Saturday, 25 September 2021

10 Reasons to Fall in Love with York

Ten reasons why you need to plan a visit to York. It has something for everyone and is easily accessible.

In early August we were lucky enough to spend a week staying at a friends house (a vicarage no less) on the outskirts of the city of York, which is the traditional county town of Yorkshire. I absolutely fell in love with the place and considering I no longer consider myself a townie, having lived in the countryside for the last eight years, I think this is a bit of a feat and therefore I wanted to share just a few of the reasons why I think York is a fabulous place to take a city break, or in fact, to set up home.

1.  There is so much history

The skyline is dominated by the 13th-century Gothic cathedral, York Minster. It is absolutely stunning with gorgeous stained glass and working bell towers. It seems to have been preserved really well and is humongous in stature, being the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. If you wish to view it as a tourist there is a charge, or you can go along and enjoy one of the daily services without having to pay. It is also quite fun that there is a walking ghost tour from outside the Minster each evening at 7.30pm. 

People meeting outside for the evening ghost tour

Sunday, 19 September 2021

A Room fit for a Teenager with The Fine Bedding Company

{This is a review post - we received a duvet free of charge for the purpose of an honest review}

My twin girls are now 14 and boy are they growing up quickly. Both of them are absorbed by Tik Tok, Instagram and everything glamorous, shiny and modern. If we had infinite money I can just imagine what their bedrooms would look like, they'd be beautiful; but this is real life and we don't have loads of disposable income. So it is time to makeover the girl's bedrooms in a creative way.

Miss E has been asking for a double bed for a long time now, she even started to save up her own money to buy it herself but I was loath to waste a good single bed and thus we have held off. Then JJ's bed broke and was beyond repair so he happily had Miss E's bed base and a new mattress as he can't fit a double in his room and this left an opening for us to get a new double bed for Miss E. 

She knew exactly what she wanted and we shopped around and found a good double divan with drawers and pocket sprung mattress for an excellent price, so we were very pleased. Of course, she then needed some new bedding to go with it and luckily The Fine Bedding Company had been in touch with me about reviewing one of their duvets.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Fantastic Steak at Flat Iron, Denmark Street, London

Review of our weekday evening meal at Flat Iron Denmark Street, London

Have you heard of the London based restaurant brand Flat Iron before? I hadn't until last month when they were recommended in a theatre group on FB. My family were heading up to London for my husbands birthday and after the theatre, I wanted something nice for us all to eat that wasn't going to cost the heart but that felt like a bit of a treat. Well, steak always feels like a treat but normally it costs a fair amount too. Not so with Flat Iron!

Monday, 13 September 2021

8 Considerations when Planning to Move into a New Home

Eight essential areas to think about before you move into your new home. Planning now will make a difference when you move in.
Photo by Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Buying a new home is always exciting but it can be a little daunting too, as there are so many factors you need to think about and often new houses come with a to-do list as long as your arm. You probably chose your new home due to its location and/ or size but that doesn't always mean it is all ready for you to move into. 

So here are some pointers for a few areas to think through once you have secured your sale but prior to moving in -

1.  Insurance cover in place 

In England, once you have exchanged contracts the house is your responsibility to have insured, so make sure you have good building cover ready to go. You don't want anything to happen and then not to be covered, that would be the worst, incurring costs without ever having moved in. 

2.  Renovations

Does the layout of the house meet the needs of your family? Would it suit better if it had an open-plan downstairs, or do you need a small extension to convert into the granny flat? If you have the money available it may be easier to do these kinds of renovations before you move in and have all your belongings everywhere. Or maybe it would work to just move into the upstairs of your home whilst the downstairs is worked on. There are lots of possible solutions and it is definitely worth speaking to your architect or builder as they may offer solutions that have never even occurred to you. Remember they've probably seen and done it all before.  

3.  Decorating required?

What redecoration is needed and how quickly do you want to get it done? Plan out a timeline of when you'll be doing the decorating or do you want someone to come in for you? If you want someone else to do it seek quoted in good time as the best tradespeople get booked up well in advance. It might be worth leaving one of two rooms empty or with just boxes/ furniture in the middle covered with dust clothes so you can decorate before they get in the way and you don't have to be moving things unnecessarily. 

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Embracing the Great Outdoors with Regatta Edgepoint Walking Boots

{This is a review post: we received the walking boots
free of charge in exchange for an honest review}

It's so important to me to get outside and to be amongst nature. I know that I am calmer, less anxious and more happy when I have spent time walking through the forests or exploring somewhere new. Getting out for a nice long walk also provides me with a great excuse to spend some time with my near 18-year-old son. I'm becoming very aware that I only have a year before he'll head off to university and I'll only see him occasionally. 

Today we headed out to Hertsmonceux Castle which isn't too far from home but JJ has never been there before. I was excited as it was just the two of us and he had his new Regatta walking boots to wear in, before he heads off on a long hike next weekend. 

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Helping your Teenagers enjoy a trip to National Trust Beningborough Hall, York

Teenagers, they are a funny thing. In my experience, one minute they are still your little child, holding your hand and cuddling up to you on the sofa and then the next they want nothing to do with you and you are so embarrassing! Despite this, I actually love being a parent to teens and I find them great fun to be around. I've known from the start that my job as a parent wasn't to be their friend, it was to train and nurture them, so they grow up to be great human beings.

I know many parents have given up trying to get their hormonal teenagers to go out for the day with them, but I am persevering and as long as we have a nice treat in the cafe they tend to be quite tolerant and enjoy their time out with me.

Whilst we were on holiday in early August we headed to Beningborough Hall, a very nice National Trust site in York. I had the normal groans when I announced that we heading there, but they soon got into it and had a good time. 

I thought it would useful if I shared a few tips for getting your teens to enjoy going out and spending time with you. I tend to be quiet relaxed with them, as I find the tighter I try to control the outing and their behaviour, the more they want to be contrary.

Give your teen space to be who they are. 

We're all different. We wouldn't expect our adult friends to like all the same things as us, so why would we expect it of our children? On the day we visited my twin teens were pretty tired and they both decided that some of the benches looked like good places to have a lie-down. Not something I'd do but they weren't hurting anyone, so why not?

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Holidaying in the UK: Planning for All Eventualities

{This is a collaborative post}

More and more of us are choosing to stay in the UK for our holiday this year and I suspect it may become a trend over the next few years as well, as people recover financially and emotionally from the scars of Covid 19. 

Personally, I love going on holiday here as we have such a beautiful country and there is so much to explore, with great diversity in our towns, countryside and coastline. There is no need for holidaying in the UK to be looked down on as the poor relation to foreign travel. It is far more kind to our world, it can save you a decent amount of money and you know the language!

In the last couple of years, we have explored so much more of our home county, East Sussex and found some real gems for days out. Also, we have also stayed in West Sussex, Kent, Yorkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and London and I can honestly say the only thing we have missed is the guaranteed sunshine and massive swimming pools that you tend to get abroad. I've found that going on holiday with the right attitude and knowing that the holiday will be more about exploring a new area, eating great food and enjoying time as a family has allowed us to not feel as if we have missed out. 

Of course, things can go wrong on holiday here in the UK, just the same as they can anywhere else so it is important to be ready and prepared as you can be. Here are a few things to think about and organise before your holiday, so that you can have the most stress-free time whilst you're away. 

Monday, 23 August 2021

Making your Home really Special with Floately

Post introducing the Arsai floating plant pot and Volta levitating light bulb from Floatley

{This is a collaborative post}

They say that home is where the heart is and that is so true for me. I love being at home and I even start to miss my home when I have been away on holiday for a length of time. I know most people never want to return from their holiday but I'm that odd person who likes to go back and get into my usual routine.

As my home is such a sanctuary for me I love it to look nice and to be able to welcome friends over to enjoy the space with us. We are lucky enough to live on the grounds of a Christian conference centre and we usually have around forty to fifty young people living here at any one time. So, we are never short of guests to come over and enjoy a meal or some games with us.

We've found that with each new set of young people who come over there are certain things that are always a talking point. They love our gallery photo wall on the stairs and enjoy seeing pictures of all my family when we were much younger. They also always enjoy checking out Miss E's artwork on the walls as she has a real talent and we have some interesting pieces collected from the last six or seven years.

I have been looking for some new contemporary decorative pieces to add to our lounge and kitchen spaces in recent times, as these are rooms that get used a lot and I think it will be good to have some more items that attract the attention of our guests.

Let me introduce you to Floatley, a company that supply stylish floating home decor items. They have a lovely range of items from floating blue tooth speakers, to plant pots, to all different lights and lamps. 

Sunday, 22 August 2021

6 Situations where Self Storage could be your Perfect Answer

Six reasons why renting a self-storage unit might suit your cirumstances
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

I suspect that like me there have been times when you have felt your house is bursting at the seams and you just need some more space.  But upgrading to a new house is financially impossible and getting rid of some of your treasured things just feels too heart wrenching, Never fear there are other solutions, which mean you can restore your house to uncluttered harmony.

You may never have considered using self-storage before but it is so practical and there are so many of them now, that you can almost always get once fairly close to home and you're free to access it whenever you like (within the site operating hours). Here, I'll share six situations where self-storage could be the right answer.

1. Your home is undergoing major renovations

You might be adding an extension, changing the layout or just refurbishing some of the most used rooms. Whichever it is, it probably won't be practical to move all the belongings from those rooms into other rooms in the house if you are planning to still live there whilst the renovation goes on. So why not invest in self-storage for the short term. Now Self Storage is a family run business, established for over ten years with a number of sites across the country.

2.  When you're moving house

A number of years back my husband and I both switched jobs at the same time and this meant we had to move out of the house that had come with our jobs. We invested in a new build flat and were excited to move in but sadly there were delays and it turned out we needed to find somewhere to stay for two or three months. Thankfully, my husbands, Nan gave us a room, but we had to take a storage container to house all our stuff, as there was no room for it all in his Nana's 2 bedroom house. 

Friday, 20 August 2021

Visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London

At the beginning of July, my Mum and I took a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens or Kew Gardens as many know it.  Despite having lived about 25 miles away for much of my life I had never visited, and nor had my mum so we were really looking forward to exploring and Kew Gardens didn't disappoint us.

Getting there

The drive up to Kew from Woking along the M3/ A316 was easy and took about 35 minutes, I was heading for the Kew Ferry Lane car park, which is £7 for the whole day and I thought this was very reasonable for London. However, before we even reached the car park we saw loads of spaces around Kew Green and we were able to park right in front of Elizabeth Gate and enter there. It cost us £5.65 to park there for 4 hours using the RingGo app and at the time Mum and I thought this would be fine, but we actually could have done with double that time. I'd say leave at least six hours free if you want to have a good explore and enjoy some lunch/ a coffee. 

There are good public transport links to get to Kew Gardens - 

  • a mainline train stationat Kew Bridge, just 800 meters walk to Elizabeth Gate, 
  • Kew Gardens tube station for the District Line and LOndon Overground
  • Bus routes 65, 110, 237 and 267 all come close by
  • There are bike racks at each of the four entrance gates and note that bikes, scooters, skates, skateboards etc are not allowed to be used within the gardens