What A Week! A Week of Project 366 (Photos 54-60)

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What a week. I've tried, so far to publish a photo a day as part of Project 366 and, apart from a couple of really busy weekends where I've taken the photos each day and published 2 or 3 together, I have managed it. This week, whilst I did remember to take a photo every day, I haven't switched the laptop on so publishing these has had to wait.

Bud woke us last Wednesday at 6am and we discovered that he had been sick all over his cot. He couldn't even keep water down until Wednesday evening and was a very poorly boy indeed. Thursday dawned with no more sickness but very unpleasant nappies. He was drinking but wouldn't eat anything and was very listless. Having a sleepy, floppy boy on my lap all day led me to phone the Doctor as I was worried about dehydration. Happily they could fit us in straight away so we took him down. The Doctor assured me that he wasn't dehydrated, not to worry about the not eating and to keep giving him juice to keep him hydrated.
54/366 'Still Poorly' - Taken in our bed when Bud was starting to feel better but still not well.

We had been invited away for the weekend with Grandma and Grandad, Bud's Aunt and Uncle and two Cousins on Friday so I was really hoping he would be well enough to go. He woke on Friday a bit brighter. He still wasn't eating very much at all so we kept on with the fluids. The nappies had calmed down considerably but still weren't pleasant. I was fairly confident that being around the family would cheer him up so we headed off to Patterdale in the Lake District on Friday afternoon. When we got to our room we didn't have a travel cot supplied but there was a spare single bed in the room. We decided to risk him in the big bed and he slept beautifully. There was only a small gap between our bed and his and we filled the gap with the spare pillows and tucked him in well but there was no incident at all and he slept like that for two nights. I was a bit emotional seeing him sleeping peacefully in a big boy bed. I don't think I'm ready to change him into a big bed at home though.
55/366 'Big Boy Bed' - My grown up boy fast asleep in a single bed for the first time.

On Saturday we had a lovely walk to feed the ducks in Bowness, followed by time on the park and then lunch in Windermere. Bud now seems to think that, when we go away with the family, that's what happens. As soon as we went to breakfast he started saying 'ducks' and 'park'. We went away with the family to Keswick before Christmas and he clearly remembered the Saturday we spent walking around Keswick, and beside Derwentwater then!
56/366 'Swinging' - You'll notice that he isn't holding on. My child seems to think his mittens are sacred and won't touch anything when wearing them!

Sunday saw us heading home via Kendal. We thought that we would go to the Museum of Lakeland Life but, sadly, it isn't open on Sunday in winter. The same could be said for much of Kendal! The children spotted castle ruins on top of the hill so we decided to walk up there and have a look around. We spent quite a while exploring the ruins and playing hide and seek and also fitted in some time on another park. A quick walk around the shops and we headed home after a lovely weekend. While Bud was not himself he did enjoy himself and I was very glad that we went. The only downside was that, by the time we got home I had started to feel awful. Thankfully not my stomach, but my sinuses and I went to bed straight after Bud at 8pm.
57/366 'Waiting' - Our room was directly above where we had parked our car so Bud discovered he could watch from the window as his Daddy loaded the car.

Monday saw the return of Bud's appetite, thank goodness. I was very relieved to have him asking for snacks instead of saying 'noooo' when I asked him if he wanted anything (which was the response received since he had taken ill). I felt awful all day though. I've experienced sinus problems off and on since my mid-teens and know that there isn't much I can do about them. Bud's Grandma came and took him out in the afternoon which was great so I could go to sleep again.  Another early night saw me in bed by 9.
58/366 'Carpentry' - Bud received this great EverEarth tool bench for Christmas and has only just started to play with it. He loves getting to grips with the tools now.

I woke yesterday feeling brighter but, by lunchtime, started to feel awful again. Bud was very grumpy because Mummy was no fun. He only cheered up when Grandma came to take him out again.
59/366 'Grumpy' - This is a terrible photo but the only one I took yesterday when I felt awful. This was Bud's expression for most of the day as Mummy really didn't want to do very much at all.

Today saw an early start for a very busy Toddlers group, from which we acquired a great Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. We don't have room for it in the group and the children all fight over it too so they had decided to see if anyone wanted it. We were very pleased to bring it home with us although Bud hasn't worked out that he needs to 'walk' his feet to make it go so I had to push him, thank goodness it is at the end of our street! I'm feeling a bit brighter today and hoping that my sinus attack may be over. Fingers crossed. I've had a couple of messages to ask me if I will be proposing to Red Rose Daddy, as it is Leap Day. The answer is no. There are some questions that a lady shouldn't have to ask!
60/366 'Drink and Biscuit' - Bud was a bit tired out by Toddlers this morning. Sometimes he is a little bit overwhelmed when it is very busy, as it was today. I think he was ready for his toast, biscuit and drink.

Wednesday 22/02/12 'Poorly Boy' (53/366)

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I didn't get online at all yesterday as Bud came down with a vomiting bug at about 6am. This photo sums up what both of us thought of the day we had yesterday. No fun at all.

Tuesday 21/02/12 'Face Paint' (52/366)

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The Fabulous Bakin' Boys Mini Choccy Muffins

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It can be really tricky to find a little indulgence, especially when everyone is trying to eat healthily to offset their post  Christmas excesses. The guys at The Fabulous Bakin' Boys have come up with a brand new range of Mini Choccy Muffins, Choccy Cupcakes and Fruity Cupcakes to satisfy your sweet tooth.

We were sent a box of Mini Choccy Muffins to try out and were not disappointed. Each box contains 12 teeny muffins, 6 each of Double Chocolate and Chocolate Chip.

Each muffin contains less than 70 calories and is around the size of a Satsuma. Sadly I don't have a photo of them because Royal Mail had done their magic with my parcel and the muffins resembled pancakes when they emerged from the box! Their squashed state didn't affect the taste though and we all really enjoyed sampling them. Bud is a big fan of 'buns' (his word for fairy cakes, cupcakes and muffins) and he prefers them not to be iced so he really enjoyed these. Red Rose Daddy liked that each muffin was individually wrapped so he could pop one (or two!) in his lunchbox for work. I really enjoyed a muffin with a hot drink, as an alternative to a biscuit. Both flavours were equally well received in our house.

The Mini range is available to buy in Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco and the Co-op, RRP f £1.50

Calling All Mini Bakers!

The Fabulous Bakin' Boys are looking for an Apprentice to be the face of their range. If a mini in your house (aged 12 or under) loves to bake then head over to the Mini Baker application site. The first stage of the process is to invent a new flavour that they would like to see added to the range of mini treats - so thinking caps (or should that be chef's hats) on! The process looks very simple but your child will need an adult's help to complete their application.

Applications close on 31st March 2012.

We were sent a box of Mini Choccy Muffins for the purpose of this review but the thoughts and opinions contained are all my own.

Monday 20/02/12 'Sleepy' (51/366)

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Red Rose Daddy falls asleep on the sofa every single night. Usually when we're trying to watch something that we both want to see. This is him trying to stay awake tonight. To be fair to him he does get up at 6am every day and ran home from work (8+ miles) tonight.

Sunday 19/02/12 'Candles' (50/366)

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Bud's Uncle celebrated his birthday today (we are in full on birthday season here at the moment) and he enlisted Bud's help in blowing out his candles.

Saturday 18/02/12 'New Shoes' (49/366)

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...and they have dinosaurs on them! Bud has been saying 'rawr' at them since he tried them on!

Friday 17/02/12 'Slide' (48/366)

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Thursday 16/02/12 'One' (47/366)

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My lovely little nephew Spike (can you guess why we call him that?) celebrated a very special birthday today.
You're only one once!

Wednesday 15/02/12 'Valentine' (46/366)

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My beautiful Valentine's card made by Bud at Toddlers this morning

Once Upon a Wartime at the Imperial War Museum North

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The Imperial War Museum opened their first branch outside the South-East of England in Salford Quays in 2002 in a landmark building, designed by Daniel Libeskind. Since opening the museum has welcomed more than a million visitors. I've visited before but not since Bud's arrival, and Red Rose Daddy had never visited so we were pleased, and curious, to be invited to spend a few hours there on Sunday morning, to see the museum and the new exhibition 'Once Upon a Wartime'

The exhibition features five children's novels set in wartime. Opening with War Horse by Michael Morpurgo then taking the visitor through Carrie's War by Nina Bawden, Robert Westall's The Machine Gunners, The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailier and, finally, Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley.
The exhibition is very interactive with features for even the littlest children to get involved in. Bud loved The Machine Gunners exhibition most, with it's recreated air raid shelter and tunnel to crawl through. His Daddy had to crawl through first but Bud soon realised what he had to do and happily crawled back and forth, quite a traffic jam formed at times as this was popular with other little ones too. 

He also loved the Carrie's War exhibition which featured a mock up of Hepzibah's farmhouse kitchen, and a model train doing laps on it's track. Bud and the other toddlers present loved waiting for the train to reappear each time.
The 'War Horse' section featured props and a script from the recent film adaptation, a great opportunity to see these for fans of the book and the film. 

Older children were well served by the exhibition too, a trail was provided which lead them through and invited them to complete different activities associate with each book. For example, 'The Silver Sword' gives a list of 'Can You' survival actions like riding a horse, fixing a bike tyre or winking. Children are asked to tick off those that they can do and asks which new skills they would like to learn. The exhibition tells the story of each book effectively and kept our interest throughout.

After seeing 'Once Upon a Wartime' we had a look around the main exhibition space which holds the national Imperial War collection for 1914 onwards. It uses a timeline to take you through the major conflicts on the 20th and 21st century, with the addition of five 'silos' which focus on the human aspect of war. There are some really striking exhibits in this space including a Harrier Jump Jet (which, if I remember correctly had to be lowered into the building before the roof was completed), a sculpture called 'The Crusader' by Gerry Judah
There is also a piece of the destroyed World Trade Centre (that I foolishly forgot to photograph). I found this, in particular to be very moving. To come so close to a relic from an event which changed the world more than any other in my lifetime was deeply affecting.

On the hour the main exhibition becomes a projection screen for the 'Big Picture Show'. A series of six films are screened on the walls of the room. This is amazingly effective if you sit in the central part of the space and you can fully take in the 360° experience which is told through photographs, art and commentary. We saw the 'Children and War' film and really enjoyed it. 

During half-term the museum is opening it's 'Learning Zone' for craft activities relating to the new exhibition, between 1 and 4pm. We had a session in there and I was a little sceptical that Bud would enjoy it but I was really, pleasantly surprised. The room was large and airy and featured activities suitable for a wide range of ages. The older children were invited to sit and make a keepsake book to take home with them, a member of staff told a story with a puppet about life in the women's Land Army during the Second World War and there was lots of drawing and colouring stations too. Bud loved it. He coloured on a picture of a horse and then played in the toddler's area which featured wooden bricks, a play tunnel and lots of books. 
The Imperial War Museum features a great restaurant with a mixture of hot and cold foods. As we had an early start we called in for a snack before they started to serve hot food but Bud was very pleased with his 'rations pack'. This was a self selection buffet pack for children, where they could choose 5 items for £3:95. I was really pleased to see packs of cherry tomatoes, fromage frais and fresh fruit as options. The options for hot food looked really tasty and were priced competitively too. The restaurant is spacious and has a panoramic view of the Quays below, and BBC Media City on the other side.

We finished our session by taking a trip to the top of the Air Shard and it's viewing platform. Unfortunately it was a horrible day and visibility was really low. We couldn't see many of the landmarks that were pointed out on the signs around the platform. Manchester United's ground is around 200m away and we couldn't even see that! There is a small charge to enter the Air Shard and, if visibility is poor, I really wouldn't bother. The tower itself is very striking from the inside but you would need a fine day to make the most of seeing the views around the Quays. It is also worth pointing out that, if you have any fear of lifts or heights it may not be for you. The lift was a bit bumpy as it moved up and down and the floor of the viewing platform is a metal grille which may make those with fears unhappy.
We had a great time at the Imperial War Museum and I was really impressed that a museum covering such a serious topic could be so toddler friendly. We will definitely be returning and, best of all, admission is free! Car parking costs £4 but is valid all day so you could use the car park as a base for walking around the Quays, perhaps to the Lowry or Media City.  

The 'Once Upon a Wartime' exhibition is open until 2nd September, with a full supporting activities programme. The museum's excellent website can give you a complete guide to what is on and when.  

We were invited to attend the exhibition as guests of the Imperial War Museum and received free car parking, lunch for Bud and free admission to the Air Shard. The thoughts and opinions are all my own. 

Tuesday 14/02/12 'Bed Head' (45/366)

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Bud slept late this morning and I snapped this when I brought him downstairs. He was saying 'cheese' for the camera and I can really see how grown up he is getting lately!

This is my favourite photo of this week so I have chosen to link it up at The Boy and Me. Click on the badge below to add yours or to view the other entries

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Monday 13/02/12 'Drink?' (44/366)

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Bud likes making his animals 'talk' to one another at the moment. This mainly involves making the animals' noises at the other one. I'm not quite sure what was going on here but I think it looks like cow is asking bear if he would like another drink.

Sunday 12/02/12 'Air Shard' (43/366)

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Saturday 11/02/12 'Boat' (42/366)

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Bud commandeered this box and imformed me that it was a boat. Hours of fun for a small boy!

Friday 10/02/12 Oi! (41/366)

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Just catching up with the last 3 day's photos after a crazy, busy weekend. This was taken at Bud's Grandad's Birthday meal on Friday night. We all had a lovely evening with family and good friends.

Thursday 09/02/12 '60' (40/366)

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Bud's Grandad was 60 today!

Wednesday 08/02/12 'Waiting' (39/366)

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I think Bud was really ready for his toast and juice at our Toddler group this morning!

Are you Ready for Winter?

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A few months ago we were driving back from York and ended up one missed petrol station away from breaking down in the car as we had nearly run out of fuel. We don't have Breakdown Cover and., with a tired Bud in his car seat in the back of the car this would have been a bit of a disaster. Thankfully my local knowledge meant that we found Tesco, filled up and got home without further event but it got me thinking about our preparations for Winter and how often we forget to sort the car out in addition to making sure we are wrapped up well.

Red Rose Daddy is off work this week so he will be sorting out our Breakdown Cover, filling up the screen wash in the car, stocking up on anti-freeze and de-icer and making sure our snow shovel, a thick blanket, tow rope and an ice scraper are in the boot of the car, just in case anything should happen if we have to go somewhere in the snow. He'll also be making sure that our tyre pressure is OK, our tyres are quite new so we shouldn't have any problems with those. I'm firmly of the 'no non-essential travel' school of thought when the snow falls and we are lucky in that we have everything on our doorstep so can tramp through the snow for our bread and milk. We've also bought a sledge for Bud so we can pull him around on that if the last few years' snowfall is repeated. Last Winter I was virtually housebound with an 8 month old Bud and I don't want to repeat that. I'm really afraid of breaking down with Bud in the car. I know we wouldn't be stranded as such, because both of our Dad's would definitely come and get us if we needed them to but I would rather not have to! I'm trying to train Red Rose Daddy to stop letting the fuel gauge run down to where the display stops telling you how many miles you have left to go and refuel at about 50 miles to go but it is a long process. Until that point I'll be using the Sat Nav to find fuel stations in unfamiliar places when we are next away from home. 

Are you ready for Winter? 

 This is a sponsored post.

Tuesday 07/02/12 'Bracelet' (38/366)

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I was lucky enough to win this beautiful bracelet from Merci Maman in a competition over on Transatlantic Blonde's blog before Christmas. I've wanted to share it for a while and today was definitely lacking in inspiration so here it is! There are 2 charms on the leather cord bracelet, one is shaped like a little boy and has Bud's initial on each side, the other is a heart with Bud's name on one side and his (real!) name on the other. I chose the gold plated charms as I have very little gold jewellery and I thought it would be a lovely change. I love my bracelet so much and wear it most days. The great thing is that, if I have any more children, I can send it back to Merci Maman and pay to have some new charms added with their names too. 

Kopi Coffee - Gourmet Coffee by Post

21:47 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

There seems to be postal subscription services for all sorts of products these days, beauty boxes, chocolates etc,   where you pay a monthly fee and receive a parcel each month containing something lovely. I've seen all different types but the coffee subscription service from Kopi was a new one to me. I was given the opportunity to receive a delivery from Kopi and, as a huge coffee fan, I was very happy to take advantage of it!

Kopi are, in their own words, 'dedicated to bringing you outstanding single-estate coffees from around the world. Beautiful, freshly-roasted brews you won’t find in the usual places - delivered straight to your doorstep, once a month.' I was very curious to receive my first parcel and was not disappointed.

The parcel fit through my letterbox (it will apparently fit through 95% of letterboxes) and comes in the form of a flat cardboard box. You open it to reveal a large, resealable bag of coffee (apparently enough for 25 cups), 3 Caramelised biscuits and comprehensive notes. 
The notes are excellent and give a full description of the coffee's origins. The coffee I was sent was 'Mexican Terruño Nayarita Reserva', the notes explain what makes the coffee a Reserva, this is a result of the high quality of the production of the coffee - with less than 5% insect damage and 1% unripe fruit. The notes also include the ability to track your coffee by visiting a website and entering the unique code supplied with your leaflet. When I followed these instructions I learned that my bag was one of only 21 produced in it's lot and the precise mill and exporting company responsible for it. The tasting notes section explains that Mexican coffee is regarded as being mild and easy to drink.

Full instructions for brewing your coffee are included in the notes, along with the suggestion to add an extra spoonful as the coffee is relatively mild. I brewed in my cafetiere for 3 minutes, as suggested. I love the aroma of brewing coffee and this was not a disappointment. It smelled fantastic, really smooth and rich. The taste was even better, with a creaminess, and yet a citrus fruitiness to it. I could drink this coffee all day. 

Subscription packages are available from £7 (if you pay for 12 months upfront), £8 (on a six month package) or £9 for the rolling monthly subscription. You can choose between grounds or beans, depending on which is the most convenient for you. I think the service is an excellent idea for coffee fans. It can be really difficult to taste different types of coffee as merchants are few and far between and the ranges supplied by the high street chains and the supermarkets can be repetitive and limited. Even at £9 the price is around that of 3 cups from the average high street coffee shop, many coffee lovers would spend more than this in a week. This service offers different coffees each month, chosen by experts, and the notes provided are a good source of information about each bag. I also think that this service would be an excellent gift idea for the coffee lover in your life, especially one who is difficult to buy gifts for. 

I was sent a subscription package free of charge by Kopi, the opinions contained within the review are all my own. 

Monday 06/02/12 'Dance' (37/366)

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Bud was dancing around to something on TV and I took this without using my flash. I really liked the effect. 

Silent Sunday

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Snow Fun

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I've posted before about the fantastic country park we have on our doorstep. We regularly have a wander down with Bud so he can talk to the ducks (the conversation is a little one sided, mainly involving Bud saying 'duck, duck, quack, quack but we all enjoy it). The park is blessed with a few reasonably sized hills so it was perfect for Bud's first sledging trip today. We went out with Bud's uncle, our friend and our niece and nephew and three sledges and I thought I would share a few photos with you.

We have been ready for snow since October, I believe that the forecast promised us snow in November so we bought a sledge and a snowsuit for Bud so we would be well prepared. He was well layered today, to keep him warm. I dressed him in a vest, a short romper suit (tucked into his welly socks), a long sleeved t-shirt and jogging bottoms, a fleece jumper, wellies and his snow suit. He looked like a mini Michelin man but we were confident he would be warm!

We walked (and sledged a little) through the graveyard to get to the park. I don't think the trains were running today

The snow made it look very pretty. I was very moved by a beautiful snowman that had been made next to the grave of a toddler. It made me feel very sad and realise how lucky I am.
Our niece and nephew made Snow Angels in the field. Lego Boy was a bit surprised that the print in the snow actually looked like an angel when he got up.
When we got into the park, Bud and his Daddy went sledging down the hill, Bud wasn't too sure while the sledge was at full speed but he was laughing by the time he got down to the bottom. 
We said hello to the 'ducks' who were a little bemused because we hadn't brought them any bread. I don't think they were enjoying the snow as much as we were. 
By the end of the day, the big kids were sledging more than the smaller ones. They were a bit more daring too, in fact Bud's uncle almost ended up in the lake! 

I'm linking up with the Country Kids posts at Coombe Mill. Head on over there by clicking on the badge below to add yours and to see lots of other children enjoying the snow.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday 05/02/12 'A Walk In the Snow' (36/366)

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I'm linking this photo up to The Boy and Me's Project 366 link up. Click on the badge below to enter yours or to look at this week's other entries.
TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday 04/02/12 'Snow?' (35/366)

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What a busy weekend again! My niece's birthday and the snow has kept us busy so I'm a day late posting Saturday's photo. This was Bud's first 'proper' experience of snow and he was a bit amazed by it!

03/02/12 'Toast' (34/366)

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This is actually a plastic slice of toast from his toy toaster. Bud thinks it is hilarious to pretend to eat it.

Thursday 02/02/12 'Haircut' (33/366)

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Bud had his second haircut today. It wasn't as good as his first, I am starting to think that we need to have some of the length cut away and more shaped in to the nape of his neck next time, We shall see. He is sitting in his new car seat as Daddy had to take it out of the car to take his Explorer Scouts on an outing tonight. I won the Bebecar car seat from a competition over at Mummy Daddy and Me Makes Three and it is really great.

Wednesday 01/02/12 Which Colour? (32/366)

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Bud is very into crayoning at the moment, in fact, at our Toddlers group he ignores any other craft available and goes straight for the crayons. I'm just pleased that he is starting to take an interest in something vaguely creative!

Giveaway: Win a Valentine's Prize with NPW Gifts

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I posted before Christmas about the great selection of funky, affordable gifts that NPW Gifts have available on their website and I was really pleased to see that they have a great range of Valentine's gifts available at the moment. These would be perfect little surprises for the special person in your life and, as many of the gifts are beauty-related, would be a lovely way of making yourself feel special before that special Valentine's night out.

The gifts are really affordable and range in price upwards from just 95p for this cute lip-shaped soap
NPW Gifts have offered me a selection of their Valentine's gifts to give away to one lucky winner. 

One winner will receive:
A Nourishing Heart Hand Cream - a lovely little pot of Sweet Pea hand cream, perfect for popping into your handbag.
A pack of heart shaped rose bath petals -  from 'We Live Like This', perfect for a luxurious Valentine's bath.
Love Lip Balm (colour to be confirmed) - a moisturising and nourishing lip balm in gift packaging, with space for your own message.
To enter this competition, just follow the simple instructions in the Rafflecopter form below. 

For another chance to win, head on over to NPW Gifts as they are giving away a selection of Valentine's Gifts on their homepage.

a Rafflecopter giveaway