Monday, 24 January 2022

Retreat at The Greenhouse Christian Centre, Poole

Review of my weeks retreat at the Greenhouse Christian Centre Poole in December 2021

In early December last year, I stayed at The Greenhouse Christian Centre in Poole for four nights and I had the most amazing time. Some of that was because I met profoundly with Jesus and the Holy Spirit did a lot of healing work in me, but much of that was possible because I was staying in a wonderful and anointed retreat centre with a hospitality-focused team. It's therefore my joy to share with you a review of my time at The Greenhouse Christian Centre. 


The Greenhouse Christian Centre is actually located between Westbourne and Branksome but has a Poole address. It is just under two miles to Bournemouth town centre and nearly five to Poole. You can easily get a train into Bournemouth mainline station and catch a bus, or if you get off the train at Branksome it is about a 10/15 minute walk, depending on how leisurely you want to walk. 

I found the location really convenient as someone who travelled by public transport, as the quaint town of Westbourne is about a ten-minute walk and there you can find coffee shops, restaurants, take-aways and shops. Or you can get to the woodland chines and access the gorgeous Bournemouth beaches by walking for about 20 minutes. 

It would be easy to find my using a sat nav if you are driving and there is plenty of parking available.


Review of my weeks retreat at the Greenhouse Christian Centre Poole in December 2021

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Beauty Recommendations for Looking after Yourself in 2022

Beauty recommendations for 2022 from a woman in her late forties, wanting to look after herself more this year.
Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash
{As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}

Finally, in my late forties, I seem to be looking after myself better. I've always enjoyed wearing make-up and doing my hair but I have been absolutely hopeless at looking after my skin or having any kind of beauty regime. Thankfully, God seems to have blessed me with good skin and I've got away with it, but no longer, I realise I'm ageing and need a change. So let me share with you some of the products I've been using in recent times and I'm loving.

Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Revealing Liquid Peel - £16 for 100ml

This is a fairly new product to me, I've been using it for just a few months but even in that short time, I am really finding it effective. I had thought that my face was looking a bit dull but this has cheered it up no end and I have that lovely glow again. The product has a gentle exfoliator in it and you apply it to dry skin and as you massage it in you can feel these little balls forming and they are supposed to collect up your dry skin cells and any dirt/ grime that is there. You then rinse it off your face and it really is very satisfying to use. 

You just need one or two small pumps for each use, so I think the 100ml bottle will last me quite some time and provide good value. When I was younger I probably would have opted for a supermarket fash wash in a much bigger size for under a fiver but as I get older I realise that you do get what you pay for. I also really like the values of Body Shop (#ad) and I'm happy to buy from a sustainable brand with good green credentials, using natural products. 

Thursday, 13 January 2022

4 bucket list ideas for 2022

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Another year has rolled around.

And while the previous two have been distinctly more… unique than those that came before them, the uncertainty for many has only renewed our desire to push ourselves that little bit further and expect more out of life.

So it’s no surprise that as New Year rolls around we’re more motivated than ever to cross a few items off our bucket lists and level up our ambitions when it comes to those annual resolutions. With that in mind, these are just four of the most common bucket list entries – how many are on yours?  

1. Renovate your home

Maybe your home is full of odd jobs that you’ve been putting off since the day you moved in. Or perhaps the DIY renovations you began in lockdown have fallen by the wayside, and still need that final push to finish them off.

Take it one room – or even one task – at a time. Draw up a list of priorities and work through them as and when you’re ready. Resolutions don’t have to be done all at once – turn it into a long-term and sustainable project, I'm certainly going to. The bathroom is the first on the hit-list as I need to clean up the grout, or maybe even dig it all out and re-grout it as it can make such a difference to how fresh the room looks. 

Friday, 7 January 2022

Review: Spa Day at Ashford International Hotel, Kent

Review of a day spa at the Ashford International Hotel, Kent, booked via Red Letter Days.

Back in November a friend and I spent the day at the spa at the Ashford International Hotel (it was a weekday, term-time visit). It wasn't somewhere either of us had been to before but with a 4-star rating, I was hopeful for a good experience. In truth, my expectations weren't too high as I know I'm pretty fussy and the day had only cost me  £87 for two of us to have the spa day with lunch and 50 minutes of treatments. So at, £43.50 each it was a real bargain, having bought it on Red Letter Days with one of their excellent discounts (definitely sign up for their mailing list, where you often get offered 10 - 25% off their deals).

Booking and Before the Day

The voucher was easy enough to buy from Red Letter Days and I had to call Q Hotels central reservations to make the booking, which was fine but I found it a bit odd that they didn't email or send a confirmation. They just gave me a booking number and apparently, this is all they do.

Once I'd booked I had a few questions to ask about the robes, lunch and treatments but the customer service was pretty awful. It took me around two weeks to actually get to speak to someone at the hotel spa. When I did, Liberty was very pleasant and helpful, but I didn't like having to chase for answers when my questions were so simple.

Arrival at the Hotel

The hotel was easy to find and there was plenty of parking available. There is a direct entrance by the spa and I'd arranged to meet my friend in the hotel lounge, so I just wandered through. The lounge and public areas are really nice, very well set-out to allow for private space and we had a very enjoyable coffee before going through to the spa. Although it was a pricey coffee at £3.85 for a regular cappuccino, so lucky it was good. 

Friday, 31 December 2021

Reasons to be Cheerful - New Years Eve Edition

Hey friends. It's New Year's Eve and about 8.30pm as I start to craft this post, and this will be the extent of my celebration tonight. Watching TV, crafting blog posts and reflecting back on my year whilst enjoying an espresso martini, that I hope will be OK with the ibuprofen I took earlier as I have a poorly knee. 

I really don't mind that I'm not out partying as it has been the strangest of Christmas times. Covid ripped through the community where I live and by Boxing Day we had around 40 people either positive or isolating. Thank goodness we were closed for business and have around 150 bedrooms, so everyone could safely isolate. It did mean that not many of us were left to hold the fort and to ensure that around 60 people were fed and taken care of.  As always, I'm so proud of each member of my family, who stepped up and did what they could to ensure that even one person's day was a bit brighter than it could have been. 

We're now coming out the other side and the General Directors are back on-site to manage the situation and people are reaching the end of their isolation and testing negative so they can come back to regular life. I have been so astounded and grateful that no one in our family has tested positive, neither by regular LFTs nor by PCR test. I think I can safely say God's hand of protection has been upon us. 

We haven't completely escaped ill health though as my hubby has a nasty cold and I've done something to my knee, which means I have pain, tenderness and numbness in my knee and leg. I think God is telling me to rest up, which is a shame as I really fancied heading to Birling Gap tomorrow, just like I did last New Years Day. Oh well, there is always another day!

Before Covid struck it had been a very nice December and I wanted to share a few photos for future memories and give thanks to the Lord for some great times. Despite my parents/ brother not being able to come for Christmas and our Christmas and New Year plans getting cancelled I have had one of the best December ever and that is a testament to the work Christ has been doing in me this last year. 

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Christmas at Bedgebury - Lights Trail: Your Questions Answered

Everything you need to know for a successful visit to Christmas at Bedgebury (Kent) to see the lights trail. It's a fabulous!

I am so pleased that we finally got to experience Christmas at Bedgebury this year. We were booked to visit last year but Covid stopped that, but no cancellations this year and despite high infection rates, as it is all outside we felt very comfortable to go along and enjoy the festive feel! First off, I can honestly tell you, it is such a lovely trail to walk with your friends or family and we will definitely be booking again for next year.

There are quite a few places that offer these kinds of Christmas lights trails now and if you book to go along to Bedgebury, you won't be disappointed for sure! There are over 1 million lights at Bedgebury and fifteen distinct areas, each with its own distinct sounds. It really is the most magical woodland walk and Bedgebury is a great setting for this light trail. 

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Theatre Tokens, the Perfect Gift this Christmas

Photo by Gwen King on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

I'm all about making memories; I'd much rather experience something and spend time with a friend or loved one than receive a physical gift. I probably won't remember the coat my husband bought me in ten years time but you can bet that I remember the trip to Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria I took 31 years ago. That was my first taste of going to the theatre in London and I have never looked back; I absolutely adore it and I'd go every week if I could. 

Moving from Hertfordshire to East Sussex nine years ago scuppered my regular theatre trips a little as it takes a lot more planning when you are no longer 25 minutes from central London but my trips to the West End are one thing that has not stopped. Even after the Covid chaos of the last couple of years, I managed to see Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in August, The Prince of Egypt in September and Cinderella, The Musical in October.

Then Miss M and I are off to London for the weekend in early January and we are planning to see a show and this is why I have asked my family for a Theatre Tokens gift card for Christmas. This way we can go along to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square to secure on-the-day tickets at a cut-price, or if we won't be in London for when the booth opens at 11.30am we can even go online now and book for a show later that day and still secure the discounts available. That is such a great addition for those of us who live further out of London and are trying to use rail discount cards so can't travel too early. 

Out of interest, I just had a look today to see what I could secure if I was booking for a matinee or evening show today and I was thrilled to see there are great discounts available -

  • & Juliet - best stall seats for £47.80 each (40% off)
  • The Woman in Black - best stall seats for £31.55 (47% off)
  • Life of Pi - in the stalls of Dress circle for £30 (66% off)
  • Mary Poppins - in the best stall setas for £49.50 (46% off)
  • Les Miserables - in the best stall seats for £49.50 (48%)

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Bringing Special Moments to Life with Bonusprint Photo Books

{This is a collaborative post}

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I adore printed photos, photo books and photo gifts. Of course, the invention of the digital camera and the camera phone has made life immensely easy but if we're not careful, it can also steal a little of the joy. Photos are made to be printed and to be looked at time and time again. Think of those boxes of photos that can be found in your grandparent's loft, all dog-eared and fading but so important nonetheless. 

You might enjoy scrolling back through Instagram to see what you did a year ago and I think there is a place for that but there is nothing like looking through paper photos with your family or friends. The feel of them, the smell and the excitement of seeing what is in the next album, packet or box; it is so evocative and I can easily find a tear sliding down my cheek or a belly laugh rising up inside me as I relive what was happening when the image was captured.

Advent and the run-up to Christmas is a favourite time of mine and one of the reasons for that is I get to relive my year as I go through my photos looking for what will become a kitchen calendar for my mum, our family Christmas letter and the thank you cards. It's become a tradition that I'll make all these from our photos. 

Then you have my dad, who is the kind of man who wants nothing for any occasion, such as Christmas or his birthday. So I tend to either give him a gift that will allow him to make memories, like a voucher for the theatre or afternoon tea, or I'll make something like a photo book or short video reel with themed photos and video clips from a specific time. I suspect there are many people like my dad who you find it difficult to choose a meaningful gift for, so my suggestion to you for this year is to make them a photo book.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

5 Christmas Movies to Watch with Family

Image Source:

{This is a collaborative post}

When it comes to Christmas, there's a lot to be happy about, and one of the highlights for many of us is, of course, watching Christmas films. There's something for everyone, whether you enjoy classics or comedies. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, a huge warm blanket, and your Christmas spirit because these holiday films are about to light up your life like a Christmas tree.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

A Charlie Brown Christmas is a 1965 animated television special that was the first to be based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, the holiday classic was premiered on CBS. This 25-minute film begins with Charlie Brown finding himself depressed despite the holiday season around the corner, and Lucy, the lovely neighbourhood child psychiatrist, suggests that he put on a neighbourhood Christmas play.

However, his best efforts are rejected when he chooses a small Christmas tree as the centrepiece. Luckily, it has a joyful ending thanks to the unstoppable combination of Linus' heartfelt message about the true meaning of Christmas and the undeniable power of catchy jazz music. If you miss the live broadcast on TV, you can still watch the movie online on Apple TV+. The message at the centre of this never grows old!

Monday, 29 November 2021

Trying out Love Leggings - Energise and Revitalise Sports Leggings - Which to Choose?

Love Leggings - Great for all kinds of activities, even tree climbing!

{This is a review post, many thanks Love Leggings for the sports leggings you sent to my daughter}

OK, the first thing I have to tell you is that if you order some Love Leggings you won't be disappointed. We have been happy customers for just under three years now and one of my 14-year-old twins Miss E doesn't wear any other leggings apart from them. We've had both the regular leggings and the sports specific ones and she swears by them. So many leggings go thin on the bum, come away at the seams or show off your knicker line but not so with the Love Leggings.

For the last couple of years, Miss E has been wearing both Focus and Energise sports leggings and she has been really happy in both styles. More recently she has also been sent a pair of Revitalise leggings to try out too and this means she has now tried all three styles of sports leggings that Love Leggings currently sell.

Energise - £35

Energise are ultra-lightweight compression leggings so they have a little extra support. Miss E finds these perfect for running as they have pockets for her phone, keys etc. Made from 80% nylon and 20% elastane, these leggings have added lycra for 4 ways stretch. They feature a high-rise waistband, distinctive seam design and are sweat-wicking. They also encompass shape-retention technology so they hold their shape for the life of the product. 

Both my girls have had Energise leggings for well over a year and even with constant wear, they have never faded colour, bobbled, or lost their shape. Miss E has worn some of hers so much that they have naturally worn out for that is after months and months of wear and I have been very happy with their longevity. 

Energise leggings are available in regular, tall and petite ranges, with sizes 6 through to 28. It is so nice to find a brand that is inclusive and made for women of all shapes and sizes. You can get them in full length, 7/8ths and cropped styles. Currently, they are available in black and thunder blue.