Living Arrows 22/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” Kahlil Gibran.

Every Monday for the rest of this year I will share with you two photo’s of my children that celebrate their childhood.

This week more than ever I’ve been grateful for my beautiful children. I have held them a little closer and paused a little longer when checking on them before I go to bed. With all the stresses and strains of parenting it’s easy to forget how very lucky we truly are.


Here’s Daisy looking happy and a little dishevelled. Her whole class was invited a Birthday party at a local soft play centre. I was actually dreading spending 2 hours of my Saturday there, but it was fantastic. The centre was huge, light and airy. Daisy had a fantastic time running, jumping and climbing. She has 2 weeks off school now and I can’t wait to spend lots of time with her.


The same soft play centre had this awesome Wow Toys play area. Jake was in his absolute element. He loves anything to do with construction and vehicles. Jake also had a visit to nursery this week. He absolutely loved it and didn’t even look back when I left. I must admit I did feel somewhat redundant and the house was so quiet when I got home. He starts in June after the half term and he can’t wait.

Living Arrows

My First Baby Annabell Bathing Doll Review & Giveaway

It will come as no surprise when I tell you that Daisy loves dolls. So when a My First Baby Annabell Bathing Doll arrived for her to review she was over the moon. She couldn’t wait to open the box and put her new dolly in the bath.

As well as being sent a doll for review we have kindly been offered another to give away to one of our lovely readers. You can enter using the gleam app after reading our review.

The My First Baby Annabell doll is now fully bathable and she comes with her own sweet little bath. She has a quick-drying body and an adorable little romper suit and hat to wear.

Daisy decided to take the dolls bathing suit off while I ran a nice warm bubble bath. Once Baby Annabell was undressed and the bath was full she was ready to play.  She loved washing Baby Annabell in the bubbles.

Daisy spent almost an hour washing and re-washing her dolly, talking to her gently and wiping the bubbles from her eyes. Jake wanted to join in too so they took it in turns. I think this doll is perfect for boys or girls, they both really enjoyed bathing Baby Annabell.

Once Daisy’s hands were suitably wrinkled it was time to empty the bath. I left Daisy to dry Baby Annabell up with a towel. Once she was dry on the outside we left her to air dry for a little while and I was surprised at how quickly the doll dried. When Daisy has taken other dolls in the bath it’s taken days for them to dry.

Daisy has bathed her dolly lots of times since having lots of fun each time. She can easily dress Baby Annabell herself although younger children may need some help. I think this doll would make a wonderful gift.

The My First Baby Annabell Bathing Doll is suitable for ages 12 months plus and retails at around £23.99.

If you have enjoyed our review and would like to win one for yourself then be sure to enter the giveaway below.

Terms & Conditions

  • Open to UK entries only.
  • The Closing date is 21.06.2017.
  • The prize is a My First Baby Annabell Bathing Doll.
  • The winner will be selected at random from all valid entries and contacted by email.
  • The winner has 28 days to respond failure to do so will result in a new winner being selected.
  • There is one mandatory method of entry all other methods are optional.

Win a My First Baby Annabell Bathing Doll

Disclaimer: We received the Baby Annabell Bathing Doll free of charge for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.




Word of the Week – Sadness

I had to really think about what my word should be for this week. Should I try to find something good to focus on or just be honest about the way I and many others feel about this week. I don’t imagine there is anybody out there who hasn’t felt sadness this week.

The terrible atrocity that befell Manchester on Monday has dominated my thoughts all week. When something like this happens I try to avoid the news but I couldn’t this time. I read about those who had been witness to the horror and saw the faces of those who were murdered and my tears fell and my heart broke. Thinking about how terrifying it must have been for everyone in that stadium is just unbearable. How can we even begin to make sense when there is just no sense to be made.

I’ve also felt sadness at the conversations I’ve overheard. Some people are full of rage, anger and hate. Although I understand the anger I strongly believe that there is no room for racism. You cannot fight hate with hate.

Manchester is my birthplace, I’m Mancunian and I’m proud to be so. The way people helped one another made my sadness lift a little. From the incredible emergency services staff to the people opening their homes and hearts. They all give me hope that the world is good and that we can overcome the evil that people sometimes do.

Words can never express the sadness, despair and hopelessness we all feel. All we can do is hope for a better future and be as kind and loving as we can possibly be to our fellow humans.

The Reading Residence




Five Frugal Things For May

I can’t believe I haven’t written one these posts since January ! Although I’ve been busy increasing my income I’m still taking the time be as frugal as possible. Here are my five frugal things for May.

  • I have been line drying as much as possible this month. It’s amazing how much electric we save when we don’t use the tumble dryer as much. I’m also checking the clothes that go in the laundry basket to make sure it is actually dirty. If I think we can get one more wear out of it then it doesn’t go in. This is helping to avoid unnecessary wash loads.
  • Instead of spending money on the weekends we have been making the most of the garden and staying home. We have also used the time to sell lots of things we weren’t using. I have a blog post coming soon about all the ways we have made extra money in May.
  • Our television package was due for renewal, we have been on a pretty good deal so far. Chris phoned them more than willing to totally cancel if they couldn’t match our current offer. They went one better and actually reduced the payments further. I know the most frugal thing to do would be to cancel completely but we do make use of it so are willing to pay as long as it stays cheap.
  • I won a £100 shopping voucher last month and used it to stock up. This will save us money from our weekly shopping budget.
  • I’ve started checking Freecycle and Freegle regularly again for anything we might need. I got a brand new packet of printer cartridges for our printer that would have cost us over £20.


Lee Stafford Curl Your Heart Out Cone Wand Review & Giveaway

I’m forever getting in a rut when it comes to styling my hair. I’ve gotten into the habit of scraping it back into a ponytail most days. As a busy mum it just seems easier to shove it up. Sometimes I want to make more of an effort but other than wearing it down and using my straighteners I don’t do much else. I’ve always wanted to learn how to curl it so when I was given the opportunity to review the new Lee Stafford Curl Your Heart Out Cone Wand I was excited.

Even more exciting is that I have one to give away to one of my lovely readers. Read my review then use the gleam app below to enter.


The curl your heart out cone wand has been designed to help you achieve salon quality curls at home. You can use the wand to effortlessly create your desired curl. The cone wand has many features like

  • Graduating tourmaline-ceramic barrel to help create long-lasting defined curls.
  • Ceramic coating for an anti-frizz finish.
  • 13-25 mm barrel to create root volume and drop curl tips.
  • On/Off switch with LED indicator.
  • Heat rest stand.
  • 3 meter swivel power cord.
  • Heats up to 210 degrees.
  • Includes heat protection glove.
  • Worldwide voltage.

I was excited to start using the cone wand. I couldn’t wait to see the results.

Starting with wiping over the barrel with a soft dry cloth as instructed. I brushed my hair to make sure it was tangle free and then began sectioning it. Using the heat protection glove I started with the widest end and began wrapping my hair down the barrel.

I kept my hair in place for around 10 seconds before releasing and repeating with the next section. Initially I was worried about my hair being too thick to get a decent results. I needn’t have worried, I ended up with lovely loose curls and was really happy with the results.

I’m not sure if I would be able to create tighter curls with the cone want purely because of the weight and length of my hair. I’ve tried other styling wands before which have given me really disappointing results so I’m more than impressed with the curls I achieved.

I found the cone wand very easy to use. It’s lightweight to hold and the cord is flexible enough to reach round the whole of my head.

The Lee Stafford Curl Your Heart Out Cone Wand is available to buy priced at £20 from Amazon  and other good electrical retailers.

If would like to create beautiful curls for yourself then be sure to enter my giveaway. Have a quick read of my terms & conditions then enter below using the gleam app.

    • Open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
    • One entry per person and per email address. Multiple entries will be disqualified.
    • The Closing date is 21.06.17 11.59pm.
    • The prize is a Lee Stafford Curl Your Heart Out Cone Wand.
    • The winner will be selected at random from all valid entries and contacted by email.
    • The prize will be supplied directly from the promoter. 

Win a Ceramic Cone Curling Wand #3

Disclaimer: I received the cone wand free of charge for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

*This post contains an affiliate link*

Living Arrows 21/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” Kahlil Gibran.

Every Monday for the rest of this year I will share with you two photo’s of my children that celebrate their childhood.

I’ve been a terrible blogger this week and barely taken any photo’s of the kids at all. I usually like to post separate photo’s of them but this week I only have one of them together.

Daisy & Jake

Drawing, writing and colouring are Daisy’s favourite activities and Jake seems to following suit. The weather has reverted back to being rainy so the kids have had to play indoors. Daisy almost always chooses to do something creative. While Jake prefers to build or play with playdough.

It was so nice to see them getting along, sitting peacefully beside one another. As siblings they do butt heads regularly. It can feel like I’ve spent my whole day refereeing squabbles sometimes.

On this particular day we had the soundtrack to Moana playing in the background. Daisy is singing along to ‘We know the way’. It’s simple little things like this that I want to remember.

It’s too easy to only take photo’s on a day out or at a special event. So I’m going to challenge myself to take at least one photo a day of the kids to capture the ordinary times as well.

Living Arrows


Harlots, Criminals & A Nursery Letter #LittleLoves

I can’t believe it’s already time to share another little loves post with you. Where is this year going at all !

Daisy has one more week of school to go before the half term holidays. She has two weeks off school, the second of which we will be on our holidays. It will be our first family holiday and we are all very excited.

I’ve started thinking about what we should do in the first week that she is off. I’m hoping the sunshine makes a return so we can get outside lots. I also want us to visit the library something we haven’t done for ages.

Anyway here are my little loves for this week.


The letter confirming Jake’s nursery place arrived this week. I’ve been reading through that and the information that came with it. The nursery is part of the Primary school that Daisy goes to. It feels less daunting this time as I know the teachers and the routine. He will be starting in June and is more than a little excited.


I finally got round to watching Harlots on ITV Encore. It’s so good, Samantha Morton and Lesley Manville play the leads. It follows the story of a brothel owner in 18th century London and her feud with a rival Madam who is totally ruthless. I do love a gritty period drama. I currently have 2 episodes left to watch and I’m already hoping they make another season.


This is a strange one to put in as a little love. I love listening to podcasts as I’ve mentioned previously. My cousin told me about one called Casefile True Crime a while ago and I finally got round to listening. I was worried all the stories would be about murder but there not, there’s a good mix of crime. The guy who reads it has a really heavy Australian accent and is a born storyteller. I was on the edge of my seat listening to him tell his criminal tales. I realise true crime is not everyone’s cup of tea but I find it really interesting.


Lists, lists and more lists. I’m going back to basics at the moment with my organisation. First thing in the morning I’ve been writing a to-do list for the day. There’s nothing more satisfying than ticking things off as I go along. It’s certainly helping to keep me motivated.


I love buying the kids clothes that I would like to wear myself. I got Daisy this tokidoki Unicorno t-shirt from Asda for only £6. She’s been wearing it lots this week.


And lastly….

I’m going to Blog On this Sunday so I’ve been busily planning what I want to take with me. I wrote an Icebreaker and have loved reading everyone else’s. It can be quite daunting going to a conference for the first time so it’s nice to feel like you already know a few people. This is my third time and I can’t wait to meet up with the lovely friends I’ve made through blogging. No doubt the experience will feature in next weeks little loves post.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat


Word Of The Week – Combination

This week has been such a mixed bag but that’s two words so I’ve chosen combination instead. Most days have been full of little niggles and frustrations and I will admit that it’s made me a bit grumpy. To balance it out there have also been some real highlights too.

I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction so I think that feeling frustrated may have set off a chain of events. I woke up feeling grumpy on Monday morning, I’m still fighting a cold and cough so sleep has been poor.

There have been two large vans blocking the view of the busy road we have to cross on the school run. It’s been bothering me for a few weeks so when I saw the driver inside I took the chance to have a rant at him. I’m usually quite level-headed but frustration and grumpiness do not make for a great combination. I may or may not have told him that he should park his van up his own bottom when he asked me for suggestions of where he should park. He is of course still parking there but I feel better for getting it off my chest.

The same day Chris drove our car val straight in to the neighbours wall. He misjudged the manoeuvre and the results were not pretty. Poor old Val. The wall came away without a scratch.

The day got a little better when for the first time ever Jake climbed in to the dentist chair and opened his mouth wide. You might be wondering why I’m so happy about that. Well, it’s because Jake has been going to the dentist since he was 12 months old and this is the first time it’s been totally stress free. He has never opened his before for them not even for a sticker.

On Tuesday we had an auction ending on Ebay for a rather large expensive item. The proceeds are earmarked for my 40th night away so I really wanted it to sell. I was so disappointed when is fell short of the reserve price and didn’t sell. The disappointment was short-lived though as the highest bidder accepted a second chance offer. It might have been a little less than we wanted but at least it sold. It won’t stop me turning 40 but it will afford me a lovely room for the night to commiserate.

The rest of the week was a little challenging. Jake’s behaviour has improved in leaps and bounds recently which is fantastic. This week however he decided to revert back to throwing tantrums. That of course is perfectly normal but when it’s because he has to hold my hand near a busy road I can’t ignore it.

The week has ended on a high note though as I finally had the phone call I’ve been waiting for. A place at nursery is available for Jake. He should really start in September but our school takes them right from 3 as long as they have spaces. A space has opened up so he can start after the school holidays in June. He is so ready to go and I am so ready for a little break.

So there you have it a real combination of a week. The old saying ‘you have to take the rough with the smooth’ really has applied.

The Reading Residence





I’m Going To Blog On Ice Breaker

Blog On is a conference especially for bloggers. It’s held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and I’ve been lucky enough to attend twice now. This year’s conference is almost here so I thought it was time to answer some ice breaker questions.

Although I’ve been twice it’s still a nerve wracking business wondering who’s who and where they blog. Ice breaker questions are a brilliant way to get know fellow attendees and make it all seem a little less daunting. Last year I arrived alone and tweeted to see if anyone would like to meet up. Thankfully they did and I met some lovely people I wouldn’t have otherwise known.

So here goes.

Share a recent picture of you

This is my most recent head shot. I might wear my hair down on the day depending on how it behaves in the morning.

Describe yourself in three words

Honest, Loving and Resourceful.

How long have you been blogging and what made you start?

In June I will have been blogging for 4 years on and off. I originally wanted to share the things I was doing to bring in a little extra income for our family. I soon realised wanted to have somewhere to document our family life and be able to connect with others at the same time. I’m rubbish at making friends in real life but found I could easily connect with people virtually.

What was the inspiration behind your blog name?

I had a YouTube channel called Wonderland Freebies before I started the blog and wanted to keep the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme alive I suppose. I have had some regrets about the name over the years but not any more. I was once asked by a fellow blogger where ‘Websterland’ was I replied “at my house” it gave me a good giggle.

What is the best thing to come from your blog so far?

The best thing is that blogging has pushed me right out of my comfort zone. I’m by nature an introvert and I definitely have hermit tendencies. Blogging has made me get out and meet people and face my social anxieties. It’s given me a voice, confidence and a strength I never knew I had.

Your most remembered thing from your childhood

Without a doubt it’s my Nan’s house. As well as it being my safe place it was full of ornaments and knick knacks. As you can image to a child it was like Aladdin’s cave, there was always something to look at.

Something interesting you might not know about me is . . .

I still have 3 of my baby teeth. My adult teeth never descended and I’ve seen them on several x-rays. Dreading the day they fall out.

Which social media platform best describes your personality and why?

Definitely Twitter because it’s as fast moving and scatty as my brain.

What is your happy song?

It’s a really cheesy one, it’s ‘Feels like I’m in love’ by Kelly Marie. I not usually a dancer but when that tune comes on I can’t help but get up and shake my stuff. The music just makes me feel so happy.

What is your favourite alcoholic drink

I don’t drink that often nowadays but it used to be a ‘Red Witch’ which is a mixture of Pernod, blackcurrant and cider.

What is your favourite cake?

Tough choice, it’s a toss up between Black Forest Gateaux and Bakewell Tart (if they can be classed as cakes).

What is your favourite takeaway dish?

Sweet & Sour chicken with fried rice, that’s so boring isn’t it. Every time I try something different I end up wishing I had ordered that instead.

Where is your dream holiday destination and why?

Hawaii because of the waves, the sky, the ocean, the mountains I could go on and on.

What would your superhero name be?

The Multi-tasking Marvel because I’m shit hot at completing 20 different tasks at once.

If you had a magical power, would you want to have and why?

Mind control, just imagine being able to get your kids to play nice and give you a minutes peace all with the power of thought.

What one weapon would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

I refuse to answer this one as I’m petrified of the ‘Z’ word.

If you could send something into space, what would it be? 

The Kardashian’s maybe or celery I dislike they both as much as the other.

What would you have on your gravestone?

‘I hope there’s Wi-Fi where I’m going’

You make headline news around the world in 2 years time… but for what reason?

Getting rid of the Kardashian’s by zooming them off into space perhaps ?

If an EMP wiped out all mechanical forms of transport, how would you get to BlogOn?

I don’t live that far from Manchester so I would borrow a push bike and cycle my way there.

I really enjoyed writing that and I can’t wait to meet you all there.

L.O.L Surprise Doll Review & Giveaway

Daisy is a massive fan of surprise toys. Most trips to the supermarket usually involve her bringing home a new surprise toy. She loves to watch her favourite YouTube channels where she can find unboxing videos. Last year she was sent an L.O.L Surprise! Doll just in time for their UK release. She loved it and it’s still one of her favourite things to play with now.

We were asked if we would like to review another L.O.L Surprise! doll. We have one to offer as a prize too. Of course we said yes. Read to the end where you will find details of how to enter the giveaway.

L.O.L Surprise! are a new range of collectable dolls. You will find 7 layers of surprise with every one. Each one contains a doll with mix and match accessories. You unwrap each layer to reveal the surprises until you finally find out which doll you have got.

There are over 45 dolls to collect in series 1, you could even find one of the ultra rare dolls inside. Once unwrapped the ball could be used as a carry case, bath, doll display or even a hangout play set. There’s also an extra little surprise if you add water either to the doll or the little drinking cup.

Daisy couldn’t wait to start unwrapping her surprises. The gold ball gave her some clue that the doll inside might be a special one.

I love that these toys are easy for her open herself, she was able to remove each wrapper by using the ‘zip’ on each layer.

Daisy was right about her doll being special. She got the rare Cosmic Queen from The Glitterati club. Her hair, outfit and even her drinking bottle are covered in glitter.

One of my favourite features is that it can be safely stored away in the ball when playtime is over. This saves any of the little accessories going astray. I think the L.O.L Surprise! doll would make a lovely gift or pocket money treat.

As you can tell from the photo’s these surprise toys get a big thumbs up from Daisy.

L.O.L Surprise! usually retail at around £7.99 and can be found on Amazon and other good toy retailers.

Now it’s your turn to win one for yourself. Make sure you read the terms and conditions then enter below using the Gleam app. You can come back daily for extra entries too!

Terms & Conditions

  • Open to UK entries only.
  • The Closing date is 09.06.17 11.59pm.
  • The prize is 1 L.O.L Surprise! Doll.
  • The winner will be selected at random from all valid entries and contacted by email.
  • The winner has 28 days to respond failure to do so will result in a new winner being selected.
  • There is one mandatory method of entry all other methods are optional.
  • Image above for illustration purpose only, design may vary.

L.O.L Surprise! Doll