Thursday 29 November 2018

A Week of Reasons to be Cheerful | #R2BC

Thursday has rolled around again, it really does astound me how quick time flies by an each week. As I sit down to write this post I am reminded that I must cherish every moment as they are gone in a flash.

I'm celebrating something from each day in the last week -

Thursday, JJ's Parent evening - We got told what we thought we'd hear, that he is super bright, destined for 8s and 9s across the board, but he rushes and needs to go into more depth in a couple of subjects.  He makes me so proud.

Friday, We went to see the local village panto - and it was good fun. It's fab to watch a production where you know many of the characters and can enjoy all the village jokes.

Saturday, We went to an enormous craft fayre - it was fabulous and we all really enjoyed th yummy street food. I went to Turkish chicken skewer, with handmade bread, Greek salad, humus and tatziki.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

My 5 Top Recommendations for Family Villas in Phuket

Photo by Karl S on Unsplash

Phuket, it's the island you dreamt of visiting as a little girl. Well it certainly was for me, the name sounds exotic, the beaches are abundant with white sand and crystal clear blue water and have names like Paradise Beach and freedom Beach, and surprisingly the prices are much more affordable than many other luxury islands in Asia.

I've been having a good look through the site and picking out my favourite Phuket villas for all types of family travellers. Why not have a look and see which one takes your fancy from my selection?

But first let me tell you a little more about, part of the Villa Finder family.

High Standards
They have 250 selected villas in Phuket, all of these were inspected before being added to their site and they continue to inspect them on a regular basis to ensure that standards are kept. Most of their villas are privately owned and this means you get a variety of styles to suit all tastes. Of course the big bonus of a villa holiday over staying in a hotel is the space, privacy, and peace and quiet of being able to suit yourselves, and not worrying about neighbours in the next room.

Travel Consultants
I was very impressed to see that once I see a villa I like, I can send an online enquiry (or call them if I so wish) and one of their professional travel consultants will call me back to understand my needs fully. Do I need a highchair, pool safety fence, car seats etc? There is nothing like personal service and whilst browsing the Internet can be fun, it can also be exhausting and confusing, so to have a travel professional available to me who knows the island and the area I want to stay in, is invaluable.

Thursday 22 November 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful - Chilling, Painting and Praying

Happy Thursday friends, how are you doing?  I'm well here, feeling better and just left with a chesty cough now from my cold, but I'm praying that is on its way out too.

I've had a chilled week and it's been very good. I've enjoyed being creative, making some birthday cards and also painting a picture as part of our Be Still... week or prayer we are having here. I've managed to get over to the prayer centre each day for some quality time with God and that's given me loads of food for thought.

I headed back to the gym and did a workout and swim, which is good as I was feeling a bit guilty having had the week off, but realistically I couldn't do it with a cold and chesty cough.

My husband and I had fun with some friends at a quiz night last Friday and we headed to the cinema to see the Grinch on Sunday, which I'm embarrassed to say I slept throughout quite a bit of it, but woke for the happy ending!

Wednesday 21 November 2018

18 Great Ideas for your Teen Girl this Christmas | Gift Guide

On the one hand teen girls are so easy to buy for, there is so much she wants, but then on the other, boy are they fussy! Depending on your girl, and maybe her age, will dictate whether you can pick up bargain items from Poundland as stocking fillers or whether she'd just rather one great gift, like some tech, a pair of Adidas trainers or an Abercrombie & Fitch hoodie. 

I've put together some gift ideas for teen girls (probably the younger end of teen) with a range of price points from £1 to over £50.

Gifts for under £5

False Nails - £1
Poundland do a great line in false nails, all sorts of styles, colours and both glue and adhesive sticker application. These are a real quick win and an easy way for your teen to be able to change her look, even when she had a fatal nail break!

false nails

5 Pack of Lip Glosses - £2
This pack was such a bargain, again from Poundland. There are five great colours, so something to suit all skin tones and cheap enough that it doesn't matter if she loses it the first time she takes it out with her.

lip balms set

Monday 19 November 2018

Miss E Loves her Retro Roller Skates!

Look at those beauties!  I must admit that when my daughter chose these roller boots from I was quite surprised. This is the girl who has been an inline skater for the last few years and all of a sudden she fancies quad wheels.

She tells me she used them at skate club a bit and became familiar with them there, and seeing as we have the same size feet, I'm quite happy for her to get them as it means I'll be able to have a go as I used to skate with similar boots when I was (much) younger!

What she chose are the Rookie Classic II White quad wheel skates, which are also available in black. They retail for £79.95 (UK sizes 3 -5) or if you have big feet like us the cost rises to £89.95 (UK sizes 6 - 7).

Saturday 17 November 2018

Stocking Fillers & Gift Ideas for Tween Girls this Christmas | Gift Guide

{As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}

There's only 37 days left before Christmas day arrives, so actually now really is the time to start seeking out what Christmas gifts you wish to purchase for those you love. 

If you have a tween girl (aged around 8 - 12 years) in your life, I've put together some ideas for gifts that I think she'll really like. These go from stocking fillers for just £1 through to £59.99. I tend to pick bits up for Christmas throughout the year so I can spread the cost and it means you can cash in on the sales and discounts when they happen.

Stocking Fillers and Gifts for under £5

Bananas - from £3.99
These new scented collectables are sure to be a massive hit. You unpeel the banana and straight away are get hit with the sweet smell of bananas and then inside you have a number of small blind bags to open and you can enjoy stickers, gems, a Crushie character and two mini squeezable friends, as well as a hanging vine to display your Crushie. They are £3.99 for a single banana or £9.99 for a bunch of three. 

Thursday 15 November 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful | Looking for the Silver Lining | #R2BC

Hey friends, how are you doing? I hope you’re feeling more cheery than me. It’s one of those weeks when I really need the R2BC linky as I’m feeling a tad sorry for myself. I started to feel unwell, just a cold, nothing major, last week and then it got worse and worse and I ended up feeling properly poorly at the start of this week. I’m on the upward hill but now I’ve got a 24 hour blood pressure monitor on and it hurts, ever half hour it squeezes the life out of my arm, it’s no fun, especially not when I’m still full of a chesty cough.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

15 Great Gifts to buy a Teen Boy for Christmas - Gift Guide

Christmas is fast approaching and I do love to get ready nice and early so that I can spend most of December spending time with my family and enjoying Advent. I have to admit that I far prefer buying for women than men, probably because I'm a woman but it just seems so much easier.  I'm determined that my teenage son won't miss out on the fun though and I thought I'd share with you some suggestions of items to buy for a teenage boy this year.

If you ask my son what he'd like for Christmas or a birthday his stock answer is money, that's because he is always saving up for the next laptop, gaming headset, phone or other such gadget. I'm sure we will give him some money but he needs some gifts to open too and I've found in the past when I give him items that he doesn't even know he wants, he ends up having fun and it keeps him off his tech for an hour or two and that's a win in my book!

Gifts for under £5.00

Haribo Festive Treats - from £1
Who doesn't love Haribo (#ad) sweets? I don't think there is any age cap on them and I know all my kids will be pleased to receive a selection box, cracker or tree hanging gift this year. With prices starting from just £1 they are a delicious bargain and can be picked up at any supermarket.

Haribo sweets

Sudoku Cube Puzzle - £2.99
I love this 6cm x 6cm x 6cm cube, it is an amazing price and looks great quality too. Even better it will fit in JJ's stocking. Here is what they say on the Find Me A Gift site - "through the ungodly union of Sudoku and Rubik's cube, we bring you the Sudoku Cube! This fiendishly difficult little puzzle might look unassuming, but it's here to make you grit your teeth and swear under your breath in frustration." Just perfect for my smarty pants to keep him occupied for a few hours over Christmas, or in the car on a long journey.

Suduko game cube

Sunday 11 November 2018

Posterhaste Family Portrait Review - A Perfect Gift

I love personalised gifts and I think this quirky family portrait from Posterhaste is a perfect Christmas gift for my husband. It was super easy to create, I could customise it to get it just how I wanted and there are a range of options to make it affordable for all pockets. An 8" x 10" print is just £20 and the largest size 20" x 32" print, in a 24" x 36" 100% wooden sealed frame is £115.00.

We went for a 12" x 16" print in a 16" x 20" black frame, as chosen by Miss E. I did fancy the light natural wood, but she (quite rightly, I expect) pointed out that my husband would probably prefer the black. This retails for £70.00.

I found the customisation tool on the Posterhaste site to be very easy to use. On the right hand side of the screen you choose whether you want a print, poster, framed print or box canvas and then you have the options for orientation. We went for landscape as there are five members of our family and also our new cat, so this seemed the most spacious way to display everyone.

You then choose the size, colour background for the picture and a title name. Next you add each of your family members and customise them to get a fun but recognisable likeness. I liked the fact you can choose some quirky items like headphones and a crown. It was an obvious choice for us to put a crown on Miss M's head and I'm sure it will make my husband smile when he sees it.

Thursday 8 November 2018

36 Hours in London with my Hubby - A Big Reason to be Cheerful

How are you today friends? I hope the week has been treating you kindly. It’s been quite a good one here and I’m looking forward to a chilled and uneventful weekend.

The basis of this weeks Reasons to be Cheerful post was my overnight stay in London with my hubby last weekend. We only had 36 hours up there but it was enough to tire me out, as well as provide a fabulous time.

We headed up on the Friday morning once the kids were off to school and started the day with a wander of Borough Market, with coffee and cake at Southwark cathedral. It’s so nice to be able to chat without interruptions, and I really needed a break from hearing ‘Mum’!

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Lunch at London Steakhouse Co.and Visit the Shard, Buyagift Experience Days Review

With Christmas just around the corner it can be so hard to know what to buy for friends and family, especially as you get older as people have all the 'things' they want or need. In recent years I've been giving the gift of time to those I love. I have taken my Mum and daughters away to hotels, for gorgeous food or for thrills like Go Ape but it really can take so much time finding the best deals and planning it all.

What I've discovered this year is that there are companies who can do all the hard work for you, and brilliantly you can still secure a great price. I've been working with to review their "The View from The Shard with Three Courses and Cocktails at London Steakhouse Co." experience. The current price is £95, against an RRP of £160, so that's a brilliant saving of 41%.

The cost to book direct with The View from the Shard for two adult tickets is £49 and if you booked a three course set meal direct with the London Steakhouse Co. it would be £59, then £21 for the two cocktails, so that makes a total of £129 when booked direct. This means the £95 really is a very good saving and considering you know the experience is tried and tested, and you can read lots of independent reviews on the site, I think that's great.

Last weekend my husband and I headed up to London to attend a conference and stay overnight and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to go and try out the London Steakhouse Co. and we were not disappointed. There is the choice of the City or Chelsea restaurant and we opted for the City as this was most convenient for us and it is a great location, easily accessible to all the major train stations and just a few minutes walk from Liverpool Street tube station.

Sunday 4 November 2018

Catching Contentment by Liz Carter, A Really Great Read!

Liz Carter
Fifteen years ago when I was pregnant with JJ, I didn't have any friends who were pregnant, so I found myself on a site called BabyCentre virtually meeting lots of other women who were also expecting a child at the same time as me. We were the October 2003 birth club and now in 2018, I still regularly chat to around ten of those women, having met some of them a few times over the years.

One of them is an amazing and inspiring Christian woman called Liz Carter who writes a blog called A Great Adventure, which is a really great read. Liz has a wonderful way with words and I've enjoyed reading her musings over the years, so I was thrilled last year to discover she was writing a book. It's evident from Liz's writing that she has a deep and profound relationship with God and it has been amazing and uplifting to see over the years just how she has dug into this relationship and remained strong in her faith despite having a chronic lifelong illness.

I don't know if it is is because of, or in spite of, Liz's battles with lung disease and all the medical complications that accompany it, that Liz has a quiet confidence in our Lord, but her writing on contentment and why we can all capture it, whatever our situation is inspiring and accessible to all.

Catching Contentment is such an interesting book that really opened my eyes and introduced me to so many new ideas and concepts that I’ve truly never thought through before. I loved the practical reflections which really drew you into the topic and helped you reflect on your identity and contentment in a personal way.