SOCIAL MEDIA

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Free Coffee For Our Hard-Working Heroes this Winter

It's been a long few weeks, a long few months and let's face it;  a long year too. This past 12 months has been extremely challenging as we have all navigated our way through the pandemic, enduring multiple lockdowns and restrictions on our lives to help prevent the spread of the virus. Ensuring that we take time to appreciate the little things in life and to practice self care has never been quite so important and these are the things that carry us through the harder times until the days seem a little brighter and easier. To get through the cold winter days, I've been enjoying snuggling up in my dressing gown as soon as it is dark and once all the boys are asleep, watching an episode of The Crown. Bliss!

If you know someone that deserves a little treat at the moment then you'll love this wonderful competition from Ideal Heating. By heading over to their social media accounts which I've linked below, you can nominate a hard-working hero to win a bag of coffee and a handy travel mug, helping them to keep warm and cosy this winter. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post with the name of your hard working hero and 100 people will be selected to receive this lovely treat. Ideal Heating have partnered with independent coffee brand Maude to create this unique coffee which has notes of chocolate, ginger and cranberry!

coffee

I decided to nominate my friend Louisa. She is a nurse who has been working super hard throughout the pandemic whilst also juggling the demands of family life. She's certainly a hard-working hero and definitely deserves a treat.

To enter the competition just enter via Facebook or Instagram! For the full terms and conditions, just click here.

Ideal heating

Good luck!

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Setting Up the Perfect Home Office

The concept of working from home isn’t exactly new, but it has certainly become drastically more popular since COVID-19 has started wreaking havoc in our lives. Something that started out of necessity, due to national lockdowns, has now become desirable, as both companies and their staff have realised it can lead to huge cost savings, in terms of things like office rent and travel.

office

So, if you now work from home, either temporarily, part time or for the foreseeable future, you may have had to adapt your home in some way to accommodate a home office. We’re not all lucky enough to live in a mansion with a room dedicate to working from home, so you’ll have to get creative with the space you do have. Perhaps you could convert a garden shed or renovate your under-stair cupboard.

Having a comfortable chair and appropriate desk are crucial for your productivity. They both need to be a suitable height so that you aren’t stretching your arms and wrists in a strange angle, or hunching over, as this can only lead to aches and pains.

As well as the furniture, you’ll also need to consider what type of tech you might need in your home office. It’s likely that your employer will be able to support you with this, especially if it’s necessary for your job. You probably already have a computer, but what about things like a work phone and a multifunctional printer, that prints, scans and photocopies?

You should also consider the lighting in your home office. Natural light is desirable, but if not a lamp or overhead light will do. However, you don’t want the overhead light to be directly above your desk, because this will cause glare and shadowing. If your desk is lacking space and you don’t want to invest in a big, chunk lamp, a clip-on lamp might be the better option. Without adequate lighting, you may end up suffering from eye strain and headaches, and therefore limited motivation.

*Collaborative Post
Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Importance of having life insurance

When I became a mother for the very first time, nearly eight years ago, as joyful a time as that was, I began to become aware of my own mortality. Here was this tiny little human who was completely dependent on me and my husband for all of his needs. I began to think in terms of the worst case scenario; what if something happened to me, my husband, or heaven forbid to both of us, then what would that mean for our new family? 

family

Just before my little boy was born, my husband and I took out our first mortgage and during the process, the financial advisor mentioned life insurance. It wasn't anything either of us had considered before but we took his advice and took out a policy, not really thinking much of it one way or the other. It was only when my little boy was actually born and we had a brand new little person to consider and protect, that we understood its importance.

Taking out life insurance isn't always something we want to think about. It forces us to think about the fact that one day we will die and leave behind our family. It is an emotive and difficult subject but life insurance should be viewed of in a positive light. Taking out a life insurance policy ensures your family is financially protected in the event of your death, which will be a huge help and support to them in the weeks, months and years following. It is a way of protecting, caring and honouring your family after your death. 

Life insurance will mean that financial support is given to your family, helping them to pay off debts like the mortgage and assisting them to maintain a standard of living. Life insurances usually pay out in a lump sum but you may wish it to be paid in regular instalments over time like a salary. You may also wish to take out critical life cover which will ensure a lump sum is paid out in the event you are diagnosed with a serious illness.

While we may be uncomfortable thinking in terms of our own death, taking out a life insurance policy is quick and easy and will provide you with that all important peace of mind in regards to your family's future; a precious gift providing them with a stable, secure future. 

family


*This is a collaborative post. 
Friday, 1 January 2021

Gifts for new mums and babies

Bringing a little one into the world is a truly special time and a wonderful excuse for a celebration! If you're looking for that perfect gift to treat a new mum, mum- to- be or baby with then look no further than with my selection of unique, inspiring and beautiful gifts! 

Aska Maternity Movement Bracelet
Not only are these bracelets beautiful but they also have a very important function. They can be used to help you track your baby's movements and determine if there has been a change in the pattern or frequency of your baby's kicks. Any changes can then be reported to your midwife or local maternity unit. Once baby has arrived you can use the bracelet to help you remember which side you last breastfed from (just swap the bracelet to the corresponding wrist). These bracelets are made up of precious gemstones in three different designs, with a beautiful white freshwater pearl and sterling silver or gold plated sterling silver charm which can also be personalised. Both a stunning and practical gift, this will be a wonderful keepsake for her to treasure forever. Find out more and explore the range here.

Aska Bracelet

Petit Jovial
Bumps and babies should be treated with the utmost care which is why Petit Jovial skincare products are perfect for any mum-to-be, new mum and baby (and of course for the other precious members of your family!) Each product is 100% vegan and natural, containing no nasty or hidden chemicals. They contain no palm oil derived products and the company also donates towards Orangutan conservation products in Indonesia! The range consists of Body & Scalp Massage Oil, Nourishing Balm and Nourishing Bath Oil. The products smell simply divine and are wonderfully luxurious; what a treat! Find out more here

Petit Jovial

Bickie Pegs Peggie the Penguin®
This award-winning teether from the company behind Bickie Pegs Natural Teething Biscuits has been designed to stimulate touch, vision and oral development in babies. The cute design helps babies to reach both the front and back gum areas in the mouth so they can find that much needed relief from teething discomfort. It is freezer, dishwasher and steamer friendly and even features a handy safety clip and ribbon. This will surely become a firm favourite of baby's, offering both comfort and stimulation, which as every busy mum knows, is worth it's weight in gold! Find out more here

Peggie the Penguin

Vital Baby Microwave Sterilising Bags
Why not give the gift of convenience to the new mum with these incredibly handy microwave sterilising bags? They enable you to sterilise baby's bottles, teats, dummies, bowls, cups and spoons with ease by just placing them in the bag, adding a small amount of water and then microwaving for three minutes. They are ideal for use when out and about, on holiday or if you need a quick and easy solution at home. Each bag can be used up to 30 times. What a useful product! Find yours here.

vital baby sterilising bags
SnoozeShade
SnoozeShade is an ingenious invention designed to help babies sleep on the go as well as protecting them from the sun's harmful UV rays. Not only is it recommended by sleep consultants worldwide, but it has also won over 70 different awards! A SnoozeShade can be purchased for baby's carseat, pram, buggy and travel cot. The unique mesh fabric means that air circulates freely meaning your baby will remain in a well ventilated environment. A product that has safety at the forefront and also promotes sleep; it will surely be every parents best friend! Find out more here

Snoozeshade



Lamaze Toys
Lamaze Toys by TOMY have been carefully designed to encourage your baby to learn through play. They have been created in conjunction with child development experts, resulting in exiting and stimulating toys that support your baby's development. They are brightly coloured and feature a range of different sensory stimuli making them a favourite of babies, parents and experts! Explore the range and find out more here!

Freddie the Firefly, Lamaze

Lamaze book

Nurturally Hands Free Pumping Bra
When it comes to expressing milk for your baby, the process is often time-consuming, fiddly and leaves you little free time (or hands!) for anything else. The Nurturally Hands Free Pumping Bra is truly innovative. It has a sports bra design and sling bottle holding system enabling mums to maintain an efficient pump to breast connection. It comes with a clear pump bag so you can even use the pump whilst moving around!. It has been designed to prevent leakage of breast milk as the bottles become heavier, maintaining the efficient connection at all times. The clever design can be adjusted so it can fit sizes S to XXL. It's wonderfully soft, comfortable and stylish and what's more, it's packaged beautifully, making this a perfect gift for any new mum. Find out more here!
Nurturally Pumping bra



Disclaimer: we were kindly sent some of the items in this post in exchange for an honest review

Home Organisation Tips


It perhaps won’t come as a surprise when I say that family life can be chaotic! Whether it's trying to keep on top of your family’s different appointments, play dates, school events and after-school clubs for example, or trying to manage the necessary chores around your home, it can be hard to keep track of what’s what!  I’ve put together a few tips that I use at home which I have found has made life that little bit easier!

Shoe cupboard/ cloakroom organisation
Under our stairs is home to an area fondly referred to as 'The Cupboard of Doom'! This is because it was once an area where any miscellaneous objects were flung to and it had also became a storage area for any unwanted items on their way to the charity shop. As such any shoes or coats that were placed in there quickly became lost in the sea of clutter. These days The Cupboard of Doom as it’s still affectionally known, is actually quite a neat and organised area and here is why! Firstly we had a really good sort out. Anything on its way to the charity shop actually went along with things that we were holding onto just in case. We made use of the shoe rack in there instead of using the floor and we also bought a small plastic storage box to house the tiny toddler and school shoes which easily got lost in the chaos. This box is the one thing that’s made a tremendous difference to this area. It’s now so much easier to locate the boy’s shoes and I’ve trained them pretty well to place their shoes in there as opposed to throwing them in. We also bought a little battery operated camping light for in there too so it’s now a lot easier to locate items!

A Notice board
We love our notice board. It’s like the little hub of our household. If there’s a letter still to be signed and returned or a bill to be paid, for example, up it goes on the noticeboard so I know it’s outstanding and I’m more likely to remember it! If the children come home with a piece of artwork or a certificate, up it goes, along with postcards, photos or anything else that makes us smile. It’s a constantly changing space but it’s also a real feature of our home. 


Storage boxes
I may be a little obsessed with storage boxes but they just make life so much easier. Before I had children I only had a few but with children comes SO much stuff. As such we now have a box for nappies, wipes and cream as well as a whole host of them to keep the may different sets of toys they accumulate together. Without a dedicated Lego box, superheroes box or train track box for example, these toys would literally spend their days as a big muddled mess. Don’t get me wrong, by the  end of the day they can often become like this but it’s not too big a job to reorganise them (I quite enjoy it too- shh!). We also have boxes for paperwork, a few for out of season clothing, hats and scarves and much more. The fact they can stack neatly on top of each other is also a helpful bonus.


Keeping on top of the paperwork
I’m quite strict with this one, but when the postman comes I quickly have a little sort. Unwanted junk mail and empty envelopes go straight in the recycling, things that need sorting go on the noticeboard and things that can be filed away can do just that. My husband on the other hand will happily keep his ripped empty envelope on the kitchen work surface until the organisation fairy discards of it for him!!

Keeping the clutter down
I do enjoy a good declutter every now and again although it can be quite hard to part with things you think you might possibly need one day! I need to work on this myself, but really if it hasn’t been used in 12 months then it should probably go! I try to use up toiletries I have so we don’t end up with lots of bottles with just a little bit in and I also try to scour each room most days looking for bits that need throwing out/ recycling or giving to charity. There’s one thing I can’t get rid of and that’s the little bits of artwork or homemade cards that the children have made and I keep these in their own special little memory box. For some useful decluttering tips check out this post from Home Style Matters. Larger items may seem more difficult to clear out but in actual fact, this can be done quickly and easily by selecting a furniture removal company like Kwiksweep. Your home will be decluttered in no time!

You might think, after reading these tips that our house is super organised and tidy but you’d be mistaken.  Right now our house looks just as it should- lived in! It takes my toddler about 2 seconds to make our living room look like a mini tornado has swept through but because of these little organisation hacks I know where things should be and that really helps me keep on top of the day to day running of the home. It’s not perfect but it’s a happy home.

*Post written in collaboration


Monday, 21 December 2020

Frock It- It's Christmas with Joe Browns!

Christmas 2020 is just around the corner and one thing is for sure; it is certainly going to be very different this year. Due to the restrictions that remain in place due to Covid-19 (and the very recent extra tightening of restrictions that have just been announced), many people will be opting for a quiet Christmas at home this year. And whilst this may not be exactly what we all had planned for the festive period and the end of an extremely challenging year, we will all be finding ways to make the day special, creating some Christmas magic and happiness. 

A normal Christmas in our household would see us heading to see relatives to exchange gifts in the morning (or having them over to us) and then going to my mum's or the in-laws' for Christmas dinner. This year we will be celebrating at home so it is certainly going to be a little quieter, a little less busy and a little bit different. 

Normally on Christmas after we open the presents, we would all dress up, each of us in something a little bit fancy: a shirt for my husband, a dress for me, and Christmas jumpers for the boys. We did think about staying in our pyjamas all day and whereas a large portion of the day will be spent in relaxing loungewear, we have all decided that if there was ever a year to dress up, to celebrate in style and feel a little bit pampered, it is the year of 2020! And so we shall certainly be dressing up in some of our finest party clothes to bring a little bit of glamour and sparkle to the day! 

And so when Joe Browns got in touch to see if we would like to take part in their Frock It- It's Christmas campaign which looks at how Brits are celebrating Christmas up and down the country, we jumped at the chance. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to pick my Christmas day outfit! 

Joe Brown's Oriental Dress
For me, Christmas outfits always have to have a bit of shimmer in them and so this dress certainly did not disappoint. This beautiful dress with its satin jacquard and its unique mandarin collar is the perfect dress to wear on Christmas day. It features a delicate floral design and is exceptional quality! After a year of wearing leggings (and maternity trousers!) I just can't wait to wear this gorgeous dress! 

dress


Joe Brown's Truly Elegant Coat
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a post-Christmas dinner walk and this coat will mean the style and glamour isn't limited to just the indoor celebrations! It has a stunning and elegant design which reminded me of Kate Middleton's beautiful coats. It has a teal colour, asymmetric gold buttons and creates a lovely silhouette shape- perfect for helping to gently shape my post-baby body! It is also really warm too so even if we have a miracle white Christmas, this coat will not only look the part but will keep me cosy too!

coat

I can't wait to swing into Christmas with a little bit of style and glamour this year. After this long and unsettling year, a bit of Christmas sparkle, happiness and joy is just what we all need!

dress


Wishing you all a very merry, peaceful Christmas and here's to a happier new year!


Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted these items All opinions are my own. 


Sunday, 20 December 2020

Creating a Christmas Wonderland on a budget

Can you remember celebrating Christmas as a child; the excitement and anticipation as you build up to the day?  I can still remember the tingle of magic on Christmas Eve knowing Father Christmas was busy preparing his reindeer and sleigh. I can also remember the sheer exhilaration of discovering he had been the next morning, finding a few crumbs where his mince pie had been. That’s what I want to create for my children for as long as I can. This year I’m going to create a magical wonderland for them and you can too. Whilst this might sound expensive, the aim is to keep the cost as low as possible. First and foremost, it’s the time spent together that counts and those are the memories that will one day be treasured. So here is my guide to creating a Christmas Wonderland…

When I think back to the Christmases of my childhood I can always remember the magic of Christmas lights, simply turning the tree lights on was completely enchanting. So whilst we will have our tree ones on, I will also grab a few extra packs and drape some over the mirrors and frames around the lounge. These can be found at many pound shops and I’ve also found colour-changing light up characters there too including penguins and snowmen so I am going to add some of these also. Instant magic! 


Decorating the house during the festive period is a great activity for children to get involved in. Creating your own decorations is easy and fun to do and will mean you may create some beautiful keepsakes to bring out year after year. You can create some decorations by using downloads from Design Bundles. Just select the scalable vector graphics you like, download them and then print at home!

I'm also in love with my star shaped light which has been making us all feel very festive recently. On those dull winter days it creates a soft and glowing light in our lounge. 


Another thing I remember from Christmases past is the wonderful scents from the beautiful pine smell of our Christmas tree to the delicious smells of cinnamon, gingerbread and Christmas pudding! 


You might not have a real tree this year which is fine, you can still recreate that Christmassy scent. Try spraying some pine-cones with cinnamon scented oil which creates a beautiful warm aroma. You can also buy or make your own potpourri using cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried oranges and star anise. This is also a fun activity for you to do with your little ones. 


Do you remember making clove oranges at school? Your little ones will love helping with these!


Baking with children will also provide beautiful Christmas scents and a delicious treat for after. Why not try baking some gingerbread Christmas shapes? 


Another way to really add some excitement to the Christmas countdown is to play Christmas songs in the house. We have a cd that plays lots of fun Christmassy songs and we love having it on as we are pottering about during the day. It really adds to the festivities! 

Fast forward to Christmas Eve and this is where the real magic starts. Create your own magical reindeer dust to sprinkle in the garden using oats, edible glitter or cake sprinkles. Don’t forget to leave Father Christmas a mince pie and a whisky (apparently he’s quite partial to a gin too!) and leave Rudolph a carrot- you might just find he’s had a bite out of it in the morning!! You can leave some magical Santa footprints by creating a simple stencil and sprinkling some icing sugar over it- your children will be enchanted to discover some magical North Pole snow! 


So there you have it, a few ideas to help you create your very own home Christmas wonderland on a budget, enabling you to feel festive making some mesmerising life-long memories. Merry Christmas!!

*This is a collaborative post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Caring for the older dog

If you have a dog, you'll know only too well just how much joy and happiness they bring to your family home. And so it's only right that you'll want to do the absolute best for your furry friend through each stage of his life from his time as a playful puppy to his years as a mature and older dog. Our family Labrador was every bit a part of our family. He was very clever, completely loopy and wonderfully devoted to us. As he became an older dog we were mindful that there were certain things we could do to enhance his quality of life, providing him with both comfort and support, whilst also maintaining his health and well being. 

labrodor
Our old Labrodor Jake.

Comfort
Like people, older dogs will really appreciate being comfortable and having a bed to rest and relax on. Providing them with soft and snuggly bed with a supportive mattress is a must for your dog. This will enable them to rest, sleep soundly and will also provide them with their own little 'safe space'. If your dog suffers from problems with its joints, back or muscles, an orthopaedic dog bed is the ideal solution. These beds help to ensure your dog is supported whilst sleeping and resting, reducing pressure on their joints and spine as well as promoting a correct sleep position.

Older dogs can suffer from pain and discomfort. Many breeds have predispositions to particular ailments such as arthritis for example and if so, you will want to ease any suffering for them. Your vet will be able to advise on the best course of treatment which may include joint tablets for dogs which will help them get that spring in their step back.

Nutrition
It's important that your dog is served nutritious food which is appropriate for his stage of life. As they get older, dogs have different nutritional needs to that of younger dogs. They will often slow down in later life, burning less calories and as a result may be prone to gaining weight. Serving your dog, high quality, easy to digest protein is the key and many dog food companies will cater for the dietary needs of older dogs. Your vet will be able to advise on the appropriate diet plan for your dog which is in keeping with his individual needs. 

Exercise
Older dogs, may slow down in later life but they still need to exercise, which helps to keep them healthy and happy. They may only manage shorter walks but getting them out the house is a wonderful treat for them. Walkies are after all, the most amazing thing in the whole world when you're a dog!!

Labrodor
Senses
As your dog gets older, some of his senses may be less sensitive to before. Their hearing and sight may deteriorate and so you may find you will need to make little adjustments to accommodate for this, for example, placing their bowl near to them, hel
ping to guide them towards particular things they require, or gently approaching them, as not to startle them. 

Labrodor

Love
A loved dog is a happy dog and your dog will benefit in so many ways from the love you give him. Dogs love contact with us; they respond to being stroked, can sense and differentiate between different tones of voices, they love praise, they love playing and they love just being with you. Simply providing them with the care and commitment that you always have done will ensure your dog lives happily for the rest of his days.

Labrodor



*Collaborative Post 


Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Sicily: Land of Wonders

Telling the story of Sicily in a few lines is difficult, if not impossible. However, we can give you all the reasons to book a trip to Sicily and enjoy the wonders of a millenary land, rich in history, culture and places to visit.

Sicily also offers the possibility to make luxury vacations and to do them in all tranquillity: in fact today holidays in a villa in Sicily with private pool can be reality let's see together two incredible location in Sicily.

sicily

Caltanissetta: The Heart of Sicily
It is located in the geographical heart of the island, rich and pretty, is the most populous city in the hinterland. Surrounded by nature reserves, throughout its province there are seven, Caltanissetta is a journey of discovery of art and nature. Situated above the hilly reliefs, its territory of calcareous-clayey composition is very harsh. In the historical centre there are the major historical religious buildings and aristocratic palaces, while in the surroundings of the city there are many archaeological sites rich in important and fascinating remains.

The Cathedral is located in the central Piazza Garibaldi, embellished with recently restored stuccoes and valuable wooden and marble statues. Just in front of the Cathedral, there is the elegant Church of San Sebastiano: a tour inside and you will be immediately attracted by the numerous wooden statues.

Stop also at Moncada Palace, the building in classic baroque style with Renaissance cues. Then admire its palaces and the Baroque Church of Sant'Agata. Take a tour of the beautiful castles of Falconara, Mussomeli and Pietra Rossa and a visit to the sulphur mines of which the city was the largest producer until the mid '900.

Enna: Separated in Two Parts but United by the Wonder
Enna is divided into two macro-areas: Enna Alta, home to the historic centre and the best attractions. Enna Bassa, which is famous to the university. In addition, there is the hamlet of Pergusa, where the homonymous lake resides. It is a small town perched on a terraced mountain, a panoramic place that, given its good location, has been defined since ancient times as the navel of Sicily.

sicily

You can visit the Duomo, rebuilt in the Baroque period, the Aragonese Castle, which stands on a rock, and the Clock Tower. The Castle of Lombardy, located in the highest part of the town, an imposing building that extends for 27 kilometers. In the most modern part are the Villa and the Tower of Frederick II of Swabia, Piazza Europa, home of the weekly market, and the Church of Montesalvo.

In the province of Enna there are many small villages and towns that have remained unharmed over time and jealously guard the history and traditions of the area. Suitable for a sensory and exploratory journey, to admire a part of Sicily through monuments, ballads and delicious tasty food.

Sicily: Wonderful and for Everyone
Don’t be afraid to book your travel for Sicily, you will find everything you need and you will remember it forever.
Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Special Moments with Baby Annabell Alexander

Watching children play with dolls is just the sweetest thing. It is so lovely to see them pretend to be mummy or daddy and to care for the doll as if it was a real baby. We were recently sent a Baby Annabell Alexander doll to review as well as some products from the Sweet Dreams range which help to promote a good bedtime routine which in turn helps children to sleep soundly.

Baby Annabell

Special moments
Watching my little boy play with Baby Alexander made me think about the special moments that occur at bedtime with my boys. Bedtime here, is the time for snuggles, cuddles, stories and hot milk. After this, when they are tucked up into bed, this is the time that both of my boys will really open up about their day; telling me what has happened at school, who they played with and any other things they wish to tell me. After the hustle and bustle of a busy day all round, these snuggly, peaceful moments when they are sleepy and open up about their thoughts and feelings are so special.

It is so wonderful to watch how my little boy interacts with the Baby Alexander doll. Seeing him get the baby ready for bedtime is reminiscent of his own bedtime routine and it's so lovely to see him having his own special moments with the doll. 

Baby Annabell

Cuddles
Bedtime is the time for snuggles and Baby Alexander couldn't be more cuddly. He comes dressed in a beautifully soft romper and has a matching hat too. The doll is soft to cuddle and has a slight weight to it just like a real newborn. 

Baby Annabell

Accessories 
The doll comes with some accessories including a dummy, bottle, necklace and a bib. Children will love to give the doll his milk at bedtime! There are a range of different accessories available from Baby Annabell to enhance your child's playtime from clothes, cribs, bath tubs, changing bags and much, much more. My little boy loves the sleeping bag as his own baby brother has a sleeping bag just like this at bedtimes! 

sleeping bag


Baby Annabell

Interactive features
The doll can gurgle, cry and giggle. It can suck real water out of the bottle and cry real tears. He makes delightful sleepy noises and can be bounced, rocked, patted and ticked to soothe him.
 
Baby Annabell

We are a big fans of the Baby Annabell dolls. They are soft, cuddly, beautifully designed and have some really lovely features to keep children engaged and entertained. They promote imaginative play which enhances children's cognitive developmental. Your children will love sharing some special moments with Baby Annabell just like my little one did!
 
Baby Annabell


*Disclaimer: We were kindly sent the doll and accessories in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Why Kids Should Cycle

For most children, riding a bike is a rite of passage. From the moment they start with training wheels until they are comfortable enough to ride solo, cycling for kids offers a broad range of benefits. So, if your kids still need to learn how to ride, what are you waiting for!

While you review kids bikes online, here are some of the top reasons why cycling is an excellent activity for children.

bike, cycling

Easy to Learn
Unlike many other activities, learning how to ride a bike is comparatively easy. Sports require an understanding of the rules and coordination between teammates, while other hobbies like gymnastics or martial arts require more technical skill. 

Bikes offer ways to make mastering riding easier. Training wheels have been a staple of helping kids learn to ride for decades. And if your kid is a little too young to ride a traditional bike with pedals, balance bikes are the perfect substitute to help get them ready for when they are little older.

Low Impact 
A growing child has growing bones, meaning that they can be prone to injury and strains. Cycling is a great low impact exercise that is easy on joints. Unlike other outdoor activities such as running or basketball where kids are exposed to hard surfaces, riding removes the chance of damaging knees and ankles.

Excellent Cardiovascular Exercise 
When it comes to raising your heart rate, cycling is an excellent exercise to improve overall health. General bike riding forces the lungs and heart to work together to get oxygen through the body. The harder they work, the stronger these organs become.

This means cycling is useful in cutting down forms of heart disease and cancer. Multiple studies have correlated improved physical and mental health for those who cycle regularly.

Helps the Environment 
Cycling is a fantastic way to cut down on emissions and help our environment. Riding a bike at an early age and teaching your child about saving our planet helps sets good environmental habits for later in life. 

A study has also shown that kids breathe less dangerous fumes when riding a bike than sitting in a car, as there they are directly exposed to car exhaust from passing vehicles. 

Provides a Sense of Freedom
Bikes provide children with a sense of freedom, allowing them to discover local areas with friends and have fun while doing so. It helps boost their confidence as they can cycle to their favourite spots, such as the skate bike or a dirt track.

This also assists in developing spatial awareness in children, while also improving their navigational skills. As your child explores on their bike, their sense of direction is likely to improve, meaning they can rely less the GPS or Google Maps.

Saves You Time
As parents, teaching your kids how to ride a bike can actually save time in the future. As cycling is an excellent form of transportation, children can ride their way to school and back, or get to a friend’s house who lives close by.

This means fewer car trips of you being a taxi service, where you have to navigate traffic and find a park.



*Collaborative Post

Practice Yoga In Style

If you have been following my site for a while, you may know that I am a bit of a yoga devotee. I practice at home, daily if I can (or when three young children allow!) and find that it has huge benefits to my health and well-being. Due to the lockdowns and restrictions that Covid-19 has brought, many people have turned to home yoga as a way exercising as well as relieving stress. There is very little you actually need in order to practice yoga; the main requirements being something comfortable to wear and a yoga mat. Recently I was delighted to discover that there are so many different styles and designs of yoga mats available which can serve to inspire you, calm your mind, add some fun to your practice as well as perfectly compliment the decor of your room! Here are a few different options you can choose.

Yoga mats for children
Yoga has huge benefits for children. In these uncertain times, it's important that children are able to release some stress, focus their minds, have fun and exercise, all things that in the strangest of years, has been somewhat of a challenge. You can purchase so many fun and interesting styles of yoga mats to delight children and encourage them to practice yoga. My dinosaur loving little boys would simply love this T-rex one!
yoga mat
Yoga mats to inspire you
You may like to consider a yoga mat that features an inspirational word or phrase which will serve to motivate you and keep your mind focused during your yoga practice. This one features a colourful design and the words, 'shine bright'. it would be hard not to feel happy on this mat!
yoga mat
Yoga mats to transport you
There are also a range of different yoga mats with stunning landscape designs. Focus on the design and you will almost feel as though you are really there, helping you to feel calm and serene. 
yoga mat
Yoga mats to calm the mind
Some images, photos and designs can simply instil a sense of calmness and relaxation in our minds, whether that's an expanse of water, a sunset, a rainbow or even the night sky, for example. Being relaxed in yoga will serve to enhance your practice and leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised afterwards.
yoga mat
Yoga mats for happiness
Some images just bring you happiness. They may be a fun or quirky design, make you giggle or remind you of happy times. Whatever brings you happiness, bring it into your life (and into your yoga practice!)
yoga mat

Yoga mats for style
You may like to use your yoga mat to compliment your home's interior. Choosing a yoga mat with an artistic image is a really unique way to add a pop of colour to your home, to display your favourite artist's work or to feature bold statement pieces to the room; it will certainly be eye-catching! 
yoga mat


*Collaborative post





Tuesday, 1 December 2020

ECTA OUTREACH - Lockdown’s Affecting Smart Meter Installation

As the nation enters its next national lockdown, there is widespread concern surrounding how people will live, how furlough will affect work and also how people will be able to work within people’s homes during the next two months.

With smart meter installations suffering over last year’s lockdown and tier system restrictions providing a drop in installations late last year, the push back on workload has provided an extension on smart meter installation deadlines for utility companies to July 2021. This is a direct result of the pandemic’s upheaval.

lightbulb

Training Window
This setback has opened up a window of opportunity for those looking to take on a smart meter apprenticeships, which provides the necessary qualifications to be able to install and advise on the benefits of greener technologies to customers.

With the increase of demand sure to triple due to the setbacks towards the deadline, this new lockdown will undoubtedly pose a serious backlog of work that current qualified engineers will not be able to effectively manage.

This makes people who decide to undertake an apprenticeship in the face of this new lockdown stand to benefit even more from relaxation of the tier system.

Open to All Ages
There are many different age groups looking to start with a green energy apprenticeships.

Whilst a perfect direction for school leavers to begin a successful career in a growing industry, many fully qualified electricians also are turning to training on smart meters to keep up with the transition to green energy.

Also those who have grown tired of their current jobs, home working and threatened job security have turned to the prospect of a smart meter apprenticeship in order to get onto the current demand for installers.

With smart meters set to reach over half of Britain’s homes and businesses this year, and national rollout due to reach a hectic pace upon lockdown ease, it’s certainly a great time for people from all avenues to approach this period with full attention in order to benefit greatly.

The Address of Concern
Naturally there are always people very sceptical of smart meter rollout and their concerns about what data is shared and to where.

The ability to address these concerns as a fully qualified smart meter technician is not just about having the knowledge, but also having the right people skills to be able to provide answers to how their data is used and how the meters benefit them financially and with their consumption.

As lockdown now poses even more setbacks for rollout, the time could be right for those ready to take the greener step.

*Collaborative Post

FIT2TRAIN - New Year, New Habits

Wouldn’t you know it? We start 2021 with new restrictions and another national lockdown, which means those gyms we have made promises to get back into after Christmas are now facing possible closure for longer than we would have liked.

So how do we get back on track when the track is about to close its doors? It’s all in the planning, as those taking the time to complete a fitness instructor course know all too well.

So what can keep you moving for 2021 whilst waiting for those gyms to reopen?

Gym

Muscle
By increasing all your muscle fitness and lean mass you are ensuring a continuation of a long and healthier lifestyle.

With keeping your muscles fit, you find that bringing in those heavy shopping deliveries and moving around your furniture are an easier chore whilst increasing your resting metabolic rate, letting your muscles burn those extra calories whilst you are resting up. So keeping your muscle training going through a home workout ensures you are maintaining a healthy body weight.

Cardio
With the ability to at least get out of the house for a walk or a bike ride still available during this time, you can help your cardio by moving your body at a quicker pace.

This helps to strengthen the immune system, increase your circulation and control your blood pressure. So if you enjoy a walk or a ride or even if you like to do those dances on TikTok challenges, you are doing your body good by doing something you enjoy and use that as a reason to indulge in it daily.

Bike ride

Straight to the Core
If you are at home a lot you run the risk of low back health.

Your posture is going to suffer if all you do is sit working at the kitchen table all day, so installing a functional core gives your posture stability enabling your limbs to have extra mobility. By giving your shoulders, hips and other core areas a bit of extra strength and endurance during this period, you support your lower back and reduce the risk of posture problems.

Stay Mobile
It’s easy to take it easy and spend hours at a time lounging, but that is not going to do you any good in keeping on track for health.

By maintaining adequate mobility training you fully reduce potential risk of injury to your connective tissue and muscles with structured workouts and stretching exercises. These work to enhance your overall strength and keep your muscles limber.

Get the Right Rest
As well as all of these measures it is imperative that you continue to get the right amount of rest.

You may feel you have to overcompensate for the lack of gym availability and get over ambitious about your fitness goals at the start of the year, but by going for gold on your fitness plans straight away you will suffer from inadequate rest and recovery. It’s important to understand where your body currently is and listen to what it tells you about how far you can go. Burnout and overtraining will only begin to slow you down further, so pace yourself well.

For those looking to turn their fitness goals into a fitness instructor courses in Plymouth or elsewhere, these are the steps to keeping everything ticking over in the advent of the gym doors closing.

*Collaborative Post
Monday, 30 November 2020

The Benefits of Sports for Children

Homework, television, video games, and internet use are activities that may promote sedentary behaviour in children. Parents are advised to limit their child’s screen use and encourage at least an hour of physical activity every day in order to boost physical and mental health. After all, exercise produces those “feel good” hormones that help individuals tackle stress. However, health isn’t the only benefit of sport and other physical activities, as discussed below by a secondary school in Bristol.

football

Sport can help children with their confidence. A cheer from the crowd, a high five from a teammate and positive reinforcement from the coach are all great for boosting a child’s self-esteem. Even if they lose a game, they learn to accept constructive criticism as a positive. Coping with losses is important because it means that your child will be better equipped with future challenges. As a result, they learn to have faith in their own abilities, improve their skills, and continue pushing forward with their personal pursuits in an optimistic manner.

Social skills are also developed during sport. Children learn to work as a team and cooperate with their peers, while also taking direction from those superior to them. Teamwork is an important skill and one that can benefit individuals throughout their lives. It involves figuring out each player’s strengths and weaknesses, so that they can strategise the best way to reach their shared goal. This is something that many of us have to do as adults, whilst at work. The team spirit offers a sense of belonging and allows them to develop friendships with likeminded individuals. The more friends a child has from different social circles and backgrounds, the better they will be at communicating and being open-minded.

There are lots of ways you can encourage your child to be more active and take part in school. Leading by example is a great place to start, as children typically learn how to behave by observing their parents and other important people in their lives. Play sport with them, or at least try and attend all of their matches to show your support. Finally, you should try and limit screen time and encourage your child to get outside.

*Collaborative Post
Monday, 23 November 2020

Add style and character to your rooms with Wall Art

If you're looking to add some character, style and individuality to your home, one way is to consider adding some art to the walls. Nothing injects your personality into your home quite as well as displaying your favourite photographs, artwork and prints. They can remind you of happy and treasured moments in time and can invite feelings of joy. There are many different options to consider when selecting wall art and here are a few of my favourite ways. 

Canvas art prints
One of my favourite canvas prints which I have in our living room is of sunlight rays seeping through woodland trees. I've had this picture for years and I love it as much as they day I bought it. It makes me think of happy, warm and peaceful summer days.  Canvas art prints create a raised effect to the art, making them even more striking when you enter the room.

canvas
Posters
Adding cool art posters to a room can give it a real retro feel. It makes me think back to my university days when I would plaster my walls with interesting and fun posters. There are so many different options to choose from, from famous paintings, beautiful images or exciting photographs to name just a few. You can opt to frame the print or you may wish to just apply it to the wall as it comes. One thing is for sure, this will certainly make an interesting and eye-catching feature in your home. 

Big Ben

Photos to paintings
I love to have photographs featured around my home of my family. One selection of photographs on display is of our first seaside holidays together; it always takes me right back to that sunny happy week! Another great idea is to have your photographs turned into paintings, making a really unique piece to display on your walls. 

Tile or photo Wall 
Adding a feature wall full of photo tiles or framed photographs is a stylish and modern option and will add so much character and life to your home. Eyes will be drawn to this wall, which can be full of all your favourite photographs, each one with special meaning to you and your family. 

Add tapestries
This is a really unique and stylish option when it comes to displaying art. The different texture the tapestries provide adds a really quirky feel to the art. By adding tapestries to your room you can create a real statement, providing the room with a pop of colour and a modern yet unconventional effect. 

tapestry

*This is a collaborative post