Hands up who’s with me when it comes to the satisfaction of having a nice, clean car. Even with my chaotic, busy life, I try to find time to clear out the mess, give it a quick brush down and polish and remove the constant seagull poo target practice which keeps the pesky birds happy. (I swear they aim for my little car as soon as I’ve cleaned it.)

However, keeping the outside looking respectable isn’t as easy as it sounds, as any attempt of a quick car wash is non-existent as my helpful toddler insists on joining in and I spend most of my time guiding him away from the road and trying to stop him from standing in the bucket. To him it’s the ultimate muddy puddle – fun if you’re Peppa Pig, annoying if you’re a busy mum with a never-ending to-do list.
I've found another timesaving tip, a water wash and wax kit for my car. It's cut the car cleaning time by over half!

That last little niggle has been laid to bed recently though after discovering Williams Waterless Wash and Wax Car cleaning kit. I’ve managed to squirt, wipe and buff in a record 20 minutes this week, more than halving by usual sponge and bucket attempt.  It really was a simple case of wipe, polish and go. Simples! It makes the whole process of car cleaning much less messier, quicker and stress free and I’m keeping on top of it rather than waiting until I can’t read the number plate. Shine car – happy people. There’s a song in that somewhere, I’m sure.

Fancy seeing for yourself? Lucky for you then, to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of this time-saving car cleaning kit, I’m offering you the chance to win a kit of your own. It’s open to Uk residents over the age 18

(but if you can’t wait for the giveaway to end, it’s currently on sale at £14.99 during the Ideal World #JoinTheIdealParty week)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This is a collaborative post.

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This is quite possibly one of my biggest and sneakiest parenting triumphs to date! My kids are relatively healthy although but there is still lots of scope for more fruit and vegetables in their diet and I think I might have just cracked it with this recipe. Not only did they wolf it down without so much of a grumble, they got all their 5 a day in one sitting and ate mushrooms which they’ve been reluctant to try for many, many years.

The golden rule to feeding fussy eaters is to chop the vegetables up into very small chunks, which also helps when filling the cannelloni, and the lashings of Dolmio Bolognese sauce helps it all under the guise of tomato sauce. With 10  tomatoes, tomato puree,  onion,  sunflower oil,  garlic, basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water, the sauce alone kept my midweek meal full of healthy goodness! watch the video to see for yourself…..

Clean plates and no grumbles was the only feedback I needed from my busy teenagers who failed to notice the feel good mum smirk on my face as they carried their plates to the kitchen, washed up their plates and fled back to their rooms without ever knowing how happy those clean plates had made me.

One small step for mankind, one giant leap for a mum trying desperately to make sure her kids eat healthy!

If you’d like to have a go yourself, here’s the recipe I used, it can be prepared the night before and baked in the oven the following day.

Ingredients 

2 carrots

1 onion

I courgette

1 aubergine

1 red pepper

4 balls of frozen spinach

4 large mushrooms

1 bottle Dolmio bolognese sauce

200g cheddar cheese

100g Parmesan cheese

250g  cannelloni

Sea salt & pepper

1 tsp Smoked lazy garlic or 2 fresh garlic cloves

Method 

  • Pre heat the oven to 150’c
  • Chop the courgette, red pepper, mushrooms, onion and aubergine into small chucks, keeping the same size so they cook evenly.
  • Grate the carrots and cheddar cheese

  • Place the aubergine, courgette and red pepper on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Mix everything thing thoroughly then place in a pre heated oven for 20 minutes on a middle shelf, checking to make sure nothing is burning after 10 minutes and giving the tray a gentle shake.
  • Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes then add the garlic,  mushrooms  and carrots and fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Put an pan of water on to boil ready for steaming the spinach.
  • Add the cheddar cheese and roasted vegetables to the frying pan mix, stirring everything through.
  • Steam the spinach over a pan of boiling water while you get on with filling the cannelloni.

  • Using a table knife, fill each cannelloni tube with the mixture then layer them in a greased dish.
  • Place a layer of spinach and slice grate half the Parmesan over the first layer of cannelloni and spinach.

  • When you finished filling, pour a jar of Dolmio over the top, making sure the cannelloni rolls have slight gaps so the sauce can seep through the middle.
  • Finish with the rest of the Parmesan over the top and bake in the middle of the oven 160’c for 20 minutes.

  • Serve straight away as it is, there’s so many vegetables you’ve already got your complete meal good to go.
  • If you’ve made it in advance, made in advance too, just add an extra 5 minutes cooking time.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness.”

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One of these gift ideas is sure to make mum happy this Mothers Day

If you’ve left buying your Mothers Day gift to last-minute, I’ve put together a sprinkling of fail safe gifts which will get you out of hot water and show just how much you care. From essential oil based natural body care which is free from synthetics to beautiful (and not bad priced ) jewellery sets and my own personal choice of flower delivery service. Keep reading and there’s a little giveaway treat at the end too!

Pia Jewellery 

Affordable and stylish , this 9ct rose gold-plated sterling silver ring, earrings and pendant with  faceted rose quartz is an alternative to gold and silver costume jewellery. Each piece comes beautifully presented and packaged making it positively perfect to give as a gift!

Oleo Bodycare

I’m a huge Oleo Bodycare fan. Hand blended without using harmful chemicals or synthetics. It uses pure essential oils so you have the added benefit of the power of each oil and they smell divine! The Hand and Body treat kit is top of my list.

Oleo body care is top on my list for a Mothers Day gift

Serenata Flowers

I’m a sucker for a bunch of flowers, I love how they brighten a room breathing life and colour. Always a welcome sight in my calm, grey decor. And when I want to share some floral love with someone who lives away, I nearly always use Serenata Flowers. The text message updates for leaving the warehouse and once they’ve been delivered is really reassuring that they’re A; going to make it on time and B; they’ve reached their destination.

Oleo body care is top on my list for a Mothers Day gift

And as a little treat to you for being such a kind, caring individual and putting some thought into showing mum they’re still your number one, why not try your luck in this giveaway? Pia Jewellery are offering one lucky winner a £50 voucher to spend on their website.

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Open to UK residents over the ager of 18 only.

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how do you make sure you're teenagers are safe when they're online?
One of the biggest leap of faith I have to take while raising teenagers is having the courage to trust them when using the internet. While I can keep an eye on where they go when out and about and for how long (the advantage of living in a village) when it comes to letting them loose online, it’s one place I’m all to aware that they’re one step ahead of me.
Gone are the days where we had rules about only being online when I’m in the same room and choosing / vetting any websites they go on. These days, it’s a fine line between giving them the privacy that all teenagers crave while reminding them of the rules of keeping away from the deep dark web.
As a mum (or dad ) so many scenarios haunt you; from cyber bullying, violence, using and learning bad language and pornography. You here the stats all the time, one study by Kaspersky, the global cyber security company, of 5040 children age 10-15 found that over 2/3’s  had heard bad language, a 1/3 had witnessed violence online and 1/4 seen pornography. Not happy reading for any parent is it?

So that’s my wake up call, I need to up my game and find that balance as those are pretty scary statistics and I’m pretty sure my boys would know how to find anything I’d find worrying! So what am I going to do about it?
First things first, I’m going to have THE CHAT (again) I’m pencilling in a nice, tea time slot or maybe a car journey, yeah, a car journey would be better. Side ways conversations always work well with boys, minimum eye contact and all that. And then, once said chat has been executed and received, I’m going to look at ways to make sure I’m back holding the protective reins once again.
All be it a little slacker, and maybe sneakier than before.
Disclaimer
This is a collaborative post with Kaspersky and a reminder to check your parental controls! 
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I managed to juggle family life and working while studying to become a social media manager completing a Digital Mums course

Digital Mums? What’s she banging on about now? Read on and I’ll tell you about the time I retrained as a social media manager with a course especially aimed as mums looking to study around family and work.

It all began one late summer evening……….

So there I was wondering how I was going to take my social media skills to a new level step on yet another switch on the career path. Despite spending most of my thirties studying for an Open University degree and finding a dream job I got itchy fingers and something didn’t feel right. A new baby meant when I went returned to work I’d be juggling jobs, childcare and mum guilt, I just couldn’t see it all panning out right and beside, blogging was fast becoming an even better dream job which I could do it around naps and in the evening.

Along with blogging came a little knowledge about social media, it goes part the parcel and the more I blogged the more I learnt, but it’s a fast paced world and I had a thirst for knowledge. I needed to find out more, really get my head around it then along came Digital Mums with a cup full of that knowledge and some. Blogging’s great but it’s not a steady income, retraining as a social media manager would fill that steady income gap I needed, and as a single mum to three kids, I needed that steady income more than ever.

I signed up, took the interview and the rest is history.

if you're looking to make your business more environmentally friendly then why not consider running a paperless office? Starting with my own small

‘Cause history is what’s already happened, right? 6 intense months of history in the making, studying as a social media manager on the Digital mums community manager course, my history in the making.

I’m not going to lie to you, it was tough.

Not only did I have personal stuff bobbing along in the back ground. I was now chief in charge of EVERYTHING at home. By day I was mum, doing mum stuff, house stuff, keeping fit stuff so I didn’t get ill, (getting ill just isn’t an option) and by night I was Ali the Digital Mum student and Mum in a Nutshell the blogger.

For 6 months there’s been a long stream of burning the candles at both ends and panic rants to my mum.

Along with the reading, (all on-line luckily, I have a dodgy knack of putting anything paper in the log burner, homework included) I had a weekly Google Hangout with my Social Sisters tutor group, definitely the highlight of the course. Online learning can be pretty lonely when it’s just you and a laptop, but with those ladies it all felt real and when the going got tough, we spurned each other on.

Then came the campaign, and that was when life got exciting.

Suddenly it all became real and everything I learnt put into practice as I grabbed social media by the horns and rode that bad boy through a full on round of social media-ing the pants out of east Devon. I tweeted, grammed and Facebooked within an inch of social media’s life. My phone glued to my hand as I tried to kick my targets into touch. It was hardcore live learning and I loved it!

Sure, there were moments when I was spinning so many plates, I contemplated whether I’d bitten off more that I could chew, but this was a social media course aimed at mums, created my mums who knew exactly what their students (who were mums) would be juggling.

The struggle was real but knowing I was riding it out with women all in the same boat as me took the edge off. I wasn’t the only one working, studying and mum-ing at the same time and when you see everyone else managing it you realise it’s not such a struggle after all, it’s simply a case of being box clever with your time.

And I did it….still here to tell the tale of ‘the time I became a Digital Mum’ ready to set out on an exciting career managing social media from the comfort of my kitchen table/sofa/bed/

The commute doesn’t get more perfect and my co workers a dream.

I managed to juggle family life and working while studying to become a social media manager completing a Digital Mum course

If you’re a small business looking for a social media manager please do get in touch or pop over to my website for more information (click here)

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