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 promote education 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!