Thursday, 17 June 2021

Which Quick-Step Vinyl is Your Preference?

{This is a collaborative post}


A person's home can say a lot about who they are and what is important to them. It's interesting to see all their design choices, furniture and fixtures in place, giving an idea of who they are and what they like.

With this in mind, what floor you put in the home could be a major factor to decide upon before you fit out the rest to match your vision. Thanks to luxury vinyl flooring you can get to explore your potential vision at a fraction of the cost and hassle you may experience with products such as real hardwood.

With quick step luxury vinyl, you have a wider choice for much less. It's a great choice!

Light Wood

Having that all-natural look and feel in your home allows you to showcase a unique combination of nature as well as a bright interior.

Team your lightwood effect flooring with some light curtains or blinds and you can really feel the benefit on a sunny day, where your light wood vinyl floor gives your room a real gorgeous glow. If you like to lay on the sofa with a book and brew, light wood style vinyl provides a very calming feel to the room, allowing you to relax and soak in the feel of your environment, without a care in the world.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, Hampshire - Fun for all the Family!

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey, Hampshire is great for all the family to explore and has some fun children's activities too

{Dislcosure: We received free entry and a drink in exchange for an honest review}

A couple of weeks ago we stayed in the Test Valley, Hampshire for a few nights and we had the most wonderful stay. The glorious weather, of course, helped but more than anything, it is just a fabulous area to explore. It is easy to access, close to both towns and countryside and there is an abundance of things to do on your doorstep.

One morning we visited the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, which were just a 10-minute drive from where we were staying at Michelmersh Manor Farm near Romsey. You might not think that some gardens are the perfect place to take teens but we had some really lovely family time there. As we wondered and enjoyed all the different vistas, plants and the sunshine too we just chatted and mused about our lives.

Any parent of teens will know how important it is to be able to easily chat and sit alongside their teenager. So much of the time they are super busy and out with their friends or chatting to them online, so this kind of relaxed downtime together is perfect.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

The True Importance of Our Gardens


{This is a collaborative post}

After the past year our gardens now feel more important than ever before, what is it that makes them so beneficial to our everyday health? Keep reading to find out some of the ways that outdoor spaces can positively impact your life, family and the local environment.

 

They Are Great Places for Exercise

It may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about where to complete your workout but our gardens provide a great spot for exercising. Outdoor gym equipment can be easily installed to allow you to work out in the fresh air. This will also save you money in the long term as you can cancel your expensive gym membership. Many sports can also be played outside such as football and padel – a popular alternative to tennis. Doing all of this outside in the sun will also allow you to soak up some much-needed Vitamin D which supports healthy teeth and bones.

 

You Can Spend More Time with Loved Ones

Our gardens are also great places to hang out with your friends and family. From starting a garden project, hosting a BBQ, to practising yoga or painting the options are almost endless. Gardens are also ideal for encouraging your children to spend time with nature and learn about the world around them. Just make sure that you’re keeping your littles safe from the sun with a canopy or adequate shade.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Staying at Michelmersh Manor Farm Cottages, Romsey, Hampshire - 10 Things I love!

Michelmersh Manor Farm is a beautiful working farm with various self-catering holiday accommodation. You can feed the animals and explore the area

{Discosure: We received one night's accommodation free of charge in exchange for an honest review. We paid for two nights ourselves}


Earlier this week we spent a few nights in the Test Valley at Michelmersh Manor Farm self-catering holiday accommodation and we had a fabulous time. The Farm is near the town of Romsey, in the Test Valley, Hampshire and there are a selection of self-catering cottages and a shepherds hut that you can book to stay in. We had a really wonderful time staying in Bluebells Cottage on this working farm and we would happily go back again.

I want to share with you ten things I loved about staying at Michelmersh Manor Farm -

1.  Accessibility of the Location 


The Farm is situated under 4 miles from the town of Romsey and it is very accessible from the A3057. I was super pleased that you don't have to go down too many tiny lanes to access it, just the one small road that the farm was on and in the four days we stayed we never came across another vehicle on the road, so no dreaded reversing for me! lol. 

It is 18 miles from Southampton, about 8 miles to access the M27 and 14 miles from Winchester, it really is very easy to get to towns, shops, cinemas and days out attractions but still be in the heart of the beautiful Test Valley countryside with the stunning River Test running through the area. You can also access the major attractions locally like Paultons Park/ Peppa Pig World which is just 8 miles away and Marwell Zoo is 13 miles. Whilst you can get to the heart of the New Forest in just 16 miles and the beautiful coast at Bournemouth is only around 45 minutes drive away. It is a perfect location.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Visiting the Hawk Conservancy Trust, Andover, Hampshire - A Great Day Out!

The Hawk Conservancy Trust near Andover is a great day out for all the family and Feathers Restaurant is worth a visit too

{Dislocusre: We received free entry and lunch in exchange 
for an honest review and sharing our opinions}


During our recent stay in the Test Valley, Hampshire we headed to the Hawk Conservancy Trust, near Andover. If you're just looking for the punchline as you don't have time to read this article then I can safely tell you it is a wonderful day out and you should go and visit there if you enjoy watching beautiful birds of prey. Their Feathers Restaurant also offers great casual dining for a reasonable price. If you have a bit of time, then read on...


What is the Hawk Conservancy Trust?

It is clear from the start how much the staff and volunteers love what they do and have a real passion for all birds of prey. This is what they say about their purpose 

"By working with many organisations and conservation groups across the world, we are able to deliver conservation, education, rehabilitation and research programmes and generate awareness for birds of prey, their habitats and the problems they face. This includes projects such as the Raptor Nest Box and Red Kite reintroduction projects in the UK through to the International Vulture Programme in southern Africa and South Asia."

I have to be honest, I don't know much about birds of prey except that I like to watch the Kestrel who nests in the church behind my house and the Red Kites who regularly fly overhead. But it doesn't matter if you're clueless like me, as the trust is not only an education and conservation charity, it is also running a fabulous visitor attraction and that was what my family got to visit.

The Hawk Conservancy Trust near Andover is a great day out for all the family and Feathers Restaurant is worth a visit too

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Fathers Day - Gifts to Suit All Dads

{This is a collaborative post - I have received the items in this post free of 
charge for the purpose of writing about them}

It's only a few weeks until Fathers Day in the UK and as such many of us are thinking about what gift to buy our dads or our kid's dad. It's always nice to get something a little different and I definitely enjoy buying gifts that will be well received and suit the recipient's interests, but men are notoriously hard to buy for. Therefore I am sharing some ideas of different items to get the dad in your life. 


For the Dad Chef - Opinel 4 Piece Kitchen Knife Set from Whitby & Co

A couple of Christmas' ago my son received a classic Opinel working man's knife, which he takes camping and out into the woods. It is a great product that has stayed sharp and still remains his favourite for outdoors work. With that in mind, I ordered my husband this Opinel Loft 4 piece kitchen knife set. It contains all the essentials - a peeler, paring knife, serrated knife and vegetable knife. I love the fact they each come with a different coloured wood handle, and there are loads of colourways available so you can order what suits your kitchen.

Both my husband and I originally trained as chefs, so we are very fussy about our knives and have owned many knives from the big brands, but we'd never had an Opinel between us and I can honestly say they have now become a favourite. I would happily buy their knives again and at £32.95 for the set, I think they are great value.

Monday, 24 May 2021

Hello Springtime - So much to be Grateful for...

Yes, there is an awful lot of rain about at the moment but there are also wonderful glimpses of the sun and Spring really is in evidence here in East Sussex. I wanted to share a few pictures I have captured in the last couple of weeks, as I'm loving the colours of Spring.

We've got the bright yellow rapeseed fields right behind where we live, gorgeous bluebells in the woods and wisteria up the side of the main house. My parents stayed locally in a cottage last week and it was so nice to spend some time with them, even if we couldn't actually go in any restaurants or such. 

We had a lovely day in Eastbourne for an al fresco lunch and a good walk. The repainted pier is looking magnificent and we are looking forward to trying the new family amusements on there. 



This is the view from the cross on the other side of the lake where I live. Look at those glorious rapeseed fields in the background.



This little fella really made me smile, when he came to join my Mum and I as we enjoyed our sausage sandwich whilst shopping. Don't you think he looks really inquisitive?


We've started to have a farmers market at my home once a month and it has been really lovely. I've found some great new local suppliers and I also bought this handmade mug at the last one. I'm a bit in love with it.


Not really a springtime photo, but I love this picture I captured of our dopey cat.


And here's my mum with her furry friend, Archie the old lab.


One of my favourite trees. I call this one the seasons tree as it stands alone and you can really see the seasons change by looking at it.


I got sent some artisan cheese from the Hampshire Cheese Company this week and we have all been enjoying them. The Tunworth was my favourite, it is a British version of Camembert and it was so good. The Winslade was interesting as you can spoon it from the rind and that was popular with our girls. 


I do a fair amount of hanging around at the moment, waiting for the kids when I have to drop them off and collect them. I found this lovely spot this week and enjoyed a read and a coffee whilst I waited for JJ to finish college. The smell of the wisteria was delightful. 


Isn't this a great view? This was just before the sky opened and it poured down, but I was loving the contrast of colours of the courtyard outside my house.


I have to love my local town, as we have regular yarn bombers who cheeer the place up. This is a definite spring theme to all the knitting and crochet creations this time.


I hope you're enjoying springtime too. There is always so much to be grateful for if you take the time to look for it. 

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Understanding Portable Air Conditioners Before Buying

Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}


With more and more people starting to work from home, many of the creature comforts we have come to know from our offices are finding their way into our houses. Air conditioning is very high on this list, and a good air-con unit can go a long way in increasing comfort and efficiency during the hot summer months, even if you work from home. But a permanent air-con installation is not always possible, as various restrictions can come into play, from building regulations to rental agreements. Enter the portable air con unit, and all that comes with it.


How does it weigh up, price-wise?

Mobile air conditioners can be pricey – a few hundred pounds is well within expectation. But for comfort and productivity during the hot and muggy months, it’s not a high price to pay.

If you are not one of the lucky ones to have central air conditioning, window-mounted air conditioners can be another option, but not all rooms can accommodate these. A lack of space, or awkward placement of existing fixtures can impede the installation process, and in a case like this, a portable air conditioner really comes into its own.


Don’t forget about insulation!

Despite the fact that your portable air-con will be a freestanding unit and will not be fixed to a window frame, you will still need to cater for the outlet hoses of the unit. These hoses are responsible for getting rid of the hot air and any water that was generated as a by-product of running the unit.

This means that you will still need access to a window, in order to vent these waste products, and additionally, you will also need to place it in a position where a plug socket is easily reached.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash


Check your ratings

The area that a portable air-con unit can cool, is rated in British Thermal Units (BTU). The higher the BTU number of the unit, the greater the area it can cool. However, with an increase in BTU numbers, also comes an increase in size, operating costs and carbon footprint. Look out for this number on the box before buying a unit, and this will be the best way to guide your purchase decision.

Another option, although not strictly speaking an air conditioner, is an evaporative cooler. This appliance will bypass the need for outlet hoses, and as such, will not need to be vented to the outside. Because they require an amount of water to cool a space, they are great for dry areas where a bit of extra humidity could add to the comfort level.

The best advice there is, in summary, is to go for a unit with an optimal BTU rating, or alternatively, one which has some form of green functionality, to help save on power while maximising on efficiency. The sweet spot is to find a unit that does not burn through more energy than what is required to do its job. It makes such a difference to your productivity to feel cool whilst working and therefore a portable air conditioner can be a really beneficial purchase. 

 

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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Accepting Yourself as You Are #TheSelfieTalk

Image Credit: Dove


I was very interested to see that Dove have a new campaign, the #reverseselfie where they take an image that has been shared on social media and roll back the time, removing any filters, edits etc.

When you arrive at their webpage, titled “building self-esteem in the social media age” the first statistic that greets you is “by age 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online” and as you read that you might feel pretty shocked, sickened or saddened. I know I did. Why? I thought to myself, why do they feel the need to edit their pictures and make themselves look different? Just look at those images above, that young girl on the right is almost unrecognisable by the distortions to the image on the left, and a 13 year old has become 20. That's truly what you call a lost youth. 

As I mused on this for a few days, I started to wonder if the problem really is as big as many adults assume? Are young girls intrinsically unhappy with the way they look and feeling pressure to be different? Also, Is it any different now to when I was 13, 34 years ago, before the age of social media? When I was at school I remember there being girls who wouldn’t come to school without a full face of make-up or their hair pristine. Isn't this just a newer version of that?

I suppose the big difference now, is that back in my day if you had bad hair, maybe 100 people saw it at school (if they even noticed you) but now if you post a bad hair day picture on social media there is an infinite amount of people who could look at it and it could go on being viewed for days, weeks or even months. Nowadays you have keyboard warriors too, those who want to share their opinion, even if it is negative. Believing that by sharing a photo, you invited their criticism or comment. 

So when I found myself in the car with my twin 13-year-old girls last week I asked them about posting pictures on social media and how they feel about it as I've noticed they both rarely post anything to their Instagram grid preferring to share stories instead. There are also a lot of filters and specific poses or effects used. For instance, I notice they like to take photos of themselves in the mirror, so it is a reflective look and maybe their tongue will poke to the side, or they make a sign with their hands. I'm pleased to say none of the trout pout or porno style shots has been in evidence from my girls. 

One pointed out to me that many of the filters or apps she uses are for fun, they aren’t about looking more beautiful or perfect. They might be a selfie in a face mask, or with silly big eyes, they are just a bit of fun, a way of expressing herself with her friends.

The other said she didn’t know anyone who actually took the time to use a photo editor to slim their body, change nose shape, elongate their neck etc. So that felt encouraging. She said that young people just want to post a photo they are happy with on social media and to show their best self. How is this any different to many adults, she questioned? And she is right, I wouldn't put a photo up where I felt I looked awful. For me, it won't be about a full face of make-up, but it might be about hiding my crooked smile, left from when I had Bells Palsy, or making my huge tummy not look so big. We each have our insecurities and just because I do not share photos of them on social media, does not mean I am tricking the world. I'm just posting what I am happy with and that is about me, and not you.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Seasonal Colour Trends to Embrace For Your Child's Bedroom

 

Photo by Blake Woolwine on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

The colours that you use to decorate your child’s bedroom will play a crucial role in the overall atmosphere and feel of the space. Certain shades can create an emotional response and make a room feel more comfortable and inviting.

The start of a new season is the perfect time to freshen up your child’s bedroom and create a more stylish look Luckily, there are dozens of quick and easy ways to add fresh colour and interest to your little one’s room. Let’s start by discussing the best shades to use in each season:

Winter

When it comes to interior design, winter is all about creating a warm and cosy atmosphere. According to Little Lucy Willow, you should use shades like red, coral, and yellow to add warmth to your child’s bedroom during the cold winter months. Vibrant shades will lift your child’s mood and help you create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere in their bedroom.  

Spring

You should use cheerful colours to freshen up your child’s bedroom as we move into spring. Vibrant shades like green, yellow, and purple look amazing in spring and will instantly add life to your little one’s room. Soft pastel shades are also extremely popular in spring design and will help to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Don’t forget that patterns can play a big part in spring decorating too. Floral and natural patterns look beautiful in spring and will instantly liven up your child’s bedroom. Check out this article by Good Housekeeping for some of the best spring colours to consider.

Summer

Summer is all about going bold with bright hues and patterns. House Beautiful list the best summer paint colours as marigold, flamingo pink, tangerine, and pale purple. When summer arrives, freshen up your little one’s room by adding a splash of vibrant colour. You could also get creative and design an eye-catching summer mural or a gallery wall full of family holiday photos and summer memories.

 

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