Making Mothers Day Special With The Perfect Photo

Mother’s Day is just two weeks away and I see that as a good chance to make a bit of a fuss of my mum.  My mum is an amazing woman and bought me up on her own and I can’t say that I made that a particularly easy experience.  Many years on, we have a great relationship now and now that I am a mum myself, I can fully  appreciate the ups and downs that parenting brings to any mum.  For all the ups, it can be hard work and so Mother’s Day is the perfect time to make a bit of a fuss, show them how much you care and to say thank you.

For me, Mother’s Day isn’t about expensive presents and I always tell my husband that I much prefer cards and presents that are handmade by the children, it makes them so much more special and I treasure them all.  If he does want to buy a present, I love personalised presents.  With this in mind, each year, he has done a photo or a set of photos in frames as part of my Mother’s Day treats which is such a thoughtful idea and I have a wonderful collection right from baby photos to more recent ones.

This year for my mum I wanted to do a photo of my four children.  The teen has headed off to New Zealand for six months and I have been trying to catch the perfect photo for the last few weeks.  It sounds like an easy task but it is not.  Trying to get three wriggly children and one surly teen into a nice pose, where they are all looking in the same direction and vaguely smiling is nearly impossible and I was starting to lose hope.  Then a couple of weeks ago I managed to capture this photo;

four children

I was so pleased and knew that this would make the perfect present for my mum for Mother’s Day.  The lovely thing with photos nowadays is that there are so many different things that you can do with them and I turned to Truprint for some gift inspiration.  One of my favourite ways to display photos is acrylic panels or blocks.  I have a couple of my own and they are a nice, clean way of displaying your favourite photos.  So an acrylic panel was top of the list.

acrylic panel

I am a big believer that a girl can never have enough notebooks and I get that from my mum as she too has a stationery obsession.  Truprint also make photo notebooks and I couldn’t resist.  I chose a few different photos from the last few months and made a collage cover.  It looks fantastic and it will take all of my will power to give it away.  I finished my Mother’s Day shop with a card made from the large selection of templates available and a keyring with my favourite photo again.

Mother's Day Photo Gifts

Mother's Day Photocard

I am certain that my mum will love her Mother’s Day gifts and card, I am thrilled with them.

This year Truprint want to celebrate Mother’s Day by telling every mum that she is a Mum in a Million.  They would like to make a million mums smile by giving away 1 million personalised Mother’s Day cards. There are some great designs to choose from and Stressy Mummy readers can use the code MUMINAMILLION at checkout to claim their card.

Terms and Conditions for Mum in a Million promotion;

  • Awards one free 7×5 folded card
  • Standard P&P charges apply (99p)
  • Ship to recipient not available
  • Complete with envelope
  • Code is One time use only
  • Strictly one code use per household.

So what are you waiting for, go and show your mum she is one in a million.

This post was written in association with Truprint.  

 

 

 

The Problem with Girl Hair

I am a failure.

Most of the many and varied issues that are thrown in my direction on this journey we call parenting, I tackle with gritted teeth, determination, (sometimes fake) enthusiasm and a smile but one thing has completely floored me; girl hair.

Boy’s hair is so simple. If they have it short, you really don’t have to do much with it at all. If it grows a bit longer, you may have to tackle it with a brush every now and then and maybe a teach them the subtle art of hair styling products, but that is all so much easier than girl hair. Boy hair is easier to wash. Boy hair is easier to deal with at the hairdresser. Girl hair is to be quite honest; my downfall.

When A was born, I quickly got into the whole ‘girl thing’ pretty quickly and it was ace; pink, pink and more pink. As her hair started to grow, I had this nagging doubt in the back of my mind, but I shoved it to one side. She would have short hair.

As soon as her hair was long enough to cut, we had a short bob and that was a doddle. Wash, brush and go. No problem. As she became more aware of the heady world of clothes and accessories, she started asking for hairbands. I secretly did a little dance of joy; no styling, no faffing, just put it in and off you go. I rejoiced in hairbands and they were  going to be my cunning way of hiding my inadequacy.

Apart from a few unfortunate disasters where she unfathomably tangled her hair around the hairband or the hairband took on a life of its own during the day, it was all good. We created a hair band collection to rival the hair section in Boots and we were all happy.

I should have known it wouldn’t last.

Then school happened. All of the girls in her class have long hair. Some of them have such beautifully styled hair with intricate plaits and all sorts, I am sure that their mothers must get up at 4 am every morning to do it for them.  They tell me that YouTube is the answer and there are numerous videos that give you step by step directions to create the perfect look.  A even told me to watch videos on YouTube to find ways of doing her hair.

One morning, inspired by one particularly beautiful swirling plait that passed me on the playground, I took a deep breath and searched YouTube.  I have to agree that hair tutorials are in plentiful supply and I did watch a few.  Some made me laugh such as the dad who uses a hoover to get his daughter’s hair into the perfect ballet bun (I kid you not) and many made me weep as I knew that there was little or no chance of me ever recreating such perfection.

Plaits are big at the moment with A, I assume it is part of the Frozen effect as the female characters all have sweeping plaits.  A’s hair is now shoulder length and we have mastered the art of the (fairly neat) pony tail which in itself took some serious doing.  We watched a tutorial for fishtail plaits and managed to do that fairly successfully.  We have experimented with pigtails, two plaits but that of course is not enough.

Apart from my general lack of ability in this field, A has very fine hair and that makes it difficult to work with.  I should know as I have had to live with the same hair now for many years.  I have been through many years of hair frustration.

As a teenager I would spend hours having my hair permed to give it some life only for the curls to drop out after a week.  It is straighter than straight and one of my funniest presents was from my husband in the early years, when he had sought advice about what to buy me and someone had suggested hair straighteners.  Yes, the perfect present for a woman with straight hair, don’t you think?

I have accepted my hair for what it is.  I don’t do a huge amount with it and these days due to lack of time and energy, I usually scrape it into a plait or pony tail and that is fine by me; no faffing, not styling, no blow-drying.  I wash, comb and go.  Easy.

This does still leave me with the dilemma of my daughter who is usually tells me about two minutes before were are due to leave the house in a morning that she wants something done with her hair.  She is very patient as I try and fail to make it look neat and then have to start all over again.  Where am I going wrong?  Maybe I should try convincing her that short hair is great on girls?  Any advice on this topic would be gratefully received.

The problem with girl hair

Tree of Life Chain Bracelet from Merci Maman Review and Giveaway

The arrival of small orange boxes tied up with white ribbon from Merci Maman are the source of huge excitement for me.  I was lucky enough to do a review of the Duchess Necklace last year and I wear my necklace regularly and often get asked about it as it really is a beautiful piece of jewellery.

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about my eldest son’s imminent trip to New Zealand for six months and I wanted a small gift for him to take away with him and I found myself turning to Merci Maman for inspiration and ordered him a Men’s Personalised Stirling Silver Identity Bracelet as it is something that I know he would wear and it was perfect.

Men's Identity Bracelet Merci Maman

With Mother’s Day only a few weeks away, Merci Maman is the prefect place to find a unique gift that any mum would absolutely love.  The company name; Merci Maman, translates as ‘thank you mummy’ and started out as a celebration of the unique bond between mother and child.  There is a wonderful range of jewellery; necklaces, bracelets, cufflinks and keyring, all in beautiful designs and each item can be hand-engraved with a special message using elegant French cursive handwriting in keeping with their French roots.

Merci Maman Tree of Life Collection

The Tree of Life Collection is a beautiful range of jewellery and you can choose from necklaces, chain bracelets, brooches or keyrings in either sterling silver of gold plating.  The diameter of the disc is 1 inch and very delicate. Around the edge of the disc, you can have a special message of up to 50 characters engraved on the front and for an additional charge you can also have a message engraved on the back.

Merci Maman Tree of Life Chain Bracelet

I chose the Tree of Life Chain Bracelet in Sterling Silver and it is absolutely beautiful.  Very dainty and well-made, it is a pleasure to wear.  For the message, I chose to use the names of my four children and the engraving is superb.

My Merci Maman Tree of Life Bracelet

It is a gorgeous bracelet and I love the personalisation as it makes it unique and special.  This and any other items from the Tree of Life Collection would make the perfect gift for Mother’s Day and I know that I would be thrilled to receive a gift from the Merci Maman gifts for mothers range.

Tree of Life Bracelet

I am excited to be giving one lucky reader the chance to win their own Tree of Life chain bracelet which they can have personalised with a message of their choice and it should be delivered in time for Mother’s Day too (winner will need to email details through before 12th March).  It is a wonderful prize and to be in with a chance please fill in the rafflecopter form below.  Please read the instructions carefully as any incomplete entries will be removed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Merci Maman Tree of Life Bracelet

I was sent the Tree of Life Chain Bracelet for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own.  

Beados Glitter Quick Dry Design Studio

“Glitter beads!” was the excited cry from my daughter when we opened that Beados Quick Dry Design Station parcel.

Beads Quick-Dry Design Station Beads are very popular in this house and so is glitter, so the Beados Glitter Quick Dry Design Studio was off to an excellent start before we had even got it out of the box.

Beads Quick-Dry Design Station

Our first experience with Beados was interesting.  A was only 3 and this is one of those activities where you really need to do it with the suggested age of 4+.  We ended up with beads everywhere and then she covered them all with water and they all stuck together in a big lump.

Now she is five and a little bit more sensible, I knew that this would appeal to her as she enjoys making things (especially if there are beads or glitter involved!)

Beads Quick-Dry Design Station Contents

The Beados Quick Dry Design Station is incredibly easy to set up.  It comes with 500 beads, 1 tweezer pen, 2 bead trays, 1 water sprayer, 6 design templates, 2 suction cups, 1 display stand, 1 connector bead, 1 bead storage tray, 3 bag tags and threads, instructions and the quick-dry station.  The quick dry station is easy to set up; unscrew the battery compartment and put in 2 AA batteries (not supplied), clip the two pieces together and the fan is ready to go.  There is a button at the top to switch the fan on and off.  It takes a few minutes to take the beads out of their bags and put them into the tray and then you are ready to start creating.

Starting a Beados masterpiece

Creating the Beados masterpieces is very straightforward.  There are six designs to choose from and you slot your chosen design template underneath a bead tray and you match the bead colour to the design.  A picked the biggest design to start off with and then opted for the parrot which is smaller and simpler to do.  Once you have completed your design, you hold the water sprayer 10 cm above it and spray 5-6 times so that all of the beads are evenly covered.  This part does need supervision with younger children as too much water makes the beads very sticky and they take longer to dry.

Using the Beados Quick Dry StationTo finish off, your design has a bit of a blow dry.  The bead trays slot under the quick dry station and you turn it on for about 10 – 15 minutes and your design is then ready to be taken off.  It is worth checking very gently that the beads have stuck together before you take it off completely, just in case a few beads need another squirt of water and if you want to make your design more sturdy, you can spray the reverse and leave to dry.

Completed Beados Designs

You can then decide if you want to turn your design into a bag tag by attaching it to one of the three bag tags and threads, or you can simply display it using the display stand or the suction cups.

We loved using this set and A is thrilled with her first two creations that are on display in her bedroom.  The RRP for this set is £19.99 and I think that is good value for the amount of fun that you can have with it.  The quick dry station is easy to use and does make the creations dry quickly which is perfect if like me, you have impatient children.  You can also buy Beados refill packs so that you can make endless creations and even try making some of your own designs.

We were sent the Beados Quick Dry Design Station for the purpose of this review.  All options and images are our own.  

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Hello

Nikki Thomas

Nikki Thomas

Mother, wife, writer, teacher but not always in that order

I'm Nikki, a former French teacher who is a blogger and freelance writer with a sprinkling of social media on top. I blog pretty much about whatever comes into my head and is a mix of family life, parenting teens tweens and toddlers and general things that I find interesting. My life is full of children, blogging, cooking and learning to be a better photographer and one day I will definitely write that book.

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