Saturday 28 December 2019

Booking Your Airbnb Property - 14 Top Tips

Squirrel court lounge
Squirrel Hill Court, Bradford Airbnb, where we stayed May 2019

Christmas is over and I hope you had a marvellous time. If you're anything like me, your mind will now have moved onto the need to travel and get some holidays/ short breaks booked for 2020, so you can have something to look forward to.

In recent years we've booked a few stays in the UK in Airbnb properties and we've really enjoyed them. With a family of five, it is so good to have the right amount of bedrooms, some outside space and a lounge/ kitchen, rather than all being cooped up in a couple of hotel rooms.

We've been very lucky with the four properties we've booked and they've all turned into truly wonderful holidays with loads of memories made. Our breaks have been in the UK, but I know many friends who have booked abroad and been very happy. In fact I don't personally know anyone who has had an awful experience with Airbnb, but I know they are out there, you only have to google and you'll come across a load on the Internet (but my advise, don't bother!).

I think with some good research before booking, and trusting your gut when you interact with the property owner you can be as sure as possible of a good stay. Here are my top tips for booking your Airbnb property right now -

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Personalised Gifts from Vistaprint - Review

Vistaprint is a brand name I've known for a very long time now, in fact it was the first place I ever bought proper business cards when I went to my first blogging conference back in 2011. Their service was great then and I am pleased to say that now, having used them in 2019 too, I can honesty say it is still great.

They asked me if we'd like to try out their personalised gifts service, and yes of course we wanted to. I love photos and I love gifts that are made using my photos, they just feel so very special and are great to give to others to show you put some thought into what to buy them.

I found the photo upload and product creation process really easy with Vistaprint, their system is very intuitive and things were created in moments. It was also good that it was very obvious where I needed to allow photos to cover to ensure a good print coverage on the item.

We ordered a few different things, let me share them with you -

Personalised Mug, from £6.65
I absolutely adore this mug, the exterior could be white or black and you can choose from 6 interior and handle colours. Then you personalise with text or text and photos, and there are so many templates from you to chose from; you definitely could find something for everyone. You can go for separate images on each side, or go for a wrap around photo, the choice is immense and totally yours!

The colours I chose (white exterior) means my mug is microwave and dishwasher safe, but if I had gone for a black exterior then it would have been hand wash only. The mug capacity is 335mls and it is a good size with a very comfy handle.

The regular price is £6.65 for a white mug with white handle, or £8.64 for a white mug with coloured handle and inside, however there seems to be deals on all the time. I've looked on the site many times in the last 3 or 4 weeks as I have been creating things and every time there has been a deal to be had. At the moment it is 50% off, which is fantastic.

As you can see I went for a washing line effect and pegged photos on for my Dad of all his grand and fur babies! This mug customised in this way would normally be £10.64, but as mentioned there is 50% off right now.

Monday 9 December 2019

Christmas Gift Guide - For the Hard to Buy for Man - 13 Great Ideas

hard to buy for man gift guide header

{This post contains samples gifted to me for review and also affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}}

I think we've all got those people in our lives, the ones that it is so hard to buy gifts for, and in my experience they have generally been men! It might be that there is nothing they want, or that they are super fussy, but whatever the reason, it makes it super tricky as someone who loves to be generous.

My Dad is one of the best 'tricky to buy for' men as there is genuinely nothing he wants and he'll be content with whatever you buy him. So a bar of chocolate or some socks will make him smile. Whereas men in the wider family do seem to want a gift but they won't give me any hints, so they end up with the same thing, year in and year out. 

This year I am trying to expand my horizons and theirs, and find some different gifts to give to the hard to buy for man. Here are a few ideas....

1.  Countryfile Live August 2020, £12 + booking fee, first release price
If you know the hard to buy for man in your life would enjoy an experience more than a physical present, why not treat him to a day at BBC Countryfile Live? It's not until August 2020, but you can get your tickets now in a nice festive envelope, so you have a gift to give on the big day. We're going to go next year to one of the Windsor days and I think it will be fabulous fun for all ages. It's only £12 at the moment to book as well, so you can't moan at that price!

At Castle Howard from 6-9th August and Windsor Great Park from 20 - 23rd August 2020, these will be days full of fun where this favourite show is bought to life with a dog lovers arena, live cooking demonstrations, getting back to nature with the National trust and meeting the Countryfile presenters at the Big Theatre. I can't wait!

2.  Nextbase Dash Cam £99
My son has been bugging me for ages to buy a dash cam for our car, and as one of the fastest growing areas of consumer technology it is no wonder why. Nextbase is the UK's leading dash came manufacturer and this model (the Nextbase Series 2- 322GW Dash Cam) is the world's first to have emergency SOS capabilities in the event of a nasty accident, alerting the emergency services to our whereabouts. 

It has 10x GPS making it the most accurate dash cam on the market and I particularly like the intelligent parking mode, which records any bumps or movements when the car is parked. You can also add a rear view camera to ensure your car is even safer. (#ad) Buy from Amazon now for just £94.95.

Friday 6 December 2019

Reasons to be Cheerful - Panto, Christmas Trees & Sunrise

Good evening friends. How are you? I hope your week is going well, mine has been a odd one with some horrid downs. Nothing too major, before anyone worries unduly, but you know what it's like when you can't control what is going on around you and it all feels unfair and out of control? Yes, that!

I knew I had to dig deep and do a Reasons to be Cheerful post to remind me of all the wonderful things I have in my life and to let go of the stuff I can't control. I've decided I'll have a proper time away from anything online this weekend, to help me refocus and be in the moment with my family. We have some fab things planned - cinema, a Christmas tree festival and catching up with family and the kids God parents. 

Since I last posted for #R2BC, there is loads I am thankful for -

Being in the village panto - I really adored this and I am missing it already. I'll definitely get involved again next year and I am looking forward to our meal together in January. They are a great group of people and it has been wonderful getting to know them all more. 

Monday 2 December 2019

My Experience of having a Hysteroscopy on the NHS

ceiling in a hospital
Photo by Vladimir Kudinov on Unsplash

I suspect if you have ended up here that you've been told you'll need a hysteroscopy, well firstly I want to reassure you that on the three occasions I've had one, I have found it a really easy procedure to undergo. Of course every person is different and we all experience things in our own way, so you'll make your own decisions when you have the procedure yourself, but for now, I'll share my perspective and experience.

What is a Hysteroscopy and why have one?

A hysteroscope is a long thing telescope with a light and camera that will be passed though your vagina and cervix to see inside the womb (uterus). The images are sent to a monitor so your nurse/ doctor can see inside your womb and record pictures of what they find.

You can have a hysteroscopy for a range of reasons, such as excessive bleeding, recurrent miscarriage, infertility, pelvic pain or unusual bleeding. Sometimes you also have one to actually treat a condition such as removing a displaced IUD (or embedded as mine was), or removal of small polyps or fibroids. On one occasion I also had one to take a small biopsy before I had an operation.

Each of my hysteroscopys have been as an out patient, so I just arrived at a set time and left after about 30/45 minutes.

How to prepare for the Hysteroscopy

  • Personally I have found that all I need to do in preparation is have a shower so I feel comfortable and clean
  • I make sure that I relax and don't get stressed before the procedure. I have definitely found, and my gynae nurse has told me too, that the more relaxed you are during the procedure the easier it is.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes, as you'll need to remove everything from the waist down and you don't want fiddly clothes holding you up.
  • My leaflet I was given advised that if you usually suffer with period cramping, it might be an idea to have a paracetamol or ibubrofen (whatever you normally take) to help with any cramping pains that you may experience
  • You can't have a hysteroscopy if you are pregnant so you need to be aware of that and be taking adequate precautions
  • Generally you do not have an anaesthetic before a hysteroscopy and thus you should eat and drink normally (some people may, everyone is different, but your healthcare professional will make sure you understand what is necessary for your circumstances)
  • You may wish to take a friend or relative with you if you are nervous or just wish for some company. I have always gone alone and felt happy with this.