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  1. I just had my first official pay-out from Awin the affiliate marketing company I use, woohoo!  It’s actually my second, but the first was a little different.  My first payment was over £200 as I’d won a blog competition through them with Etsy.  I’d signed up to their affiliate scheme through Awin and entered a competition they’d emailed about.  I won and had £200 paid into my Awin account.  This was over the payment threshold and paid into my account soon after.

    So this second payment is officially from affiliate marketing only!  I was just paid over £25 out of the £60+ I have in my account.  Payments show in the Awin account but have to clear before they become payable.  The payment threshold is £25 so as soon as you reach this you’ll be paid directly into your bank account.  They do two payment runs a month so if you earn a lot then you’ll never have to wait long to be paid.

    Make money from your blog with awin affiliate marketing 

    I don’t earn loads as I’ve not yet mastered affiliate marketing.  It’s something on my to do list and I really need to up my game.  The best thing about Awin is there are over 6000 retailers on their books.  They all have their own terms and commissions, but you can earn for all of them (well, the ones that accept you) in one place.  This means you can earn a £1 from so and so, then £5 from so and so, and as soon as the total is £25 from all the schemes you’re a member of, you’ll be paid.

    They also have a marketplace where you can offer your other blog services, such as reviews and collaborative posts.  I did receive a paid blog post thanks to their marketplace as someone found me on their and then chose to contact me directly.

    The best thing to install is the Awin browser extension.  It’s the easiest way to grab links to products or websites you’re signed up to as an affiliate through them.  You can also shorten links and share them directly to your social medias from the extension.

    The only downside is you have to apply to join and pay a £5 sign-up fee.  I’m  not entirely sure why they need this, but they pay it back to you.  It’s added to your first pay-out and is visible in your account as soon as you are approved.

    It might take a while like me, but if you’re serious about monetizing your blog through affiliate marketing then I’d definitely recommend giving Awin a go.

    Click here to sign up to Awin

    If you need help with the publisher sign up process, check out their handy help page here: http://wiki.awin.com/index.php/Signing_Up_As_An_Affiliate

    Related:

    Make money from your blog without Google ads 
    4 places to find paid blog opportunities
    How to improve your domain authority (DA)

     

  2. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty sick to death of this cold weather.  I am not a winter person.  It makes me miserable.  I get cabin fever stuck indoors and crave being outdoors.  But I can’t go outdoors as I really detest the cold.  It makes me sniff instantly and my hands sting and dry up.  I miss long summer walks and venturing up picturesque hills.  At this point in the year the winter seems far too long and the countdown to summer begins.  One thing that does get me through the winter and cheer me up is staying active, even if it has to be indoors.

    Luckily there are lots of indoor activities to keep the whole family fit and healthy during the winter months, as well as have a lot of fun!  Here are four great indoor activities you should try out with the kids too:

    Skiing

    One thing I’m yet to try is an indoor ski slope.  They look like the perfect place for the family to learn to ski or snowboard and also to have a little fun at the same time – have you heard of tubing?  It’s basically where you slide down the slope in a giant inflatable ‘doughnut’ ring.  Not exactly exercise, but it sounds exhilarating!  Some indoor slopes even have snow parks with slides made out of ice.  If you’ve never skied before then see if your local centre offers taster lessons for beginners.

    4 indoor keep-fit activities the whole family can enjoy

    Climbing

    Some of our friends have been attending a climbing centre with their three year old son and he absolutely loves it.  It’s another great indoor activity for all ages.  I climbed a few times as an older child and remember really enjoying myself.  Not only does climbing improve your agility, strength and fitness levels, but it also improves coordination giving your mind a workout too!

    Swimming

    Swimming is one of our easy go-to keep fit as a family activities and we usually visit a pool on a weekly basis. With two kids in tow, me and my husband can take it in turns to watch them whilst the other gets a couple of laps in.  Whilst playing with the kids we tread the water or cycle our legs.  Just keep moving in the water and the resistance of the water will help you exercise.  To make it fun for the kids take floats and pool toys to play games with.

    Trampolining

    That’s right, it’s not just for kids!  Trampolining has a whole load of benefits for the body.  It is great exercise!  Trampoline parks seem to be on the rise so I’m sure you can find an indoor park local to you that the whole family can enjoy.  Ours even has dedicated toddler sessions so all ages can experience the fun.

    Hopefully this will inspire you to find a local indoor activity centre this winter and have some keep-fit fun!

    Related:

    5 Fun Ways to Keep Fit with a Little One 

    How to exercise with a toddler at home

    A beginner’s guide to the benefits of aqua aerobics

    4 indoor keep fit activities the whole family can enjoy

    Collaboration

  3. If you’re wondering what to buy a three year old boy for his birthday, then you’re in the right place.  Especially if that three year old is absolutely dinosaur obsessed, but they have plenty of toys.  Three is sometimes a tricky age as they are no longer a baby, but also not quite a fully grown child just yet.  This is the preschool year where they will begin to prepare for school and transform from a toddler into a four year old who is ready to start their school journey.  Crazy stuff! 

    My son Reuben turns three at the beginning of March and will start school next year.  It’s totally mad that I can say he starts school next year.  He’s just so dinky.  But as he’s my second child I already know how much he will grow and develop by then.

    Buying presents for Reuben’s birthday is trickier than for my eldest.  She can just tell me what she wants and sometimes there seems like a lot more choice for girls than boys.  Plus Reuben already has so many toys so I’d rather not waste money, but instead buy something he needs or can use.   He is, however, obsessed with dinosaurs, so that certainly helps to narrow things down. 

    After scouring the web I have found some really cool dinosaur birthday gifts for three year old boys:

    boys billy bandit long sleeve t-shirt blue dinosaur man moustache birthday

    Billy Bandit long sleeve t-shirt

    Designer clothes from OD’s

    OD’s Designer Clothing have a really cool kids designer clothing range for all ages.  This blue boy’s Billy Bandit t-shirt with a fun playful dinosaur design is perfect for all the little T-Rex lovers out there.  Billy Bandit create quirky, creative and imaginative boys clothing to inspire children.  There are so many more amazing pieces at OD’s like red mountain jumpers, superhero t-shirts and a masked lion sweatshirt.  Pop over to see the full range.

    A dinosaur bedroom

    OK, hear me out!  I don’t mean totally kit out a bedroom as that would be pretty extravagant as a gift for a three year old, but how about just adding some wallpaper to one wall to spruce it up and it will feel like a new bedroom?  This dino patterned wallpaper is amazing and Reuben would be ecstatic if we surprised him with a wall in his bedroom covered in dinosaurs.­

    Personalised pet dinosaur book­­­­­

    This is the most perfect gift for a dinosaur lover.  We read a bedtime book to the children every evening, so a new book is always a welcome gift in our home.  Thanks to the internet it’s now possible to get all sorts of books personalised so the child is included in the story!

    Diplodocus clock

    The more I search, the more amazing dinosaur gift ideas I find.  This themed clock is perfect for starting to teach the time and is a fun addition to a bedroom or playroom.

    Lunch bag

    A roaring lunch bag for preschool is such a fun idea.  It could even encourage them to eat all their fruit and veg if it comes out of a lunch bag they adore.  This lunch bag is machine washable which is perfect for keeping mums happy too.

    Night lights

    A dinosaur shaped nightlight is another great gift idea for a three year old who’s afraid of the dark.  These are such a great gift idea and if you buy a battery powered lamp then there’s no fuss with cables and plug sockets.

    Hooded towel

    Towels are always a useful item and this dinosaur towel will make bath time extra fun.  If it’s usually a battle to get your three year old out of the bath, then this hooded dino towel should solve that dilemma.  They’ll look so cute and snug wrapped up after bath time.

    Once you start looking you’ll realise there are so many incredible gifts for boys out there, particularly for those budding palaeontologists!

    Related blog posts:

    Perfect gifts age 0-12 from what2buy4kids
    Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Her with a Twist
    Christmas Gift Guide: Lylia Rose Fashion Scarves from £4.99

    cool dinosaur gift ideas birthday boy three years old guide wishlist

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  4. Becoming the mother you have always wanted to be is possible, with a bit of effort and a lot of dedication (image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-baby-blur-child-532389/)

    You have been laying in bed reading all these gossip magazines, and these have inspired you to become a better version of yourself, for both your sake and that of your children. You have been flicking through the pages and have seen women with children that are both pretty looking as well as have a world cause they are fighting for. You realise you have neither of these attributes.

    You stopped looking good ever since you started giving all your attention to your children, and the closest you come to supporting an important cause these days is ensuring your kids are in bed by 7pm every night.

    Sad as these mags have made you feel, they have also opened your eyes to a world that could be closer to the one in which you now live, if you want it.  But if you're happy with things the way they are, then heck, carry on.  No one is here to judge.

    Here’s how to become the yummy mummy you have always aspired to be.

    Study towards your dreamed profession

    When you were a teenager, you would have never expected that in your thirties you would have become a full-time mother.  Now, all you do for a living is change nappies and feed hungry tiny mouths, and while this is highly respectable, you may want more from life and that's perfectly fine.  Don't feel guilty.

    Having been busy providing care for your children has made you forget what it is that you want to get out of this life professionally, but you know being a mother isn’t all you wanted to become. With plenty of careers to choose from out there, this is your chance to go back to studying and enrol in a program that will give you what you are looking for to take the necessary steps towards the career of your dreams. Are you excited about a job that is interesting and worthy? Signing up for a criminology degree online will make you feel rejuvenated and help you attain higher self-esteem.

    Stick to a solid exercise routine

    Those women that you keep seeing on magazines are models and actors, and they have been made to look stunning with the help of Photoshop as well as extremely advanced photographic techniques. Still, we understand you want to improve your appearance. Being a mother isn’t an excuse to let yourself go and not want to feel pretty or sexy.  You can still be both, if you want to be.

    While being happy and satisfied will be your best tool for self-improvement, adopting a solid exercise routine will also help you feel and look better physically. All you have to do is come up with a good workout plan and stick to it, without excuses. Luckily and with the help of the internet, these days it is easy to exercise without leaving the comfort of your own home. Read this article to know more about the perfect exercise routine.

    Shop until you drop!

    Once you have hit the gym or elaborated your own exercise programme, you are ready to both feel and look fabulous. While the mere fact of having a flatter tummy and more toned abs will have probably already made you feel better, you cannot sport that sexy body in the same old jumpsuit you have been wearing since your first child was born.

    It’s time to hit the shops girl! And to shop until you drop. You know you deserve it, since you haven’t been shopping for a long while, and your hard efforts towards feeling and looking better are worth the spend. Hit the shops and bag yourself one of these sexy dresses!

     

     Collaboration

  5. I recently reviewed some of the Love Layla Valentines cards and I’m back today to share some of their alternative Mother’s Day cards with you.  These are not the normal cards you’re going to see plastered all over the stores, oh no.  There are no fluffy teddy bears, roses or sentimental poems.  These cards are for those of us Mums who can take a joke about the not so pleasant side to parenthood, because you have to laugh about it all don’t you?

    These cards are for the mums who pee when they sneeze, nag their children daily, stress out at the madness of parenthood and reach for a glass of gin when they’ve ‘had it up to here’.  Not just mums though, there are alternative Mother’s Day cards for single parent Dads, Grandmas and step mums.  They’ve covered all bases and they’ve found something so true and amusing to say to the parent, whatever their situation.  In true Love Layla style there are crude, rude, sarcastic, humorous and borderline cards available.  As I said in my last review, you have been warned! 

    love layla giveaways

    Parenting is hard.  It can be a constant battle, a struggle, messy, gross and all consuming.  It’s not all lovely and rosy and I’ve found the past year the hardest so far.  With my 5 year old acting like a teenager with attitude already, ignoring my every command, and my two year old having a whole year of the terrible twos so far, I do wonder when it will all end.  It really does feel like a daily battle just to get the simplest of tasks done sometimes, like leaving the house with everyone dressed and fed after all the tantrums, resistance, refusal, nagging, losing items, getting undressed, making mess, poos in pants, hiding from me and all that chaos!  The best way to get through it is with humour.  We’d all go mad otherwise.  Luckily me and Ben can laugh at ourselves and the funny situations afterwards.  If we didn’t laugh, we’d just cry and have a meltdown.  These cards have really hit the nail on the head and make light of those tough parenting times.  You’ve just got to have a giggle about it all.

    Love Layla kindly sent me a selection of their new Mother's Day cards.  My only request was ‘please don’t send me anything with swear words or ‘vag’ or similar’!  The bundle of cards I received is absolutely awesome and I’d love most of them as a Mum myself.  The peeing when you sneeze is particularly apt!  I can’t even do a star jump at my aerobics class without a little dribble.  That will teach me for not doing my pelvic floor exercises.

    As much as I love these cards for myself, it would be a bit weird giving them to myself or forcing Ben to write me one.  Plus I already know what they all say.  So, I’m going to give them away!  Yep, you lucky readers (if you’re still with me and haven’t been scared off so far) have a chance to win some Love Layla Mother’s Day cards below.  Simply enter via the widgets below for the cards you’d like to win.

    Mother’s Day is on Sunday 11th March 2018 so I’ll run these giveaways until Monday 12th February to give you plenty of time to order a card from Love Layla if you’re not lucky enough to win one!

    You can view their awesome selection of cards here: https://lovelayladesigns.co.uk/

     

    Find THREE giveaways below!

    1. Love Layla Giveaway - Mother's Day Gin Pack

    Love Layla Designs Review Alternative Mother’s Day Cards and Giveaway Prize

     For your chance to win this bundle, enter here:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    2. Love Layla Giveaway - Mother's Day New Mum Pack

    Love Layla Designs Review Alternative Mother’s Day Cards and Giveaway Prize

    To win the New Mum pack, enter here:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    3. Love Layla Giveaway - Pick a card or fave child wrap

    Love Layla Designs Review Alternative Mother’s Day Cards and Giveaway

    For this giveaway you can choose one of the above items to win.  Just let me know your choice when you enter.  You can return daily if you want to try and win more than one of the above items and enter again.  There will be one winner per item for this giveaway.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Good luck!

    Terms and conditions:

    There will be one winner per giveaway, unless otherwise stated

    The prize is the item(s) as shown in the picture

    There is no cash alternative

    There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries

    Winners will be notified within 7 days

    Prizes will be sent out within 7 days of receiving the winners address

    The winner must claim their prize within 7 days or it will be forfeited

    All entries must be received by the date and time specified

    The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email

    Giveaways are open to the UK only

    The winner's name and county is available upon request

    Entrants will be signed up to the Lylia Rose newsletter to receive blog posts and giveaways. Subscribers are also entered into a monthly prize draw to win a scarf of choice from my online fashion boutique - You can unsubscribe at any time, but this will stop your entry into the newsletter giveaway.