Hey Doodle!

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Being mum to a two year old is exhausting. Eliza is currently in to everything and flits from one activity to the next in the blink of an eye, so when you come across something that keeps her sat in a chair for more than five minutes you know it’s something special.

We were recently gifted this erasable silicone story book from a brand called Hey Doodle, who I admit, I had never heard of before. From their website:

“HeyDoodle is a range of sustainable and educational wipe-clean silicone activity mats aimed at children aged 2 to 7. Featuring a new type of canvas, HeyDoodle offers parents, grandparents and kids a limitless and reusable drawing platform. Each mat contains hours of fun in colouring, tracing, and doodling and then hours more by simply using a damp cloth to reset the canvas. Perfect for all forms of travel, cafes & restaurants, hotel and waiting rooms, office receptions – anywhere you need to entertain kids in a fun and educational way”.

Eliza loves colouring (usually for 30 seconds at a time) so I knew this would be a hit with her, but I didn’t anticipate how much of a hit! She lasted a good twenty minutes at the table colouring the book and exploring the story; she would have gone longer if I hadn’t have been dinner time!

I was a little bit sceptical about how easy it would be to erase her efforts ready to start again, but all I needed was a damp cloth and it wiped away effortlessly. This was also true for the pen that found its way on to the table!

We used this again the next day when we went out for dinner, we knew we’d have a bit of a wait and we didn’t really want to resort to letting Eliza play with our phones. Again, Hey Doodle was the perfect solution, keeping her occupied, and as space was limited we kept it folded up so she could just do one page at a time.

With Christmas rapidly approaching, both Bob and I agree that Hey Doodle makes for the perfect gift- we are going to get Eliza one of their placemats for her santa sack, and as our friend’s little ones grow up they will also be getting sets from the brand!

The set we were gifted is this one, it costs £24.99 and is beautifully packaged and 100% something we will use over and over again for years to come.

Nice one Hey Doodle, I may finally get to drink a cup of tea in peace!

How To Achieve A Major Impact While Wearing Minimal Jewellery*

We’ve spoken before about the pros of buying less jewellery, both for the sake of your finances and for the environment. You should also find it easier to pick the ideal piece for every outfit when you don’t have an excessive collection to sift through. 

These are benefits that make it more than worthwhile to streamline your jewellery collection. But, if you love jewellery, then you may find this challenging. After all, it can be tough to give away pieces that provide you with great memories, and even harder to head out of the house with a minimal amount of jewellery when you’re used to layering up.

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But even avid jewellery lovers can adjust to a stripped-back jewellery closet. They just need to implement the following tips for making a major impact, even with their newly minimal jewellery. 

# 1 – Choose statement pieces

When you wear a lot of jewellery, you can more easily get away with flimsy, often cheap jewellery that you intend to layer up anyway. But, when you’re stripping back, it’s worth opting for iconic statement pieces. By investing in large gold chains and iconic pearl necklaces, or even taking the time to view the two carat diamond ring collection from brands like WhiteFlash, you can ensure key pieces that look great, and make plenty of impact in their own right. Admittedly, these pieces may be on the pricier side compared with what you’ve bought before but, considering how long they’ll last, and how much they’ll allow you to strip back, you should still find that they save you money, and help you to make better jewellery choices in the process. 

# 2 – Experiment with colours

Often, we’ll pick the colour of our jewellery to tie in with our outfits, and there’s a lot to be said for doing that. But, when you’re wearing less jewellery in general, there is a risk that similar colours will result in your jewellery getting lost, or just not making much impact. By comparison, experimenting with complementary or even clashing colours can result in jewellery that makes far more of a statement in its own right. Remember, too, that you don’t need to go over the top with this, but small things, like pairing yellow earrings with that purple dress, can help to draw the eye and ensure that your minimal jewellery pieces really pop.

# 3 – Tie your jewellery together

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Layering jewellery is a great way to make something of your accessories, and that’s an effect you can still achieve with a minimal jewellery selection by simply tying your pieces together. Choosing similar colours, or opting for something like all rose-gold stuff, can help to create a complete jewellery finish which, when taken together, needn’t look minimal at all. 

Stripping back on jewellery might not be the easiest thing you’ve ever had to do, but you can make this worthwhile transition easier by finding new ways to make a major impact with the help of these minimal jewellery tips. 

Connecting with Connetix

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Despite our best intentions, Eliza has amassed a lot of toys in her (almost) two years on this earth. This means it really takes something quite special to hold her attention for any length of time as she is constantly flitting to the next thing, and the next. We were very kindly sent this 120 piece pastel creative pack by Connetix and both Bob and myself are amazed at just how many hours have been spent playing with this already- more than any other toy Eliza has ever owned!

Connetix tiles are great for so many reasons:

Engaging in creative play with Connetix Tiles promotes several benefits:

  • Encourages Creativity and Imagination: Children are encouraged to unleash their creative potential and let their imaginations soar as they design and build.
  • Develops Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Through hands-on construction, children enhance their dexterity and physical coordination.
  • Supports STEAM Learning: Construction play actively supports learning in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, fostering a well-rounded skill set.
  • Promotes Problem Solving and Perseverance: As children encounter challenges during construction, they develop problem-solving abilities and learn the value of persistence.
  • Open-Minded and Versatile: Connetix offers endless possibilities, allowing children to experiment, innovate, and explore various designs.
  • Spatial Awareness: Magnetic play helps children develop a better understanding of spatial relationships and geometry as they create and manipulate objects.
  • Magnetic Learning: Magnetic properties provide an introduction to the principles of magnetism and physics, making it an ideal tool for STEAM education.

We’ve spent many a happy hour constructing towers and buildings as a family. Eliza now has a well established career in demolition too! The tiles are also amazing for solo play, which means mummy can supervise from the sofa and drink a hot cup of tea!

Whilst the Connetix products are on the pricier side (this kit retails at £115) both Bob and I have agreed they are 100% worth it as the possibilities are endless and already we’ve seen huge improvements in Eliza’s colour and shape recognition, ability to build towers and problem solve with them as well as utilise her constructions with other toys for imaginative play. There are small packs available, as well as add-ons and we’ve got our eye on a couple for Eliza’s christmas list- the ball run expansion pack being top of that list (well, our grown up lists actually!)

Whilst this was a PR sample, and a product we probably would have been put off of purchasing due to the price, this review is 100% honest and we genuinely are blown away by Connetix and what it has bought to family play time. I cannot speak highly enough of the brand and I can promise you purchases will be made, soon.

How to Run a Business That Basically Runs Itself*

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You might think that the title of this post sounds like nothing more than pie in the sky, and you could be forgiven for thinking that, but in the modern, tech-driven world we live in, it really is starting to be a possibility; you really can run a business that basically runs itself, with a little help from you, of course. Here’s how:

1. Smart Automation is the Name of the Game!

Ever heard the saying “Work smarter, not harder”? Invest in automating tedious tasks. From automated email responses and marketing campaigns to self-updating inventory systems, there are tools galore that can shave hours off your working week. You set ’em up, they do the heavy lifting.

2. Accounting Software for the Win!

Gone are the days of piles of receipts and late-night number crunching. With modern accounting software, not only can you track your finances in real-time, but many programs also offer insights into spending patterns and potential savings. Wave goodbye to the calculator and say hello to streamlined financial insights!

3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

If you’re a control freak (and hey, many of us business owners are), delegation might sound like a scary word. But here’s the thing: hiring and training competent team members can free up your time exponentially. Trust in their skills, give them autonomy, and watch them flourish – all while you focus on the bigger picture. If you’ve picked the right staff, this really shouldn’t be a problem!

4. Embrace Virtual Assistants

Not ready for full-time staff? No worries. Virtual assistants (VAs) are an absolute boon. From managing your calendar, responding to client emails, or even handling your social media, VAs can be the multi-tasking ninjas every entrepreneur needs. Just make sure you hire a reputable one from a good agency and that you have good contracts drawn up if confidentiality is likely to be an issue for your business.

5. Set Clear Processes

While you might know the ins and outs of your business, your team might not. By setting clear, easily accessible processes for every task, you make it easier for anyone to understand their roles. Think of it as an instruction manual for your business.

6. Outsource Like a Pro

Don’t have expertise in a specific area? Outsource it. Whether it’s content creation, SEO optimisation, or graphic design, there are platforms and professionals ready to step in. No need to wear every hat in the business.

7. Stay Updated with Feedback Loops

For a business to run itself, you need to be in the loop without actively intervening. Set up weekly or monthly feedback sessions, read customer reviews, and keep an eye on performance metrics. It keeps you informed and helps in course correction if things veer off track.

As you can see, the future really is here, and you really can run a business with much less sweat and toil than ever before, so whether you’ve already founded a company and you’re looking to increase efficiency or you are just starting out and wondering if running a business is possible for you, why mot adopt some of the time-saving methods above? You won’t regret it if you do!

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8 Easy Desserts That Use Eggs*

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When most of us think of ways to use eggs, we tend to think of savoury dishes like omelettes or fried breakfast. However, there are many sweet dishes that also heavily incorporate eggs. If you’ve got some spare eggs to use up, why not consider one of these 8 dessert options?

Vanilla custard

Vanilla custard is typically made from milk or cream, which is then thickened and given its distinct yellow colour by adding egg yolks. Sugar and vanilla extract is then added to sweeten it. Making custard at home is very easy as this custard recipe outlines. While you can eat custard on its own (the Teletubbies do), most people prefer to serve it with another dessert (such as a pie, a sponge or a strudel). Of course, egg custard doesn’t have to just contain vanilla and can incorporate other flavourings too.

Custard tarts

Once you know how to make custard, you can try your hand at custard tarts. These consist of a pastry crust and egg custard filling. Custard tarts are typically cupcake-sized, however you can make a larger custard pie if you’d prefer. 

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Flans consist of egg custard which is baked to help it set and coated in caramel. There are variations of this dessert across Europe. Creme caramel or Mexican flan is one variation that is cooked upside down. There are lots of online recipes that can teach you how to make a flan like this.

Crème brulee

Creme brulee is a bit like a flan in that it is made from baked egg custard. However, it has a layer of hardened caramelised sugar on the top. This hardened sugar topping can be hard to pull off – many chefs cheat and use a mini blowtorch. However, you can achieve this effect without one.


Consisting of a pastry casing and egg custard filling, eclairs are a tasty dessert favourite that are surprisingly simple to make. Eclairs are often served coated in chocolate. You can find a recipe here to learn how to make eclairs.


While yolk is used to make custard, egg whites can be used to make meringue. You only really need two ingredients to make meringue – sugar and egg whites. However, you can also add a touch of lemon for acidity or use flour to help the meringue bind. Visit this page to find out how to make meringue.

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Once you can bake meringue, you can then attempt homemade pavlova. This is essentially a giant meringue topped in cream and fruit. Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are some of the most common fruits that are added.

Eggnog cheesecake

Love eggnog? Love cheesecake? If so, a unique Christmas dessert worth trying is eggnog cheesecake. This is achieved by blending eggnog into the cheesecakes cream cheese filling. You can make your own eggnog mixture by blending eggs, nutmeg and a spirit such as rum or bourbon. It’s up to you as to how boozy you want to make it.

Posted in food