Do you remember back in the summer me talking about Simples, the new online insurance tool from Compare the Market?

No, I didn’t think you would. Honestly, it’s like you’re not even paying attention. 

Anyway.

The product is still in beta, but it’s had quite a few updates since the summer, so I wanted just to remind you about it and let you know how to sign up, if you haven’t already. (Which I’m sure you did the moment you finished reading my first post?)

What is Simples?

Simples is a bit like a smart online filing cabinet. It’s somewhere to store all of your insurance documents so that you can be reminded when they are due for renewal and easily access key policy information. If you’re anything like me, you just sign up for the second cheapest (my life philosophy) and then totally forget how much you paid, what you’re insured for and where you put the documents.

You have the option to set reminders so that you remember to get quotes when your policies are coming up for renewal, plus you can text Simples with any straightforward questions you might have if for any reason you don’t have access to the site or need a super quick response.

So what’s new?

Simples has added quite a few new features since I last reviewed it, which now makes it even simpler to use, with more support for different types of insurance product. This was one of the points raised by the bloggers who got together in the summer – we were keen to see more types of insurance included.  View Post

Sponsored post.

Today I’m reviewing Leetchi, an online money collection website. It’s dead handy – well worth a read.

On more than one occasion during my working life I’ve found myself in that awkward situation known as the ‘present collection’.

It goes something like this:

An envelope and a card are working their way around the office. It’s a collection for someone in accounts that you’ve only met a couple of times. You want to contribute but when you look in your purse you realise you only have seven pence or a ten pound note. Obviously you’re not putting the note in – you barely know the woman and besides, no one hears the note go in, so you won’t get the kudos.

So, do you:

A) Just pretend to put cash in and rattle the envelope a bit to make a noise

B) Put in the seven pence to be seen to be adding something and hope that no one sees the actual coins

C) Just casually sign the card and pass it on

Of course there is the option to say that you don’t have any cash on you and add some later, but how feasible is that? Normally in this sort of situation the envelope has just appeared on your desk and no one really knows where it came from or where it’s going to end up. It just sorts of travels mysteriously from desk to desk until suddenly Janice has a new baby bouncer to take on maternity leave. No one really understands how.

A new online tool – Leetchi.com – just made this awkward money collection thing a whole lot easier.  View Post

Sponsored post.

I’ve spent most of the last two weeks coughing. I’ve written before about my coughs – they’re pretty annoying, for everyone concerned. 

38 years on, and my coughs now have a new twist. Not only do I have to worry about not being able to breathe, generally irritating people etc, but now I have to simultaneously stop myself from weeing in my own pants. It’s such fun! Oh, hang on, a cough is coming… Stop walking, cross your legs… Yep, that’s right, everyone is staring but not to worry, it’s all fine.

(It’s not really fine.)

When you’re feeling rough, and coughing until your head feels like it might explode, a bit of light bladder leakage is like the big, fat, leaky cherry on top of the cake. (A cake made of mud and toothpaste, like that one Mr Mischief makes.) It’s made worse by the fact that no one talks about it. It’s something that effects so many of us, and yet we just go around, quietly crossing our legs, feeling like it’s just us.

There is a silver lining though! If you look hard enough, you can always find a positive right? The silver lining here is that a company called Confitex got in touch recently to ask if I fancied writing about their range of utility underwear, which they’re introducing to the UK, and the cough has given me the perfect introduction.

SMOOTH.

So here I am, breaking the ‘slippage silence’ and talking (again), casually, about bladder leakage.

When I read ‘utility underwear’, I have to admit that my first thought was ‘are these pants for soldiers or something?’. That’s not what it is though. It’s actually incontinence underwear – underwear that has been designed especially to help people experiencing leaks in the urinary department. 

The key word for me here is ‘designed’. This isn’t a range of bulky pants that looks like nappies or anything like that, it’s properly designed underwear that looks good, but just happens to have a practical use too. To make the point, see if you can stop the Confitex incontinence underwear in this little collage:

(Don’t tell me I don’t know how to entertain you…)

Confitex incontinence underwearWhat do you reckon?

1 and 4 are actually the Confitex pants, although I think that the model in number 3 looks like she might be doing her best to hold something in.

The point I’m making is that Confitex have designed their range to look like regular underwear. They don’t want to make the whole situation any more awkward or embarrassing than it is already, they just want to make a pair of normal looking pants that can also make people feel comfortable and secure.

I’m not saying we should all give up on our pelvic floor exercises and just slip into a pair of incontinence pants, of course not. We should all be doing everything we can to keep our pelvic floor muscles strong, but sometimes you are going to need a little bit of extra protection.

My second thought, after the thing about soldiers in pants, was that surely a pair of knickers that looked so ordinary wouldn’t be able to actually do very much? I was wrong again. 

Confitex underwear is available for both men and women and comes in two levels of absorbency, so you can choose what suits you best. You might be experiencing a little leakage, perhaps you’ve just had a baby, or maybe you’re a man recovering after a proctectomy. The medium absorbency isn’t messing about. That’s a lot of fluid right there:

Confitex incontinence underwear

I think I’d find it hard not to chuck half a cup of tea into my pants, just to see what happened.

Confitex underwear is totally reusable – you can wash and tumble dry it like normal – and it’s made with bamboo fibre, which is super soft and has natural anti-bacterial properties too. If you’re worried about those little leaks and are intrigued to find out more, then just take a look at the Confitex website.

And cross you fingers for me (and your legs) that my cough clears up soon.

Sponsored post.

Earlier this week I wrote about feeling a bit glum with a cold, and mentioned that to cheer myself up, I liked putting toys in funny positions around the house.

Well, Philippe and Bertie must have read that post, because since then, every time I come home, they’re up to mischief. I’ve sent pictures to Fiancé, and he says it all looks rather sexual, but I think they are just playing. This morning I came downstairs to the kitchen and they were trying to make tea. That’s not sexual – that’s just helpful. Except I was a little worried about them with the kettle.

It’s very hard to feel sad though when you come across a fox giving a bunny a pony ride.

rabbit making tea

rabbit in cute position

rabbit playing the piano

rabbit having a pony ride

Disclosure – this post is mainly me complaining.

I woke up at about 4am on Christmas morning with what I thought was a migraine. I sometimes get migraines while I’m asleep, and it’s not much fun. You wake up and it takes a little while for you to realise you have a headache, and then WOOSH, there it is.

I thought maybe I was just excited. (I do love Christmas.) I thought perhaps it was just my body’s way of letting go of the pre-Christmas stress, (we had some passport issues…), and getting ready to enjoy itself. It didn’t go away though, and I ended up being a bit of a Christmas damp squib, try as I might to fend things off with my mum’s supply of Lemsips. (She has a bit of a Lemsip habit.)

We flew home from my sister’s in Ireland on the 28th and I thought I’d start to perk up once I was back at home, but my sinuses were not keen on the flight and things didn’t improve.

Fast forward another week and here I am at home, coughing away, generally feeling sorry for myself.

flu and despression

See?

Pathetic isn’t it? View Post

Do you get that post-Christmas urge, as soon as all the mince pies are finished, to start tidying up and throwing things away? 

I do.

It’s not strong yet, as I’m not feeling well, and the idea of doing anything much isn’t terribly appealing, but I know that as soon as I’m back on form, I’ll want to start organising. One area that’s always ripe for a bit of an overhaul in our house is Belle’s wardrobe. She has grown so quickly in the last year or so, and I don’t think we’ve quite kept up. We had a little sort out of her clothes before Christmas and so much of it was inches too short for her.

To help you get your kids’ clothes organised, I’ve come up with a few helpful hints. I’d love to hear your advice too. Or you could just bring me round a medicinal sherry. Either is fine.

Fix the foundations

There is quite literally a whole layer of clothing to get right before you start adding jumpers and trousers – underwear. I’m particularly bad at this, probably because I can’t see it on a daily basis, and it’s a long standing joke that Belle always has pants that are ridiculously small for her. She does have a teeny bottom, but not 3-4 years teeny. So, get out everything, assess it properly, and then restock, based on how many pairs of socks, pants and tights you think they realistically need.

Underwear quickly becomes a mess, so invest in some drawers dividers or mini boxes to keep the inside of the drawer tidy.

Think capsule wardrobe

Because capsule wardrobes aren’t just for women who work in offices and wear tan coloured patent shoes. (Although in my head they are.) Depending on the age of your child, and the things they like to do, you can easily create a capsule wardrobe. For example, do you have a girl who likes to dance, or run around a lot outside? If so, you’ll want to stock up on your girls’ tracksuits. If you have a teenage boy who loves nothing more than seeing how low he can wear his jeans without them actually falling down, then, well, I don’t know what you do about that. View Post

We’ve teamed up with Villa Plus today to get you excited about booking your summer holiday!

They say that anticipation is half the fun, but I disagree. I actually think it’s more like 80% of the fun.

I absolutely love the build-up to stuff, often more than the event itself. Take Christmas for instance. From early September I’m getting excited, humming Christmas tunes to myself, eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine. I love the planning – buying presents, putting up the tree – it’s all ACE. You’ve got to enjoy that bit haven’t you, otherwise it’s just a big stress of shopping and overspending, and no one wants to think about that. 

I’m the same with holidays. 

I love spending time thinking about where I want to go and what I might do there. I like imagining what adventures we are going to have, shopping for those adorable mini bottles of shampoo, and generally getting everyone in a holiday frame of mind. I even like the actual travelling part, as that’s all part of the adventure for me.

My favourite type of holidays are the sort where you have plenty of freedom and flexibility. I guess that’s why we always end up self-catering on long breaks – I can’t bear the idea of a whole week spent living to someone else’s schedule. I want to have my breakfast when I’m good and ready thank you very much. The great thing about using a company like Villa Plus is that you get that freedom, but don’t have to compromise on security or reliability – you’re not renting a villa from an ad in the back of a magazine, you’re going to someone you can trust.

(Thinking about holidays got me reminiscing about holidays when the children were little and so I *may* have just spent half an hour or so looking at old photos…)

Villa Plus family holidays

Isn’t Bee a cutie?

Villa Plus family holidays

I think we are looking at a wasp in this picture.

One of our very favourite holidays was with a friend and her son, Ashley, staying in their villa in Spain. It had a pool, and Belle and Ashley spent pretty much the whole holiday in it, while we lay on loungers, sipping cocktails and reading trashy novels. It was absolute bliss – our own little private haven and everyone was happy. 

Belle goes on and on about that villa and the pool as her absolute dream holiday. She loves swimming and is desperate for us to go somewhere sunny where she can recreate our Spanish villa experience. Now that Christmas is almost at an end, I wanted to get her excited about the idea of a summer holiday, so we spent some time looking at the Villa Plus website. 

Villa Plus are a great option if you like that freedom and privacy that comes from a villa holiday. They have over 30 years experience, and hand pick villas from the very best locations across Europe. They really appreciate what’s important to families when it comes to holidays and most villas come with things like wifi, a private pool and a barbecue. 

That’s all our holiday essentials right there. Villa Plus are all about making sure you’ll love your holiday more and nothing is guaranteed to make Belle love her holiday more than a pool and a strong wifi connection.

Please do have a watch of our video and see what you think:

View Post