud of him for resolutely promoting his endeavour, despite him really, really not wanting to be pink in public.  Yes, I was very proud, but I also have the same sense of humour as his army buddies and there was one more surprise that he was blissfully unaware of, until Christmas morning.

It's at this point I need to tell you what my fella does for a living.  He teaches the butch stuff; as in  fire safety, violence & aggression, personal security and... Health and Safety.  So when the kids and I spotted a Christmas jumper in New Look which had an elf's body and the words Elf & Safety on it, we just had to get it for him. Devious as ever, I put the Christmas label on it and signed it from the kids.  It is the rule of all parents, if the kids get you something then you MUST love it and if they get you clothing, then you MUST wear it.  Its the universal Dad rule!!


During & more worried than he will admit
Well, can you believe it? He hasn't taken that jumper off all week!  Pink beardy face on an elf's body.  He happily plodded round work, visited the in-laws, took me to the cinema and did a charity bucket collection outside B&Q.  The oddest part is though, that nobody seemed to give a monkeys!  There has been no pointing, staring, laughing, crying kids...nothin! How boring is that?  What more does it take to look a bit bonkers? The complete acceptance / nonchalance of our locals was impressive! Not since living in London have I seen such utter immunity to the weird looking people. Have to say, I think its fab!  Keep it up peeps. There's room for all sorts in this world....but my man has proved his point now so, where's the soap?

There is still time to donate to this cause. Please click on this link to donate on my Hubby's Just Giving page.  Thank you x

JUST GIVING DECEMBERBEARD

Monday, 29 December 2014

The Christmas Rage

My son has never really bothered much with arts or anything creative, preferring facts, science and computer technology. His favourite TV programmes are Mythbusters, Bear Grylls, Top Gear and How its Made. So when he came home from school last week and told me that he had written a Christmas poem and had been asked to perform it at his school's Christmas show in the local church, I was surprised to say the least.

That was, until I heard it at the show last night.  Then all became crystal clear.  Nobody but my son could have wrote this poem!  My boy is a massive Christmas fan but it was his dry, old for his years, wit came through loud and clear.  He spoke proud and perfectly clear in his best public speaking voice, betraying not the slightest hint of nerves.  He was fab and very funny!


As we left the church, I told him how impressed I was with his poem, to which he raged "The teachers messed with it".  How blimmin dare they! I asked him why on earth they had done that, knowing that his work was good enough not to need 'tweaking' and even if it had, that's his work and should be praised as is.

"They changed the last line to '& that's a fact'.  How can it be a fact that IPods and Ferraris existed over 2000 years ago?  We wouldn't be singing about Mary travelling on a poor flippin donkey if that was the case would we! These people are supposed to be educators - god help us....*tut* "  I suppressed a smirk. Can't argue with that can I?








So, here for your festive enjoyment, is my son's UNEDITED Christmas poem.  Merry Christmas

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Clothes Show, StereoKicks, Amy Childs & Us

Since I was 12 years old, I have been wanting to go to the Clothes Show in Birmingham's NEC. Yes, Ok, those of you doing the maths now will wonder why on earth it has taken me over two decades (and a couple of extra years) to get round to it and all I can say is this...No bugger would go with me!

This year however, I have a mini-me (who is a lot taller than me) who is now 12  years old and therefore, will get my dream come true - despite not having a clue what the Clothes Show actually is.  I bought us platinum tickets for December 7th 2014, a manicure appointment with Saks, new outfits each and promised her an abundance of celebrities for selfie-heaven; she was sold!

Alarm set for 6am. Sat Nav programmed. Car tyres, oil & water checked. Tickets printed. We were off.

As we arrived at the NEC, my daughter looked completely intimidated. I forgot that she is not accustomed to massive crowds of glammed up birds all pushing and shoving to get near the cosmetics, clothes & Lambrini counters. She is a sweet Welsh kid who practically had a panic attack in the Trafford Centre on Boxing day, so this was like a PTSD flashback for her.  Me though, I've lived in Reading, London and Chester Ave, there's no messing!  I squared my shoulders and showed her my best city'ite stance.


"Watch and learn daughter dear" I said as my sharpened elbows rose, chin lowered, evil dig eyeballs err..digged and I launched myself into the crowds like a bully-kid in a British Bulldogs tournament. Of course, it was a few minutes before I managed to beat my way back through the crowd and find her cowering in the exact same spot. "This is how it works, I bulldoze a path, you raid the space and grab every bargain you can reach, OK?"  She shook her head. Damn, I knew bringing her up with manners would backfire one day!

An hour later and I had discovered the secret to making my kid turn from a timid sweetheart into a 'Shift your teeth outta my path or I will smash 'em in' ferocious diva.  Free Stuff.  Although not technically free since it was me that was paying for everything that she just had to have, but it turns out that my kid can really shop! 
Cosmetic bundles from Rimmel, Hangover Hoodies, ear cuffs, fake tattoos, two lunches and that was all before 2pm.  She wanted to carry all her own bags and her fingers were white from lugging so many bags.  I carried my own bags too... which got lighter and lighter since all I had was my goodie bag and a nearly empty purse.

 
Ok, I have to point out here that, as a 12 year old clutching my first copy of the Clothes Show magazine and dreaming of rubbing shoulders with models, pop groups and celebrity stylists, this day was all that and more... for my kid. The 36 year old me however, wasn't really feelin it.  Where was Carolyn Franklin & Jeff Banks?  I didn't recognise any of the models lurching round the hall, neither did my kid. We bypassed the queues for the pics with the celebrities as we didn't have a clue who they were either. Peter Andre wasn't around and I figured my pic with his waxwork in Blackpool's Madame Tussards was good enough anyway.



We did recognise the pop group Stereokicks and were impressed. They were really good!  Amy Childs, who I only know from magazines which proclaim that this miniature, bony woman is fat. Shameful. Yes, she played thick and had bizarre looking lips but fat? What a load of crap!


Stereokicks
The catwalk show was AMAZEBALLS according to my girl.  I thought it was most excellent.  We were 3 rows from the front and loved every minute of it.

By 4pm we were utterly pooped. By 5pm we had finally found where the hell we had parked the car.  Home by 9pm. Snoring by 9.30pm  Can't wait for next year's show, only this time - my kid is taking her own purse!
 

 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Working Home Alone.

What's the most profound thing I've learned from working from home, I will pretend that you have asked.  The answer is this. Its bloody lonely!


Working Home - Alone :-(
I've never been the most social of people, quite happy in my own company and never, ever endured boneheads simply to avoid being alone.  That was back when solitude was a choice.  These days though, I'd welcome interludes (short ones) of talking pants with boneheads of any planetary specie, as my brain needs a break from its incessant, internalised waffle.






For the last year, I have been a P/T Blogger, P/T Charity Fundraiser, P/T PR exec & P/T Student; which basically means that I have been F/T mentally fecked!  Although I am living my dream right now, I never considered  during my previous 10 years of daydreaming and scheming in order to get this life, that whilst I'm working from home, everyone else is out, either at work or at school.  My cat Jackson is still missing after so many heartbreaking months and my other cat Sandy has moved in with my fella, since his house is posh enough to have a catflap, a luxury not allowed in my rented abode & she sulks if I bring her home.  Therefore, its just me debating strategies with my four walls.

Doing charity and PR work does mean that I regularly get to put on my 'this is my work face - talk to it' persona & I enjoy the banter, but as I am still in work mode, I'm still on my own; kind of lonely in a crowd scenario.

Me & Charity Mascot
I know, I know, this is not acceptable social etiquette. Only sad, socially inept people admit to being lonely right? Well, here I am, suffering from neither Sad-syndrome or inept-itude; just perhaps a tad too much honesty.

I wish I was one of those women that could work productively from home, wearing PJ's all day, meet all deadlines and still have a tidy home and ediblely flavoured dinner on the table ready for the quality family time each evening.  I am the most spectacular failure on all points!

Nope, first thing in the morning, I MUST put on work clothes, slap on work warpaint and attempt salon-swooshy looking hair.  Without this armour, I simply cannot switch on my work brain and will instead, spend the day doing 'essential' jobs, aka work avoidance projects.  Work brain says "I have a deadline" Result - clean shower-head and shiny taps.

Kitchen / Office = Fail
I don't have an office as such, transformation of conservatory and a bedroom work desk have both failed to glue my butt to the office-style swivel chair.  Instead, I have adopted Costa Coffee as my office.  It has people who don't interrupt, tea which I don't have to make myself, WiFi which I don't have to pay for and electric sockets which I don't think they know that I am plugging my laptop and phone into. 

Every morning like clockwork, I dump my mahoosive workbag at my favourite, four-seater table (next to concealed plug socket), order tea & toast and work solidly for exactly 2hrs and 50mins, then dash out to my car before the parking fine kicks in at 3hrs 1min.


Costa on a Failed Swooshy-Hair Day
It has occurred to me though, the money I spend everyday at Costa could probably be better utilised paying for a jelli (weird name for a rented desk in a shared office space with other lone(ly) workers).  This is definitely worth looking into until I discover if this annoying need for other human's company is just a phase.

Or, I could go with my Son's eager suggestion. A Pug.  I could waffle to a doggie all day, take him out with me to events as my plus one and he could be like my best friend; except in this case, when my best friend drops a shit-bomb, in this case it will be literal.  I'm not allowed pets in my house according to my contract though, I'd need to train Pugly to sit statue-like and pretend that he is a doorstop whenever the landlord visits.

Alone - Oh Woe IS Me
I love the flexibility of working from home, of organising (hahaha) my own schedule so that I can almost always be there for my kid's shows, school visits etc and not panic if they are too poorly for school.  These bouts of loneliness are worth it for the precious short years before my kids are too embarrassed by my presence at the school fayres and open days.

I'm determined that I will get better at being alone soon, otherwise my ambition to be a F/T writer, working from my home office in my splendid big country house in the middle of nowhere will prove to be an uber' bloody stupid one!!    

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Wedding Fayre at Venue Cymru

In the words of Carrie Bradshaw "I am missing the bride gene"!

I was never the little girl who played dress up!  Yes, I raided my Mum's wardrobe and tried on her outfits whilst she was at bingo but never did I pretend that her lace curtains were my veil and do the "dadadadaahh" wedding march down a makeshift aisle.

My fiancĂ© informed me quite early on that he wanted a beach wedding; I'm assuming abroad as Rhyl promenade, being dive-bombed by seagulls doesn't conjure the most romantic picture. He talks about bare feet, sunshine and warm breezes.  The closest we get to a warm breeze round here is vindaloo boffs down Wellington road on a Thursday night.  Nope, he MUST mean abroad...

Initially, I had shrugged my shoulders, smiled and said "Oki Doki".  That suited me as I haven't the foggiest about wedding planning, etiquette or tradition and to be honest, the details didn't interest me at all.

Then Hubs introduced me to 'Don't Tell the Bride' and suggested we apply.  Groozy!.  I was happy for him to do all the faff and I just show up and enjoy...until that it, I remembered last Christmas and the complete disaster of him choosing me a handbag and undies.  I had said "Think Marilyn Monroe"  I received Hilda Ogden.  Sacked!!

So, it was in search of the bride gene that my daughter and I attended Venue Cymru's wedding fayre in Llandudno recently.  I guess it didn't get off to the best of starts when I was handed a goodie bag and asked to wear a sticker with BRIDE written in bold pink on it.  My daughter (also not a dress up kid) rolled our eyes at each other.  We slapped the sticker on the goodie bag instead and left a bunch of excitable, giggly brides all stickering up at the entrance.

Inside, we saw a chocolate fountain, with a selection of dunkable yummys. "When is the wedding?" Scrumdiddly Umptious, the first of soo many stall holders asked me. It occurred to me that I hadn't given that much thought either.  I felt like a fraud, a fake bride as I mumbled "No date set yet". "Do you have a theme in mind"?  "Have you booked a venue"? the questions were coming thick and fast and this woman was freaking me out.  "Dunno yet" I replied as her eyes narrowed then lowered to my wedding finger, obviously checking I even had a ring.  I was ready to show her another finger but my daughter quickly hustled me away.

"What's the matter with you"? she asked.  "I'm just pants at this, I want to be married but I just cant get excited about all of this  stuff" I replied, gesturing around the room.

We plodded across to where Cute As Can Be stationary were displaying some beautiful invite cards. "That's lovely; I would choose something like that invite card, its festive looking". My daughter grinned widely "Mum, that's it, well done, a breakthrough" she high-fived me.  I was unconvinced but it was a very nice card.

Next we passed a wedding venue display.  I pointed at the chair with a big bow on it "Eurgh, I loathe bows on chairs, but that sparkly hangy thingy looks nice on that chair"  Daughter nodded and winked at me. Hmm.. maybe I am getting into this.

Whilst my girl got new eyebrows powdered on by the eyebrow ladies, I glanced round the other stalls. "Ahhh, how cute"  I sidled over to the next stand where Groomintails had doggie bowties and pictures of dogs in attendance at their respective humans nuptials.  Again, I got asked all the same questions but this time I felt a little less defensive "Nothing set yet but I've come here for inspiration" I replied truthfully.

We looked through BenWalkerPhotography & GrahamWilliams portfolios, enjoyed operatic singers Canig , chatted to make up artists KayEvans & JessicaDineen and exchanged compliments with headband designers NinaWren.  With each stand I visited, I grew in confidence and began to notice subtle surges of excitement at the thought of what our wedding could actually be like.

Music started up and across the room, we saw models stride down a catwalk.  We watched as dresses of all descriptions from KarenLesleyBridalEmporium swooshed across the stage.  "Like it, Don't like it, That's lovely, Err...No, def no to that one".  I could see the types of dresses that I knew Hubs would like and I could see the ones that I liked, they were very, very different dresses! I mentally shoved the application for the reality show in an envelope and set fire to it.  Not only had I gone from 'bum all interest' to 'oh me likey but, the thought of being barefoot on a beach when I could be wearing beautiful shoes like the models had on, meant that the beach abroad was fast losing its appeal too!

After the show, we discovered a company called Smooth (Contact smoothmobilebars@ymail.com for deets).  They had put out a giant pool-table, with footballs on it, where people could kick the balls into the pockets. "That's Brilliant!!" we exclaimed. Love it!  "When's the wedding"? *sigh* "Dunno, my Hubs wants a beach wedding but I don't know ..."  He grinned at me. "Well, what makes you happy?" he asked.  "Christmas" I beamed.  Next thing, this fabulous man concocted a full theme that incorporated all the seasons culminating with a snowy, Christmas first dance.  It was the most amazing wedding I had ever heard of!  I wanted it!!

That's it.  I was / still am excited!  The entire picture, from the cake to the dress to the music, everything came in one full hit. Genius!!

Full of excitement, daughter and I suddenly found ourselves behaving like those giggly, stickered up brides. We popped over to PictureBox Photobooth to record the moment, donning hats and wigs, before dashing home to tell Hubs all our new plans. 

I'm relieved to say that he loved the ideas too, thank goodness.  Right, now that's me bride gene found, where's the calendar??

Thursday, 13 November 2014

From Moo To Me

Bring your business cards they said.  I was invited to attend the National Mumprenuer Conference (Yes, and awards but that's another blog post) along with entrepreneurs, celebrities and my fella.  I was so looking forward to it and planned to maximise this opportunity to the hilt.  Lots of my target readership all rounded up in the one place for an entire day. Fantastic! As I fished out my business cards though, I realised that they were all for my Blonde PR business, no mention of That Welsh Blonde at all. Ahh.. Crap!  I googled Moo.com immediately.

www.moo.com
Six weeks later and my suitcase was packed in full 'mum on the loose' essentials (Don't play coy - we all know its sassy clothes, foxy undies and half the nightstand draw ;-)  ready for two nights in a Warwickshire hotel, close to the event venue.  Babysitter booked and I was good to go. 

The day before we were to leave, a text pinged in from DHL to say that my Moos had arrived and I could now collect from my nearest Ryman store.  Phew. I'd paid for express delivery but  was really cutting it fine.

At Ryman, I handed over my delivery info and they passed me back a massive, floppy parcel.  "Err.. I don't think this is mine".  We checked the label; yep, From Moo to Me.  I refused to sign for it and instead opened the parcel.  WTF??? A gigantic, weird, purple/ pinky, bumpy leathery beanbag'ish kinda thing - inflated it must look like a swollen scrotum after a 10 hour porn shoot!!

Frantic calls to DHL did not go well. The dude insisted that the fault was with Moo.com, despite me telling him that Moo does not make bloody beanbaggy things. So next I called Moo and prayed that the American woman who was dealing with my desperate pleads was not sat at her desk in AMERICA since I was on my mobile in BRITAIN.  Argghh..  Have to say though that she was absolutely lovely.  She refunded my delivery charges and sent out a new batch of business cards which I would receive by Monday. MONDAY!!! Too flaming late...Argghh..

I admit, I got a bit tearful then. Massive networking opportunity, professional business contacts & me with no cards.  So, I did what all good bloggers would do.... I let fly my first ever Twitter rant.

My First Twitter Rant
Post vent, I was calm enough to put on my PR head.  I thought to myself 'How can I turn this around?'  Huge event...Celebrities...Photographers...  Blog to promote....I know... I need Matalan!

I bought Matalan's finest plain black t-shirt then headed to my local printers.  "I need this shirt to become my business card on the front" I stated, giving my social media, email and blog deets etc.  Then I flipped the tshirt over. "Right. On the back I need hashtag, DHLLostMyBusinessCards.  I had no doubt that with all the photos that would be taken that day, my t-shirt rant would go nationwide!!  Although I was gutted about my cards, I was pleased with my plan.

It meant ditching my lovely new outfit in favour of a sandwich board style t-shirt but at least people would remember me; plus it would be a talking point for my new anti-DHL twitter campaign.  If the DHL dude on the phone hadn't been so arsey, then I wouldn't have been so angry but at that point I was just soo pissed off! 

"Shaa-Ting ..just got a text message - ooshh" screamed my Keith Lemon text tone.  I opened it up and there was a DHL message. 'I'm outside your house with your parcel'  OMG!! Yaaay...& Nooo, but Yaaay...errmmmm.....  I shot back into the printers "STOOOPPPP"

Dues to them
At the event, I wore my TShirt with @ThatWelshBlonde on the chest and my blog address on the back. It was rant-free.  I got lots of compliments on the t-shirt and it did get photographed to death. The bigger part of me was so happy that I had my Moo cards, which everyone agreed were fab & the other part of me, the PR chick, was bummed out at an opportunity lost. 

The reality is though, I would have felt poo if I had actually gone ahead with my twitter assault.  The people at Moo and DHL had gone to a lot of effort to fix the situation for me and I would have had a far lower opinion of myself if I had crapped on them in order to get attention for myself!  That said though.... my latest EBay delivery is taking way too long....hhmmm..

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Liebster Award Q and A - My Turn

It was a lovely surprise to discover that I'd been nominated to take part in the Liebster Q&A by Alicia a la mode.  I don't usually do the 'chain mail' type of activities but this seemed fun so am happy to join in.  

The rules are as follows:-
 
1)  Answer the questions sent to you.
2)  Nominate 11 bloggers who have under 200 followers on Twitter
3)  Ask them 11 questions of your own.
4)  Notify them that you've nominated them.
 
 

Here goes ...

1. How did you come up with your blog name?
The name That Welsh Blonde came about during Uni.  Myself and my fellow blonde classmate Georgina joined up on team projects for our PR & Marketing coursework.  As the only blondes in class, we whimsically named our project team Blonde PR.  I was known as The Welsh Blonde, Georgina was English.  That Welsh Blonde stuck from then on.

2.What season is you favourite when it comes to fashion, spring/summer or autumn/winter?
For me, its definitely Autumn!  Its the time when you can still wear your summer clothes but make them all snuggly with big, fluffy cardigans and cosy boots.

3.What is your favourite clothing brand if you had to pick one?

I have several go-to brands but for a favourite, I'd have to choose Lipsy.  I love how feminine the clothes are, how glamorous the dresses are and, as much as I know they are not the uber-trend anymore, but I lurve the velour tracksuits.  Yes, I'm a Paris Hilton'ite!!

4.When did you first start to wear make up?
Oh my...its been decades!! I can remember sneaking my mum's Avon blue eyeshadow, blue mascara and frosted pink lippy. Since that sounds seriously 80's, I'm going to guess that I was about 6 or 7.  I know I was wearing make up on the first day of high school, three different shades of pink eyeshadow.  My daughter is following suit...stealing my make up.

 5.Can you remember the first beauty product you ever bought?
Rimmel concealer stick in ivory.  I recently started buying it again and its fighting its way between mine and my daughter's make up bags.    

6.Who is your favourite blogger?
There are some excellent bloggers out there but the person who I find inspiring is Victoria from inthefrow.com.  I find her styling fabulous but more importantly, I find she is very friendly, relatable and honest.  Always an enjoyable read!

7.Is there any celebrities that inspire you?
There are so many to be honest. I love celebrities who do a lot of charity work such as Angelina Jolie and her ethics when it comes to career, family and humanitarian work is so inspirational.  I also admire Jennifer Lopez for her incredible business acumen.  Above all though, JK Rowling. Her journey, her talent and her continuous charity work make her an absolute hero in my eyes!

8.What would be your dream job?
That's an easy one.  A writer.  I am striving to be a full-time writer, taking on various projects such as my blog, a novel and screen-writing.  I have trained with both ITV & BBC and I would love to translate my blog into a tv series ...who knows. Maybe one day!  
 
9.If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
America.  More specifically, San Francisco or Chicago.  Closer to home would be Reading.  I lived there in my early twenties and loved it!


10.Would you ever have any tattoos?
 The deed is done. There is no big poetic meaning behind it.  I was just bored waiting for my fella to get his haircut in the barbers next door, so I went browsing in the tattoo shop....and came out 30 mins later with this; which my friend said looks like a 'lick and stick' Cheers!


 11.What is your favourite time of year?

CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!  It's the most wonderful time of the year :-)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Want to Win A Clarins, Armani & Dior Gift Box?

Of course you do! Welcome to my first giveaway. My lovely friend Rosie from Clarins at Debenhams has put together this mahoosively desirable gift box just for That Welsh Blonde readers.

Dior Blush











Whether you want this fab giftbox for yourself, as a Christmas pressie or see it as an opportunity to get into your friend/girlfriends good books, all you have to do to win it is subscribe and then share your fave That Welsh Blonde post. simples!

Dior Make Up Case
As much as I want to keep this for myself, I have been a good girl and launched a rafflecopter just for you. If you have never heard of rafflecopter before, this is how it works. In this case, there are four ways in which you can enter the prize draw; 'like' my Facebook page, 'follow' me on Twitter, 'follow' me on Instagram or 'share' your favourite blogpost on either Twitter or Facebook. You can choose just one or two or all four options. Each like, follow or share equates to an entry into the draw, which means you have up to four chances of winning.

The rafflecopter will be live for two weeks and the lucky winner will be chosen at random & then notified within 48 hours of the draw. So that's it. Easy peasy! A list of what you can win is below along with pictures of the gorgeous products. Good luck everyone xx 

  • Clarins HydraQuench Cream Mask
  • Clarins Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream
  • Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment Cream
  • Clarins HydraQuench Cream - Normal to Dry Skin
  • Clarins Eye Contour Gel
  • Clarins Face Treatment Oil Mini
  • Clarins Tonic Bath & Shower Concentrate 100ml
  • Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover
  • Clarins Relax Bath & Shower  Concentrate  100ml                                                                                          
  • Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion
  • Dior Make Up Case
  • Dior Blusher
  • Dior Nude Concealer Mini
  • Gueirlan La Petite Robe Noir Perfume Sample
  • Armani Si Mini Perfume


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 3 November 2014

Vita Coco For Kids - By My Kids

A spooky coincidence occurred recently...or perhaps, if you are more spiritually minded, then you would say "We put out a request & the Universe answered"; but that sets a bit too dramatic a tone for the rest of the blog post so I will just say "summat happened that was right good timin".

Vita Coco Kids
After a morning spent in hospital, it was apparent that I had passed on my dodgy tummy DNA to my poor Son. A few weeks off school were prescribed along with some other meds which made us both feel queasy at the thought.  Add to this, a change in diet and no fizzy or milky drinks. Poor kid was not impressed.

Mooching round the supermarket later that day, we saw various drinks ranging from Blah to Bleurgh.  I pointed out coconut water to him and he looked at me like I had lost my marbles!  An hour later, we arrived home disappointed.  I checked my emails and would you believe it...an invitation from Vita Coco Kids to try samples of their new naturally flavoured coconut water, especially made for kids. Was that timing or what?

 
A few days later, a package arrived which we eagerly unwrapped. When my Son saw the flavours, his initial flat refusal to try them was withdrawn.  My 12 year old daughter is a cola addict, so this was the chance to introduce her to something healthier. From here, I think I'll let the kids tell you for themselves...


So, that's what my munchkins thought.  If you are thinking about maybe popping a carton of this in your kid's lunchbox, here are the stats for you. 

The drinks have no artificial colourings or preservatives, no added sugar.  Not made from concentrate and contains 5g of sugar and 22 calories; compared with the leading UK kids juice drink which has 7.8g sugar and 40 calories per 100ml.  It also contains 170mg of potassium whereas the leading UK kids chilled juice drink contains 0mgs potassium.  Major bonus though, it fits in lunchboxes and is compliant with my son's school 'healthy lunchbox' policy.

For more deets, visit their website via this link Vita Coco Kids

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Allergy Show UK

Another 3am on the bog, wrapped in a duvet, clinging onto the sink for dear life as yet another spasm of agony ripped through my stomach.  This led to another 7am of my Son finding me asleep, toilet roll in hand, my head propped up on the loo roll holder.  He used to find it funny, but nowadays I get sympathy as the poor mite has the same food intolerances as me. 

Me & my zits arrive at the show
That's why I decided to visit the Allergy Show in Liverpool's BT Convention Centre last weekend.  Sucking on my cardboard tasting breakfast of cracker things and still sulking from another bagel which had crumbled the second I tried to put 'free from everything including taste' jam on the top.  I was determined to find something edible!

After handing over my free tickets, downloaded hastily from the internet that morning, I walked into my own equivalent of wonderland.  I didn't know which way to go first. Should I follow my nose to where the food waft was wafting from or pop over to the massage chairs (don't care that I can eat them, I got me some achy bones) or even check out the face creams made from who knows what grown from home??  My nose won.

First up, I discovered the Galloway Fudge Company, where I bought some oh so delicious Sicilian Lemon Marshmallows. Lots of flavours of marshmallows and fudge were out for me and Hubby to nibble on, but this flavour won for me. 

Natures Store
Next, I stopped by Nature's Store where I was treated to a pack of white chocolate rice cakes - and they tasted lovely!!  I know, its rare if not impossible to find rice cakes that don't taste like something your mother would slap your hand for eating shouting 'yucky, throw it away'.  These my lovelies however, are yum - taste like chewier milkybars!  My Hubs was given a free packet of milk chocolate ones for the road too.  We were really starting to love this show!


Melody-Claire
Next up, we took a seat at a live cooking showcase and watched mesmerised as these women cooked up lovely dishes from the foods in the gluten free, dairy free, wheat free ranges. I was impressed and did my best to try and remember the recipes.  I've failed though!

A bit further on and a lady from Melody-Claire pulled me over.  She was enquiring about whether I shaved or waxed and I instinctively looked down to see if my legs looked like extras from Planet of the Apes.  She showed her a buffer looking product and asked my man to test it.  Looking most dubious he extended his arm and she performed a kind of 'wax on, wax off' manoeuvre across a hairy patch of arm.  Seconds later, Hubs looked at the shiny bald patch in amazement.  It was quick, painless, seemed effortless and no friction burns appeared.   I handed over £20 for a years supply of buffer things immediately whilst secretly hoping it works on lady'tashe. 

We sampled nitrogen ice-cream, fruity sorbet (not for me though, loathe the taste of real fruit), fajitas, curries and so much more.  Massages from healer-people and heated seat pad thingies. There was precious little that I wasn't excited about.  Hubby, having no allergies or intolerances of his own, found many foods that he would refuse to eat but as I told him, many, many times over - he has had choices and junk food all his life. This stuff is brilliant for me & my intolerant comrades.

There was one particular stand however, where he kept stealing my samples.  The Daura Damm aka, Beer Stand.  What can I say except "WOW". I can never, EVER drink beers without looking like I've either swallowed a football, or am due to give birth imminently.  The aftermath always ends up with 3am duvet!  Gluten-free beer that tastes as good as any German beer (my favourite kind).  Apparently, this stuff is available in Asda, Morrisons, & Waitrose.  I know what's top of my shopping list for Christmas Festivities now Oh, along with Udi's Bagels which I also discovered you can buy from Tesco, & Asda ; am munching 
on a free sample pack of bagels as I write this blog.

Me & George Jones
I was really pleased to meet George Jones, 1990's supermodel and all round gorgeous lady, who has set up Bathing Beauty. A natural skincare company from my nearby hometown of Denbigh.  I complained about how my skin is always a disaster from all my allergy, stress and 'hormonal' issues.  She handed over a sample bar of soap for me to try called Miracle; wow she really did know what I needed!  Then she also told me all about a facial oil called Troubled Skin.  I love that her range is so blunt rather than giving the products airy fairy names!  Well, love this stuff so much that I will be posting my first ever YouTube video about our experience soon.  That's how inspired I was!



Well, with so many exhibitors to mention and a bag load of goodies to try, I can honestly say I'm chuffed to bits that I went to this show!  I am definitely going again next year.  In the meantime, I'm off to bin all my cardboard food - no room for it in my kitchen cupboards anymore.

ps. None of these posts have been sponsored - I'm just really happy to promote them! Realise there 
are a lot of links but hoping you find that helpful. Enjoy x

Monday, 27 October 2014

Dad Dropped Me

My kids are nagging me to go to Alton Towers.  I feel that, at 12 & 10 they are too young. Of course, I was their age when I first went but that is beside the point; as is the fact that my daughter is taller and far more fearless than me.  Whilst pondering how long I can drag this out for before rebellion kicks in and the kids start making DIY rollercoasters out of go-cats and bloody steep hills, I came across this old article from the archives of my Columnist days.  It made me wonder...

My daughter turned six last weekend.  She hoped to have a party at home but the thought of sixteen six-year-olds running riot through my house was too horrifying to contemplate!

This is as scary as it should get!
We opted for Geronimos, Rhyl instead.  With exactly fourteen sleep nights before her birthday, hubs & I  both struck on the idea to buy her birthday gift.  Unfortunately, inspiration hit us on a day when we weren't together.  The lightbulb flashing above my Man's head lit his way to Game Station whereupon he bought her the latest pink Nintendo DS, complete with accessories and three games.

At the same time, in a town several miles away, I was in Claire's Accessories handing over the dosh for my daughter's gift.  My daughter was sat in a tall chair quaking and attempting deep breaths. The gold studs were loaded in the piercing gun and positioned at her ear.

My little girl had requested ear piercing on many occasions in the past, I had been extremely reuctant.  One time, I had let her watch another girl of about the same age have her ears pierced. The girl had slid off the stool and promptly vomited.  Her mother had looked ready to rip my head off when she noticed my broad smile which had involuntarily sat on my face.  Her child's upchuck had given my kid's feet flight, right out of the door.  Unfortunately, now we were back.

EXCITED!!!
Later that day, we were gathered at Geronimos. Hubby was in charge of gathering up the kids and supervising their journeys within the play area.   I was left with the job of introductions between the parents and was gutted to have the adult duties whilst my man was hurtling down slides with the kids!

20 minutes in and someone else's little girl comes flying at me. "Miss, Miss, they're going on the big slide and I'm scared they are gonna get dead" Her mother approaches me, her voice raising in pitch as she demands to now what's going on, why there is no barrier on the drop-slide and did I realise that the kids were all too small for that slide?     

I looked over the barrier and see a mop of brown hair hurtle alarmingly fast in a downwards non-diagonal direction.  "Ann, that was your kid" I yelled as I ran toward an almighty  drop-slide. "OH MY GAAHHHDD, It's MY kid" I freaked out as I saw my 4 year old son sprawled at the bottom; I prayed he had not broken any bones or worse. Racing down the stairs, I called for Hubby to come quick.

That's when my boy jumped up waving his little fists around hollering "Yeah, Yeah, that was well cool!" his face had a scary, hyper expression as if he had eaten 20 packets of Smarties washed down with a bottle of SunnyD.  "Dude, you frightened the life out of me. You could have hurt yourself. What's your Dad going to say when he finds out?"  I rambled as I checked him over.  "Dad knows" my Son laughed and pointed upwards "Dad dropped me"

Party Face Paint All Ready
It was then I became aware that my Son's name was being chanted.  I slung my small Son under my arm and legged it up the stairs to find all the other kids and several Fathers whopping and clapping.
The other Dad's refused to meet my 'You are dead-meat' eyes as Hubby sheepishly informed me that all the other kids had been too scared to go on the drop-slide, whereupon my boy had climbed up and proved them all cowards.

As he was telling me this, he was hunched over the slide and in his hands were the hands of another child.  The kids in the background were goading "Drop, Drop, Drop". The other Dads looked shamefaced as they saw their respective partners stood behind me, hands on hips. 

Turns out that only my Son & the neighbours twins had the guts to go on the slide.  As the party was drawing to a close, I was relieved that the event had passed without injuries or complaints.  A good time was had by all.

When the attendants brought out the party bags, I asked my friend if she would mind handing them out for me.  There was something I needed to do.  I grabbed Hubs by the scruff and marched him off...

"Drop, Drop, Drop" yelled the kids as my feet dangling, eyes squeezed tightly shut and both mine and Hub's knuckles white. "ARRGGHHHHHH.....That was WELL COOL!!"

So, that was six years ago.  Since then we have been to Gulliver's World, Camelot, Aqua Jungle in Egypt, Siam Park in Tenerife, PortAventura in Spain and to the Fun Palace in Caernarfon which has even more scary drop-slides.  So, why am I so reluctant to take them to Alton Towers?  Is it the worry that my Son is still too small for most of the rides? Is it that I still haven't recovered from my utter terror on the BlackHole over a decade ago? I guess the nearest thing to the truth is that, with each passing year...there's a good chance that I'm turning into a chicken and I'm feeling just too damn old to be dragged onto rides which make me lose my stomach, bladder and lunch all at once!

Geronimos is located in Rhyl Funpalace.  Click this link for more info Geronimos

Monday, 20 October 2014

Animal Birthing - Beautiful or Ick?

The Blonde clan have recently become addicted to PogDogs (Paul O'Grady at Battersea Dogs home), Supervet and various other animal rescue programmes. As we coo, ahhh and aww at the various little animals in need of love, our cat Sandy is usually nearby for cuddles and an expression of miffed'ness (usual expression to be honest) on her furry face.  It reminds me that the kids have not always found fuzzy animals quite so cute.  Digging out an old column from the archives, I found a prime example.  Read on peeps...


Yum, tasty Kitten haha,,
The beauty of nature has been revealed to my children in all its glory this week. Their response was "Urgh, Gross" I could not chastise too much since my outburst was "Arghh Noooo, not on my new carpet"  The cat gave birth regardless.
Sandy, our cat, had been getting a bit fat.  The tom cats had finally stopped wailing outside our windows night and day.  I now understand what people mean when they say 'cats chorus' and at the same time was soo tempted to find out about the sound people describe as 'strangled cat' at 5am. poor Sandy just didn't seem to know what to do with herself. She was hungry yet she wasn't, she wanted in but would hesitate at the door. Basically, she was being a pain in the furry butt.!

Bank Holiday weekend, and my little family and I were lying in the hallway playing dominoes and enjoying the smell and feel of our new carpet, when Sandy waddled past.  Her backside was at eyelevel to us all and we looked at each other in bewilderment.

"Sandy is doing a poo - throw her out quick" my daughter yelled.  The cat dived behind me and then set off to find a birthing place, leaving ick trails in her wake.  Ten minutes later and Sandy seemed to have decided that this was not something that she wanted to do alone.

Practising for her newborns
We could see her tummy grinding and contracting. My husband started to stroke her back firmly and it really seemed to help her.  I was torn between feeling really proud of him being so sensitive to Sandy and absolute sickening jealousy that this cat was getting all the attention and support from my man that I never got both times that I had given birth; ok, with extreme amounts of medical intervention each time he never really had a chance but that is beside the point - huh!

My attempts at following the cat with a towel were fruitless as were my son's attempts to spray Oxy Carpet Magic stuff on every stain  Then, the first kitten began to make her appearance.

"Why is her baby coming out of her bum"?  my son asked, his head cocked to one side.  Thankfully, I did not have to answer this question as it was quickly replaced by another one.  The first born plopped onto my soft, bouncy, beautiful & expensive carpet in a mass of goo and guts.  Whereupon, Sandy turned and began to lick her baby clean. Cries of "Mum, is she eating her baby?" and "urgh,, that's gross"! filled what I assume should have been a beautiful moment.

My lovely carpet *sigh*
Some days later, my cousin also gave birth, thankfully in a hospital and not in my hallway though.  Her son was born naturally and both mother and baby were doing well.  I took my kids in to the hospital to visit them.  As my daughter bounded up to my cousin's bed, arms laden with presents and homemade cards, my son approached carefully and unusually quietly.

He tentatively climbed up on the bed and cuddled my cousin, his eyes full if concern.  "Does your bum hurt"? he asked her.  She roared with laughter and looked to me for an explanation.

I have to wonder, how do you explain to children about all nature's beauty and wondrous magic when so much of it is hidden in Ick?  It is easy to show a child a butterfly or a bumblebee in a flower-filled garden and have them understand what beauty is.  How do you compare that to a snake swallowing a mouse whole or a tiger feeding a deer to it's cubs and especially, a life being born from a bum?

It is all nature and fascinating in its splendour but who are we kidding when we call it beautiful? The kids don't buy that line!  Sometimes nature is just Ick!  

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Meningitis - a Fatal Instinct

Have you ever ignored your gut instinct? I admit, this is something that I have done a lot. My gut has issued various warnings in the past, which I have not acted on as common sense usually won the mental debate. The day I brushed off 'Mother's Instinct' however, threatened to be fatal.

My poorly angel & Rascal
It was a typical Saturday morning, I was rushing to get myself ready for work and my then two year old daughter, ready to stay at Grandma's house.  As I was washing her breakfast-encrusted face, I noticed about five red spots on her cheek.  Being my usual neurotic self, I got out a glass and pressed it to her little face; the spots did not disappear.

I was slightly alarmed but my baby was not unwell, she was fully recovered from a recent chest infection and showed no other symptoms that would lead me to the conclusion of Meningitis.  I took her to Grandma's house and mentioned the spots to her.  She agreed that they seemed nothing to worry about but promised to take my toddler to the pharmacist, just to put my mind at rest.  I left for work with a nagging but seemingly unjustified feeling of unease.

The bank where I worked back then, was always hectic on a Saturday, and as I cashed up the till at the end of my three hour shift, it occurred to me that Grandma had not called to tell me what the pharmacist had said.  No news is good news, I assumed.

Recovering
Then the phone rang.

My husband was at the hospital with my little girl.  the pharmacist had suggested that Grandma took her to the A&E department, just to be on the safe side.  By the time they arrived there 20 minutes later, , my daughter had spots on her face, neck and chest.  The doctors saw her immediately and took her straight to a private room on the children's ward. By this time, her entire body was covered in spots.  Drugs to combat Meningitis were administered while Grandma had looked on in horror.

While my Husband explained to me what was happening, I felt an icy rage overwhelm me.  The anger I felt at not being called immediately, that my husband was called long before I was battled with the crippling guilt that I had not followed my gut instinct and taken her to A&E myself as soon as I had put the glass down that morning. Most of all though, I felt so utterly fearful for my cherished daughter.

I abandoned my till and ran out the door.  With gritted teeth and tears streaming, I arrived at the hospital in law-breaking time.  As I arrived on the ward, a passing nurse knew instantly from my expression whose mother I must be and sympathetically led me to my little one.

There she was, sat on Daddy's knee, her little arms round his neck like a vice and big frightened eyes darting round the room.  As I reached for her, I was shocked at how hot and red her soft skin was and how she had gone from a healthy-looking child to this in under four hours.

My baby & me
Her treatment lasted for five days, which we spent in isolation in that small hospital room.  It awoke me to the realisation that we had been so very lucky.  Meningitis takes hold incredibly fast and as parents, we have to act even faster!  That means not ignoring the warning symptoms or your instinct.  sometimes, our inner alert system can quite literally be a life-saver.

Children with viral Meningitis usually recover fully in about two weeks, but bacterial Meningitis proves fatal in about one in twenty cases.  The symptoms of bacterial and viral Meningitis are similar, however bacterial Meningitis tends to develop much more rapidly, and can cause serious illness within a few hours.

The Warning Signs

Symptoms of Meningitis, which are likely to appear in young children are:

     - Fever
     - In Meningococcal Meningitis, a distinctive rash of flat, reddish-purple lesions varying in size from pinheads to large patches that do not fade when pressed.
     - Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
     - Drowsiness or restlessness and high-pitched crying

Older children may, in addition, have the characteristic symptoms of Meningitis in adults, which are:

     - Dislike of bright lights
     - Severe headache and an extremely stiff neck, particularly when bending the head forwards.

For more information and advice, click here to visit the Meningitis Now website.