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. I like to share good quality images though, the kind that pop, so I make sure I head to Fotor to use their background remover tool first to edit them to ensure they capture just what I want them to. 

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: Pexels.com/@brettjordan

{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. 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

5 Tips for Running a Successful Lifestyle Blog

 

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Do you want to share your passion with the world? Blogging is one of the best ways to do just that. I've been blogging since 2008, so that is thirteen years now and the blogosphere has changed beyond recognition. One thing that has stayed the same is the opportunities to get out there and have your say. You can make a difference.

The internet is populated by millions of different blogs covering a range of topics, and over two-thirds of internet users are blog readers. This means that while you aren’t without competition, the scope of your potential audience is vast. 

Although you might blog, or be considering blogging, as a hobby to pass the time, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t turn your passion into a profit-making project. If you’re not sure where to start, then check out these five fantastic tips for starting up your own blog.

 

1)     Choose Your Platform

 

Choosing a platform is not a decision that should be rushed. It’s important that you find the platform that’s right for you before you begin, as changing it later isn’t always easy.

Wordpress is one of the most popular choices for bloggers around the world, with millions of posts being published every day. This valuable blogging resource allows its users to have complete control over every aspect of their little corner of the internet. However, if your technical skills are not so hot then you may struggle at times if you want a highly stylised site. You, can, of course, always engage a blog designer to help you. That's what I do with my Wordpress site. 

Blogger is a very easy blogging platform to get to know and you have the power of Google behind it, but it is less customisable than Wordpress, or something that Squarespace. Also, many loggers worry about the day when Google could just pull the plug on it and your blog would be lost. I also have a couple of Bloggers blogs and it still remains my favourite platform to use.  

Thursday, 25 November 2021

A Late Thanksgiving Post #R2BC



I've wanted to write a blog post for a few days but it's been a weird week and I can't seem to get myself motivated. I keep procrastinating and doing other tasks but today is Thanksgiving in the USA and all week I've been bombarded with emails, devotionals and social media posts about the importance of gratitude and changing your attitude to being grateful for what you have.

I've loved seeing all these things as gratitude is a massive part of my life as a Christian. Most mornings I write a gratitude journal and give thanks for the things that are going well in my life. It's so important to adopt a positive approach to life and to acknowledge all the blessings you have, even when you're in your darkest moments. Sometimes it can be really tricky and you might be digging deep for even one reason to be thankful, but think on it hard enough and that reason will come. 

It was for this reason that back in 2011 I started the Reasons to be Cheerful linky and I still know many people who use this practice in their everyday life. Looking for the silver linings and the little moments of grace that you spot in the everyday. When you start to look for the good stuff, you'll find you spot it much more easily. It's like any habit, keep practising and it will become second nature. Of course, at times you'll get distracted and forget but thankfully I find that God prompts me to look once again for the good moments when I am drowning in my problems. 

October was an awfully hard month for me, I had parenting challenges that I never thought I'd have to face but I kept trying to dig deep and look for the blessings. They were there, some of them hiding behind black clouds and it took me days to write even one thing in my journal at times, but I'm coming through it, I look at November and there are days with a list of 20 reasons that I am feeling grateful. 

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Stunning Christmas Tree Decorations from Newbridge Silverware

Review of a selection of silver plated christmas tree decorations from Newbridge Silverware

{These beautiful items were gifted to me for the purpose of this review, I have not been instructed what to write}

I suspect most people would agree that Christmas is a magical time, but I think we all have our own unique reasons for why we enjoy it. From family time to gift-giving, to lots of merriment and parties, right through to the hope of snow and of course, decorating your house. I wouldn't say I'm an elaborate house stager for the Christmas period but I do adore decorating my Christmas tree.

For years I had a colour coordinated tree and I was more interested in the overall aesthetic than anything else. That changed in the last decade, I think probably it was the children that helped me to see that memories can be more important than style. Add to that some journeys abroad that held great meaning and I started to collect tree ornaments that I could bring out every year and hang. What I've found is that as I unpack those decorations I am transported back to the time I bought the decoration or perhaps when it was made, or a special year when I hung it with one of my children and it now has sentimental meaning.

I've shared a few times on my blogs about our Christmas trees, you can see our 2012 offerings over here, or our 2018 one here. I also shared a tutorial in 2017 for making small Christmas wreath tree ornaments and these have been very popular and make excellent but inexpensive teacher/ youth leader gifts. 

Here is Miss E decorating our tree last year, as you can see I have done away with the tinsel and it's all about seeing each individual ornament now and there are a lot of them!


Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Best Maternity Fashion Tips for Women

Photo by Devon Divine on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

You’ve conceived and your little bundle of joy is in your tummy, congratulations! Now is the time to think of the fashion trends that will help you look chic and exquisite. Of course, when maternity fashion is concerned, it doesn’t come in one size or style. Today, with much evolution of the fashion industry, maternity fashion trends have been taken to the next level and you can pretty much wear whatever you choose.

Simply put, when you go through the web, every photo will unleash a different story about what’s trending. Now that you’re about to see yourself expand for the next few months, you have the perfect opportunity at your disposal to get creative with your fashion choices. 

In this feature, we will shed light on the best maternity fashion tips for pregnant women:


1.  Consider Shopping Sparingly

Bear in mind, every passing month will weigh on your tummy and your size and shape will change. Therefore, don't buy anything that can only be worn for a very short time. You can, of course, still wear jeans and short skirts, but you're better to purchase ones with a stretchy maternity panel, so they can grow with you and perhaps go for ones that aren't too expensive or over the top. 

Remember, that even if you choose an item to wear in the early stages of pregnancy, thinking that you can keep it for wearing post-delivery, you never know what the future will unfold in terms of your body shape. Your body shape might not be the only thing to change whilst pregnant or once you've had your baby as hair loss can be common so look for Cliphair on the web to restore your hairs natural look.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Christmas Gift Guide for Older Teen Girls

All sorts of Christmas gift and stocking filler ideas for a teenage girl. The only guide you need.

 {Many of the items in this post have been gifted to me in exchange for inclusion in my gift guide. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}


If you've got a teenage girl (or two in my case) to buy for then you'll know it is a bit like walking a tightrope. If you have hundreds of pounds available to spend and you can treat them to high-end tech, designer trainers or a holiday with their mates then you're made! If, like me, you don't have that kind of money and need to find some smaller items to go alongside their main gift then read on and check out my recommendations of some of the items my teenage girls will be enjoying this year.


Bijoux De Mimi Ear Cuffs and Huggies - from £14.50


Earrings, ear cuffs and huggies from Bijoux De Mimi are all the rage right now. My teenage girls have been seeing their products on Tik Tok and are loving them. The brand is such a fabulous success story to come out of the pandemic.

Miss M choose a pair of Camilla cross dangle hoops with classic white sparkle gemstones. This retail for £20.50 and are 14ct gold plated. The hoops average at 1.5cm across. They have a pivot fastening, quite different to other earrings we have chosen before, so they look like a complete hoop through the ear. 

Miss E went for a Christina turquoise huggie hoop and cuff, as she'd love to have her helix done but I've said not until she is a bit older. This is a really good compromise as she can wear the design she likes but there is no permanent change. At first, she found the cuff a bit large as she has dainty ears but it was easy to squeeze the cuff and make it a better fit. It is £17.50 and 14ct gold plated with turquoise gemstones. There is a selection of colours that this style is available in - something to suit everyone.

Do check out their Instagram page for loads of great inspiration on how to wear your huggies and cuffs. 

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Heading into Winter with Femme Luxe Loungewear


{This is a collaborative post}


Can you believe that when I went out to the car this morning to drop the girls at school the temperature gauge showed 4 degrees?  That is properly cold and it means that Winter is well and truly on the way. With that in mind, it is important to have some cosy clothes to wear as you relax at home or head out for a walk or shop.

My teenage girls have got quite a selection of loungewear now and it's a good job as they wear it a lot and aren't always the best at looking after their clothes. So there is often no point in me spending money on premium brands and I like to stock up on cosy essentials for a good price. Femme Luxe has a massive selection of loungewear to choose from and you can search their website by the colour you fancy, by set or even by choosing only oversized loungewear, if that is the cut you like best.

When you think of loungewear you don't have to be limited to just an old-fashioned set of joggers and sweatshirt or hoodie, oh no, there is so much variety. Cropped, skinny fit, oversized, zip-up, sexy, knitted, petite, fluffy, velour - the list goes on and on!

Let me share with you what my teenage twins choose this time - 


Dua Nude Fleece Oversized Long Sleeve Drawstring Cropped Hoodie


This hoodie is from the brand Brave Soul and it looks really well made. We like the Brave Soul label in this house as it is very on-trend, affordable and cut well. Although this is described as nude in colour, it looks like a light dusky pink. Miss E is wearing a Medium size and it is described as oversized but she normally wears a medium and I don't think it looks oversized on her, so I'd say it comes up slightly small.

The sleeves are a good length and the hoodie stopped on her waist. The hood is large and has a drawstring. This Dua hoodie is currently £10.99 on the Femme Luxe website but they have a special 15% off everything code at the moment. So that makes it £9.34 and there is very often codes on the site to get extra discounts, so always keep your eyes open for those.

This hoodie is available in XS to L, although it is worth noting that Femme Luxe is one of the sites that tend to understate sizing, as in this case the large would fit a 12/14 and I don't think most people would consider that large. 

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Welcome Autumn - A great Reason to be Cheerful


I love Autumn as a season, not as much as Spring but it is certainly so much better than Winter. I think it is so important to stop and enjoy nature and the world around us. This morning I dropped one of my daughters off at her friends and came back home. As I drove back to my house I passed this gorgeous bush that is bright orange and each day I see it and it reminds me of flames. Today it also reminded me to go for a walk even though it had been raining heavily all morning and then started raining on me again as I wandered around. No matter, when you live in 220 acres of glorious East Sussex countryside, you should definitely enjoy it most days! It is a big reason to be cheerful!


I'm normally very planned in my activities but I thought it was important to seize the moment and grab some photos and a bit of exercise whilst I could. I also sat down for a bit and prayed and pondered as the sun shone upon me. 

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, UK Tour for 2022


In August my husband and I went to watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. It was such a great show that I wanted to write about it but it was only there for a short 10-week run in the summer. So I was thrilled to hear that the Palladium production will go on tour in 2022. At the moment there are limited dates announced, starting in the Spring and continuing through the year. At the time of writing, there are sixteen venues agreed with more to be announced. 

You should check the cast list for your chosen venue but it has been confirmed that Jac Yarrow will continue with the lead role of Joseph, Jason Donovan as Pharoh and Alexandra Burke and Linzi Hately sharing the role of the Narrator. In London, we saw Jac, Jason and Linzi in those roles and each was amazing. It was extra special for us as we saw the original production around thirty years ago and Linzi was in that too! 


Covid Measures

When we went to this show in August, it was our first foray back into a large theatre after Covid and all the closures. We had to queue outside the theatre, we're encouraged to use sanitiser as we entered and asked to wear a mask. We had been told to take a lateral flow test in the 48 hours prior to the show but no one asked to see any proof of this. Ushers asked people to wear masks and a placard was taken around the auditorium prior to the show to remind patrons. Most did wear masks, but many wore them below the nose and of course, they are impossible if you are eating or drinking. We're all waiting to see how things develop and whether masks and testing will continue to be required into 2022.



Friday, 22 October 2021

Perfect Personalised Gifts for all Occasions from Wanapix

Wanapix offer amazing personalised photo gifts including blankets, suitable for all occasions
My son loves his Puss personalised blanket

{This is a collaborative post}

When you think of personalised gifts, especially photo gifts maybe your mind just heads to mugs with photos on, or a keyring or mousemat. The kind of items that schools photographers offer for far too much money. But if that is the case then let me tell you, you are seriously out of touch. The personalised gift market has exploded and there are now so many amazing gifts you can buy that are unique and personal to your friends or family. They also don't have to cost the earth and you can get a high-quality gift for an affordable price. 

For quite a number of years now I have been buying personalised photo gifts for my family and in the case of my mum, I think I'd have an uproar if I didn't get her a photo kitchen calendar each year. I truly love the whole process of sitting at my laptop and spending a while going through my photos to choose the perfect ones for whichever project I am working on. It gives me a different pace to my regular work and I'm able to daydream and relive the memories from when the images were captured.  

Then the software used by Wanapix makes it really easy to personalise your chosen item, be it with photos, text or both. The upload times for the photos was really quick (although of course, some of that is down to your internet) and the system was easy to navigate with an advanced edit mode making each item truly customisable. I have to be honest, it was far easier and more intuitive than another similar website I've used recently. I do love finding a new great supplier that I can order from!

Let me share with you some of my favourite picks from the Wanapix website, they have crazy amounts of items to choose from. You certainly will find something for every occasion or recipient.


For your Tween/ Teen - Personalised Blanket, from £21.12

My kids all love to have a good snuggle, whether it is on the bed, sofa, floor or even outside enjoying a smore. Personalised blankets are an amazing gift that lasts for years. In this time of throwaway gifts and things only lasting a short while it is great to invest in a gift that washes well and is timeless. Have a look at my daughter Miss M who I caught snuggled up the other day with her photo fleece. We made this back in 2016 and it was a Christmas gift for her. Here she is five years later still using that gift and it looks like new. 

Wanapix offer amazing personalised photo gifts including blankets, suitable for all occasions


Tuesday, 19 October 2021

5 Art Installations That Found a Home in London

 

Photo by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Over the years, London has been graced by many weird and wonderful art installations. Some of these additions became permanent fixtures, while others were there just long enough to attract the attention of passers-by before moving elsewhere.

Here are five of the most fascinating installations to call the Capital home, however, brief their stay.

 

1)     One & Other, Anthony Gormley

Back in 2009, Anthony Gormley organised an occupation of Trafalgar Square’s vacant fourth plinth. For 100 days, 2400 members of the public had an hour to perform for the world.

The Guardian have ranked the top ten of these 2400 participants, including Jonathan May-Bowles who invited members of the public to text him their secrets so they could be read aloud, and Paul Speller who performed numerous scientific experiments. Art can certainly take many forms. 

 

2)     Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Read, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper

In 2014, a moat of 888,246 ceramic red poppies were placed in the grounds of the Tower of London, each representing servicemen that were killed in World War I.

The title of the work was taken from the poem of an unknown soldier, and at the end of the exhibition, the poppies were sold to members of the public, with the proceeds going to charity. It really was the most awe-inspiring installation.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

6 Ways to Get Your Garden Winter Ready

 


{This is a collaborative post}

The weather is starting to get colder, and winter is on the way, meaning now is the perfect time to preen your plant life and get your garden ready for the frosty season. Not making time to prepare your garden for the wet and windy weather can end up causing you some costly damage in the long run.

If you want to make sure that your outdoor space is taken care of this winter, then simply follow these six steps for a winter-proof garden.

 

1)     Evergreen

Unfortunately, many of our foliage friends don’t survive the winter. However, you can keep your garden looking green and healthy by opting for evergreens instead. Either pop down to your local garden centre, or shop around an online stockists that will deliver your plant life right to your door. Suppliers such as Scot Plants Direct are a great place to search for shrubbery that will stay splendid all year.

 

2)     Grit the Paths

When the weather starts to freeze up, our paths and driveways can become dangerously icy. So, get your garden ready for the winter by stocking up on a bag of rock salt; that way you’ll be able to spread it when the weather forecast predicts freezing temperatures. You'll be pleased to navigate your property without suffering from any slips and falls.

 

3)     Weatherproof your walls

The winter weather can prove detrimental to our exterior walls, leaving them looking shabby and dilapidated. However, rendering solutions from the likes of Direct Building Products can protect your walls for longer, and even improve insulation in your home. Aside from its protective properties, rendering is an excellent way to improve the look of any building.

Friday, 15 October 2021

6 Exciting Ways to Improve Your Home Décor

Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Home renovations don’t have to require enormous changes to make a difference to yoru everyday lifestyle and you certainly don’t need to break the bank to craft the space of your dreams.

It’s natural to tire of the same old design choices after a while, and wanting to mix things up is the next step. Have a read of these six simple design tips if you want a home straight from the pages of a luxury magazine -


1)     Polish Up Your Paint Job

 A fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference. A new colour will leave your rooms looking fresh and revitalised.

Light, neutral tones are a classic design move that never goes out of style and light colours limit the number of hard lines that will divide your spaces. On the other hand, if you’re feeling bold, bright colours can go a long way to liven up the room.

Something as simple as painting might seem like a small change, but it can really help to make a room look much larger and more modern.

 

2)     Fun Feature Walls

Feature walls are a great way to add a splash of colour to brighten up a room, and it’s far less effort and commitment than painting a whole room.

However, if you don’t feel like painting, then Rebel Walls are an excellent source for wallpaper murals to create the perfect feature wall to suit any aesthetic! All the look without the elbow grease.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Visiting the York National Railway Museum


If you find yourself in the city of York and have some time on your hands I would definitely recommend a visit to the National Railway Museum. In fact, I'd say if it is within easy travelling distance go ahead and plan a specific trip to go and visit, as my family all really enjoyed it when we went there in early August this year.

The museum is free to enter but they do ask that you make a donation if you can as they have a vision for improvement that needs funding. We spent about three hours at the museum and that was doing it quite casually with a relaxed cuppa, but if you are particularly interested or if you have younger children who'll want to enjoy the outside play area you could be there much longer.

You have to book in advance currently but there seem to be tickets readily available and even for the next day, but obviously, book a bit ahead for weekends and school holidays as York can be a really busy cit. 


Friday, 8 October 2021

Reasons to be Cheerful - Heading into Autumn


Hey friends, how is life? 

Things have been quite interesting here, there have been some lovely days or moments, like yesterday when I headed up to London with my hubby to see the Prince of Egypt at the theatre, or today when I did community meals at church and then had lunch with a friend. But there have also been some really hard stuff going on in the last month or so.

With that in mind it is so important that I write this post and look for all the good things in life, the things I am grateful for, as otherwise I could head into a spiral of despair and that's no good. I don't think I have the headspace for anything too wordy, so I'll go back to basics and do a list of all the things that I am so grateful for right now and in the last month or so -

  1. That I can work from home and it gives me the space to support my kids
  2. I got petrol when I needed it without too much queueing
  3. I had a great time at the Blog On conference last weekend
  4. I got to spend some time with my parents and had some good food whilst I was there
  5. It was JJ's birthday and my baby is now 18, We celebrated  very simply and I made him a coffee cake

Friday, 1 October 2021

Gorgeous Lightweight Womens Jacket from Dare2b


{We received this coat free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
I have not been instructed what to write}


We all want to be warm and cosy in the winter when the weather is cold, but why is it that warm coats are often so very heavy? At the moment we are in that changeable season where one minute it is 20 degrees and the next it is 16 with a biting wind. So, it's important to have a jacket that can keep you warm when it needs to but is also light and small enough that you can roll it up and tuck it over your bag strap or put it in your bag.

My daughter has found the perfect solution, with the women's Surmount lightweight wool jacket from Dare2B. It weighs just 237g so it is as light as a rain jacket but it is quilted with a thermo-regulating wool fill for warmth and breathability. 


3 Ways to Promote Education in the Home

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}


Education is a vital tool and one that will serve us throughout our lives. A good education can set a child on a path for life, but it’s important to make the most of those early years.

Unfortunately, many of us neglected the lessons of our elders as youths, and find ourselves looking back now wishing we’d tried that little bit harder.

It’s never truly too late to turn back the clock, of course, but as parents, we always want better opportunities for our children than the ones we had. That’s why we work so hard to set positive examples and nurture their studies at a young age.

With that in mind, these are just three ways to promoteeducation in the home -


1. Read to your child

Reading to a child from an early age is one of the best ways to foster an early love of literature. It’s also a powerful way to enjoy quality time with them and bond over a story.

By encouraging a love of reading early on, you’ll give them a significant head start in school, as studies show that children who are read to from a young age perform better not just in English, but across the board. It’s also a great hobby to have for life – it’s not too costly, and is even free if you have access to a library!

Thursday, 30 September 2021

The Most Important Sights in London

Photo by Nicole Baster on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}


London is a living blend of grandeur, history, style, and culture that becomes more and more enticing each year. Charming with royal parks, world-class free art galleries, and wooden-fronted pubs with delicious real beer. The ancient streets of London and the majestic architecture take you to the days of the past. Then, the illuminated signs of the West End theatres, designer shops, and the emerging innovative food space that is considered one of the world's premier choices bring you right up to date. Some of the best family hotels in London are a sight to behold too.

London is a place of diversity, with people from all over the world making up the population. Filled with British emblems, the ubiquitous presence of black cabs and with the towering limestone peaks of Parliament, London combines a colourful history and tradition with extreme creativity and true multiculturalism. Whether exploring one of the famous markets or relaxing in a lush park, you will see people from all over the world.

Culturally, London is unique, with its galleries and museums, some of which are the best in the world. Many of London's cultural attractions are free to enter and there is a great variety of attractions. From the Victoria and Albert Museum to the Natural History Museum to the Tate Modern to the London Transport Museum. There is something for everyone.

Everyone will have a different idea of what the premier sights are to visit when you're in London and many will go straight for the Royal sites like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, but read on for three great places to visit that are rich in history and a joy to explore. 

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 weeks holiday 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 nearly 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 Herstmonceux 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 quite 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?