Lion Selfie! – #MySundayPhoto

lion selfie chessington lions animals

Say CHEESE!

Talk about right place at the right time! This was taken during half term at Chessington World of Adventures! Casually watching the gorgeous lions in the zoo there and this one was extraordinarily friendly, honouring me with this super selfie!

Photalife

Days Out, Marcella and Elizabeth Hurley #LittleLoves

Two weeker here! Half term for us was amazing! We got out and about and managed to pack quite a lot in! I didn’t want school to resume this week, but all back to normality and the daily grind is well under way again.

Have to mention my lovely girl’s achievement this week. She got the highest marks in a maths exam in her class for the SECOND time in a row! She’s never really shown any flair in maths particularly so quite surprised this happened again! I was proud as punch last time but now my pride is off the radar! My clever girl.

Feeling a bit meh about some personal issues going on right now but still lots to be happy about, so here’s my Little Loves list for the past two weeks!

Read

I’ve been reading a lot more with my twin boys recently which I am enjoying. Obviously I’m supposed to listen to them read on a regular basis for school, which I do, but for ease I tend to get them to read to me together. But making the effort to read individually again has been beneficial. They’ve picked out a book each and I take them upstairs one by one to snuggle up with me and read a little bit every single day (or most days). They’re 8 now so they CAN read but reading out loud, highlighting words they don’t know and talking about the books helps them enormously to understand and enjoy the books so much more! It’s time consuming in an already busy evening but we’re all getting so much out it. They’re improving their reading skills and I’m spending some precious one to one time with each of my twins which is wonderfully special for all of us.

IMG_4334

Watched

It has to be Marcella! I had a binge watch of the first series on Netflix last week which I thought was brilliant. It packed loads into every episode. The amount of characters all intertwined was tricky to keep up with in places but I managed and thoroughly enjoyed all the twists and turns! I couldn’t wait for the new series to start on Monday… did you watch? Not sure what I think yet, maybe too soon to tell but looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Wore

Lycra! Yes I made a welcome return to the gym this week after a few months hiatus, so back on went the lycra and back on the treadmill I went!

Actually it was my daughter that spurred me on as she had an inset day at school and had been badgering me to take her to the gym for some time (kids her age, 12, seem to be just getting into it now) so I booked her in for an induction. It was lovely, a bit of mum and daughter time, so I hope it’s something we will continue to do together as and when we can. I’ve been twice since on my own too this week as I really need to up my fitness levels! Go me!

Not much lycra on me showing in this photo but my daughter here is wearing plenty!

littleloves gym workout

Heard

Gossip! Met up with a friend this week for a much needed catch up and a gossip. We did a bit of shopping, a bit of coffee shop sitting and a LOT of gossiping! Perfect day!

Made

We made lots of trips out during the half term…..

We made our first visit as a Merlin Ambassador to Chessington World of Adventures. The whole park wasn’t fully open but the zoo and a few rides were, as were the restaurants! We had a brilliant time and can’t wait to go back again!

Chessington merlin theme parks

We were invited to the press launch of Dinosaurs in the Wild which is an interactive experience set 67 millions years ago! Rubbing shoulders with dinosaurs and celebrities alike, a great time was had. This is definitely one of those attractions not to be missed. Full review coming in the next few days! Check out my selfie with Elizabeth Hurley – I grabbed her just before we left as I couldn’t go without saying hello! I look awful in this photo and she doesn’t look too impressed either but she was VERY lovely, as was her son Damian who looks like a model! She was also VERY tall! 😉

elizabeth hurley dinosaurs in the wild

dinosaurs in the wild

We visited the fabulous Willows Farm in Hertfordshire… one of our favourite local days out.

Willows Farm goat

We also went trampolining!

trampolining

And lastly….

I can’t believe the cold weather is kicking in again… I thought we were on our way to Spring! Not yet it seems, so we’re bracing ourselves for the onslaught this week. Snow forecast for Monday!

Keep warm people! x

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

What to Do if You Experience Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

Although the law protects you against unfair treatment at work due to a pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for women to find themselves struggling at their workplace, or even pushed out of a job due to falling pregnant. In certain industries, where it may no longer be safe to work whilst pregnant, your employer should work to find you a suitable position that you are able to fulfill during the time until your maternity leave commences. Sadly, many employers today still do not treat women fairly when they’re pregnant or want to take maternity leave from work. If you feel that you would have been treated fairly were you not pregnant, your employer may be breaking the law. Here’s what to do if you are treated unfairly or wrongfully dismissed from your workplace due to pregnancy.

1. Get Legal Advice:

The first step is getting legal advice from an experienced solicitor who is used to handling similar claims. They will be able to look at the specifics of your situation to let you know whether you are being treated unfairly, and whether it’s worth thinking about making a claim against your employer. If you’re trying to avoid a lengthy court case whilst pregnant, then it may be worth speaking to experienced settlement agreement solicitors who will be able to increase your chance of coming to an agreement with your employer outside of court.

2. Keep Records:

If you are going to make a claim, then it’s important that you are able to provide evidence of the unfair treatment. If you were dismissed for seemingly no reason when your employer found out that you were pregnant, then this may be evidence enough. However, in most cases, it’s not always as simple as that. It’s a good idea to keep detailed records of how your employer’s treatment of you changed from falling pregnant onwards. For example, if you lost out on opportunities for progression or were demoted to a lower-paid position.

3. Know Your Rights:

It’s important to be fully aware of your rights surrounding pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Legally, you are protected against pregnancy discrimination from as soon as your employer is informed that you are pregnant, however, you are not legally required to tell your employer about the pregnancy until fifteen weeks before your baby is due to be born. Once your employer has been informed, you are protected against unfair dismissal, unfair treatment, redundancy, and discrimination on pregnancy grounds.

4. Pregnancy or Performance?

If you are dismissed from work during pregnancy, most employers will not admit that it is because you are pregnant. However, bear in mind that there will be circumstances where a dismissal during pregnancy is for fair reasons, for example, gross misconduct is not protected against whilst pregnant. Except for in the most serious cases, your employer will need to warn you beforehand if you are about to be dismissed. It is unfair for your employer to dismiss you for pregnancy-related reasons, such as absence due to morning sickness or the need to make adjustments to accommodate you.

Your employer should not treat you unfairly because you are pregnant – if this is the case, get legal advice today!

 

 

Collaborative Post

5 Reasons why Everyone Needs an Emergency Fund

5 reasons why everyone needs an emergency fund. Money savings

If you find yourself struggling every time you encounter a financial hurdle in your life, then it might be time to start considering the benefits of an emergency fund. An emergency fund can help to make sure that you’re capable of paying your bills, and shelling out cash for any unexpected expenses when problems naturally arise.

Without an emergency fund, you could open yourself up to countless potential problems including debt and discomfort. Here, we’ll look at just some of the reasons why everyone could benefit from having an emergency safety blanket in place.

Life is Unpredictable

The first, and most important reason why everyone needs an emergency fund is that no matter how good you are at budgeting, the truth is that we can’t prepare for everything. When you first begin to budget, you may find that you’re leaving out some of the essential expenses that you need to plan for, and an emergency fund can make sure that you’re ready to tackle those problems when they come up.

Just remember, as unplanned expenses do begin to emerge, you can write them down and adjust your budget accordingly to ensure that you won’t forget about them in the future. That doesn’t mean that you won’t need an emergency fund anymore, but it should ensure that you tap into it less frequently.

An Income Only Goes So Far

If you’re living alone, then the chances are you only have one source of income to rely on. Unfortunately, since you can’t turn to someone else for help when something goes wrong, you’ll find that you need even more help to ensure that you can fight back against potential problems that could arise.

Ideally, if you’re the sole income provider in your family, you’ll need to work on having at least a year’s worth of funds saved up. You can then build a larger emergency fund later if necessary. Remember, if you’re just starting a family, you might need to increase your emergency fund to take children into account.

Owning a Home is a Huge Commitment

If you own your own home, you’ll find that your need for an emergency fund is even more significant, as it’s up to you to pay for all the upkeep expenses and repairs that are necessary to keep your home in a livable condition.

As a homeowner, your emergency fund will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have something to turn to if things go wrong and you need a little extra help. Remember, home repairs can be very expensive, as is something like replacing a boiler. The more you can save back to protect your home, the more you can rest assured that you will always have a comfortable place to live – no matter what hurdles might come your way.

You Need to Prepare for Major Issues

This follows on from the “life is unpredictable” comment. Even if nothing ever goes wrong with your home, and you keep hold of the same job for a number of years, you could still face major issues if you’re facing a serious medical problem or dental concern. Health issues aren’t only expensive, they can also mean that you end up having to take days, weeks, or even months away from work.

Whether you’re the sole provider for income in your household or not, a long time away from work is sure to have a negative impact on your quality of life. An emergency fund can help to soften the blow when you should be focusing on getting better.

Emergency Funds Help You Reach Your Goals

Finally, if you’re focusing on reaching an important financial goal, like starting your own business, or owning a property, your emergency fund will help to prevent you from dipping into your other savings when things go wrong. This should mean that you’re less likely to move backward on your goals instead of forwards.

Although your progress might slow down a little as you’ll need to replace your emergency funds too, you’ll be able to keep your savings untouched, so you don’t have to worry about losing track.

Though personal loans are available when you’re struggling to make ends meet, and you don’t have an emergency fund in place to help you overcome life’s little challenges, it’s often much better to budget some money aside for a rainy-day fund in case things go wrong. Borrowing options do exist, but they’ll only take you so far and can be very expensive to pay back.

 

 

*Collaborative Post
Photo by Philip Veater on Unsplash

The Crown, Foundation and Singing! #LittleLoves

I haven’t made the Little Loves linky over at Coffee Work Sleep the past few weeks, which is annoying as I made a pact with myself to join in every week! Oh well, life gets in the way sometimes and I seem to be juggling a lot of balls right now so I’m trying to not give myself too hard a time.

So what’s been happening these past few weeks… Well my Twins’ school had a major gas issue which meant they had to close for a day and a half one week. Luckily for me my work place is local and flexible so I could leave early to pick up the boys, even though we were only given an hour’s notice! I do wonder about parents who work further away or don’t have such understanding bosses! The following day was also my day off so it worked out fine for us and I loved spending an unexpected day at home with my boys!

Last week I was so ill with the flu. I was off work all week apart from Friday and spent it mostly in bed shivering or on the sofa. I felt very sorry for myself indeed. Back at work fully this week and it’s been nice to get properly dressed up and to feel human again!

Here’s my list of Little Loves this week…..

Read

I am always reading but normally it’s in bits on my phone and in a hurry! I’m constantly clicking through links on Twitter to read articles of interest… at the moment it’s usually business related content. I enjoy reading anything about start ups, entrepreneurs and marketing.

Another Twitter account I love right now is Blinkist. I could happily click through on every link they have on their account and their website magazine is good too! Blinkist is an App that summarises all the best nonfiction books, in a quick and easy to read format. Absolutely perfect for those that never have any time…. like most of us! I don’t have the App myself, I’m more than happy with reading the snippets it provides on Twitter!

I’m also a sucker for the celebrity gossipy news stories on SnapChat… spend way more time than I really should reading those!

blinkist

Watched

Being ill does have one perk… being able to watch loads of telly! I started, at long last, watching The Crown on Netflix! Yes I know I’m incredibly late to the party on this. I did start watching a while ago but the first one or two episodes I found difficult to get into. I wanted to give it another chance and I’m so glad I did! I’m way in now on episode seven and loving it!

the crown

Heard

I heard my boys practicing their lines for their school assembly and then heard them say them when I watched it ! They had a couple of lines each and it fills my heart with pure joy to see them saying their lines with confidence… a little quiet yes but up until last year they would hide in sharing assemblies they hated it so much, and they would NEVER have said a single word because of their shyness. I’m so proud of them.

Wore

Not much to report here! Wearing the same old stuff… could do with a shopping spree but I don’t really want to buy more Winter clothes and it’s too cold for Spring clothes just yet. Will wait another month then treat myself I think!

I’ve been wearing my new Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation recently. I’m not a massive fan of foundation and tend to just wear concealer but sometimes when I feel particularly pasty and my skin isn’t great, especially in the Winter, this foundation is amazing! It IS thick so you only need a small amount, which I apply with a brush, but it boasts the best coverage on the market and I would absolutely agree. I love it. It’s on the pricey side but in store they colour match it to your skin and it lasts ages. Think I might go for the lighter version next time to try!

estee lauder double wear

Made

I absolutely love singing, I was trained as a child and can often be heard singing very loud at home! I believe this to be totally normal but when my kids friends are round I sometimes forget myself and burst into song! The look on their faces is priceless… it’s like they think I’m completely bonkers! Either that  or I sound truly terrible haha! Anyway, now the kids are older I’ve decided to brush up on my (limited) skills and I’ve joined a singing class… just for fun. I’m naturally a shy person so this week when the first lesson was due, I wanted to pull out. I was nervous and didn’t want to go. But I made myself, and I’m so pleased I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

And lastly….

Half term at last woohoo! Been counting down the days since the kids went back to school after Christmas! Really looking forward to spending a week with my babies, staying cosy at home some days and having fun adventures on the rest!

Hope you have a great week!

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

Win Tickets to The Baby Show

the baby show 2018

This March get ready to enjoy a fantastic shopping experience at the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event of the year.

The Baby Show, with MadeForMums, will be taking place from Friday 2nd until Sunday 4th March at the ExCeL London.

Find everything you need for bump, baby and you – with amazing offers, for three days only! The Show features over 200 exhibitors offering an unrivalled choice of top baby brands and products – including the UK’s widest range of buggies, pushchairs and car seats – all under one roof. There will also be innovative product launches and boutique, not-on-the-high-street brands.

Take advantage of one-to-one specialist advice, hundreds of discounts, plus the opportunity to try before you buy. It really is a must-attend event for those shopping for their new arrival – especially for first time parents! For those shopping for one of their biggest baby purchases – the trusty buggy, there’ll be some harder to find brands like Mutsy and Dubatti. Don’t forget to give them a test drive on the popular MadeForMums Buggy Testing Track so you can see what they feel like on different surfaces!

Get hands-on with each product and meet product experts from top brands where you can ask questions on how a product works so you can really check that it’s right for you and your family’s lifestyle. The show will have an enormous amount of exclusive show discounts, competitions and freebies to ensure you have your baby essentials shopping list all ticked off in no time!

the baby show 2018 excel london

Again there will be a wonderful line up of speakers on The Baby Show Stage including experts from the world of breastfeeding, sleep and nutrition. Infant researcher and founder of the Your Baby Can Learn series, Dr Bob Titzer, author and baby food expert, Annabel Karmel, breastfeeding expert, Vanessa Christie and sleeps specialists, Lucy Shrimpton and Chireal Shallow, along with a number of other top experts will be sharing their parenting know-how to make each visitor’s journey into parenthood just that bit easier!

If you are looking for more personal and tailored advice, you can benefit from private 15 minute appointments with The Baby Show Experts at the One To One With The Experts Area – you just need to book your appointment on the day.

Once you’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, don’t worry about all the carrying as you can take advantage of the free Emma’s Diary Collect-By-Car service where you can drop off all your purchases and continue until you’ve got a car full!

The Show will be joining forces with the NCT again to raise awareness of the help they provide to new and expectant parents. The NCT has become a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of parents over the past 60 years. They will have practitioners on hand throughout the show to offer information and raise awareness of the fantastic courses on offer and visitors can try out short taster sessions at the show!

It really is a must-attend event for those shopping for their new arrival – especially for first time parents!

We’ve teamed up with The Baby Show to give away two pairs of tickets, to two lucky winners, worth £40 each pair!

The Baby Show at London ExCeL is open from Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th March from 9:30am until 5.30pm each day. Standard on the door tickets are £20 and children under 14 go free! For more information please visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk.

To enter please follow the instructions on the Gleam widget below…

Good luck!

Mummy Endeavours – Win 2 pairs of tickets to The Baby Show

I’m a Merlin Annual Pass Ambassador for 2018!

Finding out that I’d been chosen to be a Merlin Annual Pass Ambassador for 2018 will probably be THE best news I hear regarding my blog this year!

Merlin annual pass ambassador

Excited just wasn’t the word! Being an Ambassador for Merlin Entertainment means I’ll be able to take my family… my four wonderful children, to ANY of the Merlin attractions ALL year with our complimentary Premium Annual Passes… then come back here and share all our adventures with you!

What an amazing opportunity and SUCH an honour!

Right now there is a massive Sale on for The Merlin Annual Passes which ends on 12th February! Owning one gives you 52 weeks of family fun to enjoy from only £109 per person!

A  Merlin Annual Pass opens the door to 32 magical worlds across the UK, so wherever you live, you’re guaranteed to have the ultimate passport to fun!

Merlin Entertainments own some of the UK’s biggest and best attractions, including some of our favourites that I’ve written about before, like to fabulous Thorpe Park, who’ve I’ve been an Ambassador for for the last couple of years!  It boasts some of the best rollercoasters all in one place in my opinion and is brilliant for older kids and adults looking for those extreme thrills! It also has the best Halloween event in Fright Nights…. a must visit for me and Teen every year!

stealth thorpe park roller coasters

Blackpool Tower is another favourite after we visited in 2016! Definitely going to go back this year… from the amazing view from the top of the Tower, to Afternoon Tea in the famous Ballroom, it has so many venues within a venue! I want to include Sea Life this year when we go as we ran out of time last time!

blackpool tower

In Spring last year we visited Sea Life London and Shrek’s Adventure. Sea Life I hadn’t visited for years and we’d been invited to check out their new Jellyfish exhibition which was amazing! We hadn’t been to Shrek before as it’s a relatively new attraction so it was great to experience that! It’s completely interactive and lots of fun! If you’re a Shrek fan you’ll LOVE it…. be prepared to get involved! 😉

Sealife london ocean invaders jellyfish

LegoLand is top of our hit list this year! It isn’t too far from us, yet we haven’t been anywhere near enough times. No reason really apart from maybe fact that my Twins haven’t been too keen on rides and theme parks until the last year or so. We visited last Summer for the first time with them and they loved it! I used to go all the time when Teen was younger and I couldn’t believe how much it’s grown in size since then! There’s so much to pack into a visit that we’re so happy we’ll be able to go lots this year!

legoland

That’s the beauty of the Annual Pass! Even if you don’t manage to get one in the sale, they are still so worth having! It means you can leisurely stroll around one of the attractions, taking your time and not rushing around trying to cram everything in, knowing you can always go back whenever you want with your Pass.

The Annual Pass gives you access to special benefits and discounts too and the Premium Pass even offers you discounted rates on the resort Hotels with their Holiday Club!

A couple of Merlin Attractions we haven’t got around to visiting before but always say we will, are Warwick CastleThe London Eye (can you believe that?!) and The London Dungeons. Definitely going to be visiting these this year and hopefully book some overnight stays too!

We stayed at Chessington World of Adventures a few years ago and the attention to details in the rooms is totally unreal! My children absolutely loved it! There’s a new addition at Chessington this year in the shape on Tiger Rock which opens on the 5th May… an exhilarating log flume ride, featuring a new innovative big cat enclosure with Europe’s first overhead trails!

tiger rock chessington new 2018

If you want to purchase your Merlin Annual Pass for 2018 in the sale, you’ve got until the 12th February to grab that bargain! Don’t miss out! But don’t worry if you miss it, they’re available to buy all year round at any of the Merlin attractions or online.

Visit the Merlin Annual Pass Website now!

*Disclosure I have been gifted Annual Passes this year to visit some Merlin attractions and share my experiences. I have not been paid to write this post. All words and opinions my own and honest.
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