You Are Growing Up Too Quickly, My Son

Many people recently have said how quickly Jack is growing up, how much bigger he looks since they last saw him – and I am inclined to agree.

Maybe it is since I have had Olivia that I have noticed how much more mature he seems and how much he is becoming his own person, maybe it was slightly before then but the fact remains that he has certainly developed into his own unique personality, his own unique style. From speaking with his teachers at this recent Parent’s Evening, I was informed that he had definitely become more confident – although still much more confident with his peers than teachers and other adults.

This is clear to see in the way he acts at home – the things he does, the way he speaks, how he dresses. He is reluctant to allow us to pick out clothes for him – unless he is being very lazy, of course – and he likes to sort out what he is wearing in the morning. The only clothes he allows me to sort for him are his school uniform and his football clothes for his after school football club.

He knows what he wants to put together and how he wants them to go and has started showing an interest in buying clothes when out in town. He often likes to visit Pep & Co and Primark in town and has recently started wanting to visit River Island for their boy’s range as they have such ‘cool’ clothes. He has told me that he is hoping for some clothes from there for his birthday and/or Christmas – I think I’ve got a little trendsetter on my hands. He has also been passed down some great quality Next, M&S and GAP stuff from one of our friends – some still with the tags on – he went through and picked out the things he liked most.

He simply is growing up too fast and it is so important to treasure these days. He is more confident, he is reading slightly above the level expected of his age and he is right on the level for Maths too. He is a very intelligent little boy and he is growing up into a wonderful young man – I just wish these days would slow down.

I’m treasuring these days as they come but it sure does make me sad how quickly they pass us by – if only I had Bernard’s Watch, then I could stop time for as long as I wanted!

Contains a collaborative link

How effective has Stoptober been?

The sixth edition of Stoptober is upon us. Running throughout October, the 28-day event was set up by Public Health England to encourage people to stop smoking from the start of October.

To find out how successful Stoptober has been over the years, Nicotinell, manufacturers of a variety of stop smoking products, has examined the following research:

How Stoptober is helping people to begin their quit

Search volume and Google Trends data around relevant keywords linked to the Stoptober campaign provides plenty of insight into how popular this Public Health England initiative has become.

For example, the average monthly search volume for the term ‘Stoptober’ in the UK was 18,100 between August 2013 and July 2017. However, spikes for this keyword were recorded in September and October of each year analysed; the highest of which was with 266,570 searches in September 2014, followed by 87,410 searches in October 2014.

UK Google Trends data follows a similar pattern. Where 100 refers to peak popularity, interest in Stoptober over time has seen interest peaking at 100 for the week of September 29th to October 5th 2013 when analysing the last five years of search data. There was also a score of 80 recorded in the week of September 28th to October 4th 2014— the highest score across the whole of 2014—and a score of 67 in the week of September 27th to October 3rd 2015, which was the highest score achieved for the entirety of 2015.

Of course, it is to be expected that Stoptober would achieve spikes in search volume around September and October due to the timing of the annual campaign. However, what effect does the initiative have on related keywords?

Stop smoking

The average search volume for the keyword ‘stop smoking’ in the UK was 14,800 searches for the period covering August 2013 to July 2017. However, the following are spikes which have been seen for this keyword over the past few years:

  • There were 60,320 searches in September 2013.
  • 57,630 searches in October 2013.
  • 49,100 searches in September 2014.
  • 51,670 searches in October 2014.
  • 53,470 searches in September 2015.
  • 53,160 searches in October 2015.
  • 46,210 searches in September 2016.
  • 47,770 searches in October 2016.

In fact, apart from 2016, September and October has been among the top three months for the highest search volume for the keyword ‘stop smoking’ since 2013 — only the month of January achieves higher search volume, when New Year’s resolutions take precedence.

Nicotine gum

The average search volume for the keyword ‘nicotine gum’ in the UK was 1,000 searches for the period covering August 2013 to July 2017. However, the following are among the spikes which have been seen for this keyword over the past few years:

  • There were 3,820 searches in October 2013 — a higher search volume than any month from August 2013 to and including December 2013.
  • 4,010 searches in September 2014 — the third highest search volume of the year, behind October 2014 and January 2014.
  • 4,280 searches in October 2014.


The average search volume for the brand name ‘Nicotinell’ in the UK was 720 searches for the period covering August 2013 to July 2017. However, the following are among the spikes which have been seen for this keyword over the past few years:

  • There were 1,460 searches in November 2013 — a higher search volume than for any month from August 2013 to and including December 2013. For this statistic, it is worth bearing in mind that while Stoptober is a campaign helping to get people to stop smoking for a 28-day period in October, those who take part in the campaign and aim to continue their efforts past this initiative are sure to find nicotine replacement products a great help.
  • 1,690 searches in November 2014 — the third highest search volume of the year, behind January 2014 and August 2014.

How Stoptober is helping people to achieve their quit

A press release by Public Health England, which was sent out ahead of the 2016 Stoptober campaign, contains many interesting statistics around making the UK a smoke-free nation.

For instance, 500,000 of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt in 2015 were successful — this is a success rate of 20 per cent, which is the highest recorded success rate on record. Public Health England was also keen to spotlight Nielsen data which revealed that the number of cigarettes that were sold in England and Wales dropped by 20 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

So, how does Stoptober play a role in the quit smoking journey of so many Brits? The reasoning behind the campaign, which saw more than 215,000 smokers sign up for the 2015 initiative alone, can help to answer this. The idea behind the event is tied in with evidence that smokers are five times more likely to give up smoking for good after they have gone 28 days without a cigarette.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, believes an ‘everyone in it together’ mindset proves beneficial too. He explains: “Stoptober is the perfect opportunity for people to take action to protect their health and join thousands of others who are also making a quit attempt this month.”



Strolling Around With The Britax Holiday Pushchair

Britax Holiday

We were sent this Britax Holiday stroller for the purpose of review due to being a Britax Mumbassador. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

The latest addition to Britax Römer’s pushchair offering, the Britax Holiday is suitable for children from six months – 15kg (three years) and is one of the lightest pushchairs on the market, weighing only 5kg and free standing when folded with a compact length of 60cm and a width of 25.5cm. It can fit easily into the boot of a car or in the overhead compartments of other vehicles. It can be easily folded and unfolded with one quick motion and also has a carry strap for easy transportation.
Britax HolidayThe Britax Holiday includes a hood with sun visor, ventilation mesh on both sides of the seat as well as above the head and a large basket with a five-kilogram weight capacity for travel essentials. It has swivel front wheels and a five-point safety harness which can be easily adjusted to the height of your child in three positions to ensure children travel in both safety and comfort.

Britax HolidayBritax HolidayBritax HolidayBritax HolidayBritax HolidayBritax HolidayThe Britax Holiday is available in six colours: Coral Peach, Steel Grey, Cosmos Black, Aqua Green, Ocean Blue and Flame Red and is available exclusively at Argos from August 2017 and other retailers from January 2018, with an RRP of £120. We were sent a Flame Red model and have been putting it to the test over the past month in a variety of conditions.

Over the past month we have been to events on the common, to the zoo, round theme parks and just general day to day activities. I wanted to see how well it worked on the pavement, the road and off road. Lightweight, pushing it on paths and roads is an absolute dream. There is no problem with pushing it and can even be pushed with one hand if required with no worries of it veering off – it really is fantastic to push.

When it comes to off road, it can be a little difficult sometime if the grass or woodland is a little dense however being as lightweight as it is makes it easier to get back onto a piece of ground that is easier. So what do we think of the pushchair itself overall?

Britax Holiday Britax Holiday Britax HolidayFirstly, as I mentioned before, this pushchair is incredibly easy to push and even Jack can push Olivia round in it with some help. The colour is super bright and we’ve had plenty of compliments about it. The pushchair itself is small and sleek in size and can be transported easily – it fits in the footwell of the rear of the car leaving more space in the boot.

The hood does well to block out the sun. The basket is small – I do usually like a bigger basket but this has ample space for the essentials. The 5 point harness is perfect for keeping baby safely strapped in whilst remaining comfortable.

The school run has been made quicker and easier with the Britax Holiday – its sleek and fast movement lends itself to a fast walking pace so it is brilliant when I am rushing to get Jack to school or to pick him up. It is also perfect for short trips down the shops. I have a larger pushchair which I am reluctant to use for short journeys as it can be quite big and bulky so this makes for the perfect transport for such an occasion.

We’ve used this in many different places in the past month and I must say I am very impressed – easy to store, easy to carry, easy to push, sleek and comfortable for my child, what more could I want? Plus it comes in such lovely colours!

With an RRP of £120, I would definitely recommend picking one of these up if looking for something lightweight compared to the more bulkier models on the market. It is serving me and my family well.

My Dream Winter Home

Collaborative Post

How many times have you daydreamed about being holed up in a lodge somewhere cold during the winter months with a roaring fire, snuggled up under a blanket and reading a book? I know I have – it’s my idea of bliss. Steve and I have often discussed moving somewhere such as North Canada which is quite cold but if I wanted a proper winter home, I think I would love to live in the French Alps. Sure, there’s some other fantastic wintery places I could go to such as Switzerland or Greenland but something about the French Alps just screams fun and luxury to me.

Think about it. You’re holed up in a lodge at night with your whole family, a roaring fire, bowls of hot steaming soup, covered in a warm fluffy blanket and just spending time together? During the day, you can ski and snowboard to your hearts content. What could be better? If you are looking for a perfect winter home, doesn’t this sound like it?

Imagine going to sleep in some comfy bedding from Julian Charles, curling up on the sofa together under a soft fluffy throw or sitting at the table scoffing down bowls of warm vegetable soup. I am trying to make the most of my time with my children hence why I work from home – it means I can still have time to do things like take Jack to school and pick him up or take Olivia to groups. The reason I would love to have our very own winter home is for much the same reasons – spending time with my family. Children grow up so quickly and a winter home in the French Alps would be a great experience for all of us and a great way to spend time together.

Of course this is all just a pipe dream right now but it is definitely something to work towards. We all have those hopes and dreams of where we want to live, whether that be as a permanent home or a holiday home. As long as I had a warm fire, lots of filling food, some cosy bedding, blankets and throws and some scented candles around the place, anywhere could be home to me – as long as I also had my family. Maybe one day I will have my very own winter lodge in the French Alps to go and hole myself up in with a good book – I can keep on hoping, can’t I?

Where would you have your winter home if you could?

My First Scalextric | Review

My First Scalextric

We were sent a My First Scalextric for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Jack is very into toys and cars at the moment so when we were offered the chance to review a My First Scalextric, I was sure Jack would love it. Priced at £39.99, the set is the ideal start for young drivers.

My First Scalextric

The set is for ages 3+ and has an easy to assemble figure of eight track. It comes with two rally cars (red and yellow) and adjustable power hand controllers colour coded to match the circuit chevrons. Magnatraction technology helps keep the cars on the track and speed can be adjusted according to skill level.

My First Scalextric

The set is fully compatible with the Micro Scalextric range of sets and cars so you can extend your track and add new cars if you like. So what does the My First Scalextric claim to help with? Hand/eye coordination, manual dexterity, risk-reward thinking and even motor skill development. Now Jack’s hand/eye coordination isn’t great so anything that claims to help him with this has a thumbs up from me.

So what did we think?

My First Scalextric

Jack loved it. He spent ages just speeding the cars around the track and it kept Olivia mesmerised too. He adjusted the speed level depending on how he was feeling. He loved it because the concept is so simple – racing some cars around the track. He could play by himself, in control of both cars. He could play with me or Daddy – even Olivia tried to have a go. He really enjoyed it and really wants to get some of the Micro Scalextric range so he can get some more cars and extend his track.

My First Scalextric

Personally I loved it too. You don’t need lots of fancy things in a toy to keep children occupied – sometimes the most simplest of concepts are the best. We had lots of laughs playing together; seeing who could beat each other and occasionally knocking each other off the track when we hadn’t attached our cars properly. I love that Jack could play for hours without getting bored and that Olivia was interested too – what more do you want from a toy than the whole family being able to have fun playing with it? We were very impressed.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Open to UK participants only of 18 years and over
  • Ends 30th October 2017 at 23.59pm
  • 1 (one) winner will receive 1 (one) My First Scalextric
  • The prize will be delivered to the winner upon receipt of their email contact details
  • The Editor’s decision is final and binding on the entrants. No correspondence will be entered into
  • There is no cash alternative to Prizes which are subject to availability, non-transferable, non-negotiable and non-refundable. Prizes may not be sold, offered for sale or used in connection with any other competition or promotion by the Prize winner