Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Creating An Outdoor Play Area

If you have an outdoor space or a garden, you'll know just how much your children love being outside. My boys would spend all their waking hours outdoors, they just can't get enough of being in the garden. They have lots of energy so I am more than happy to allow them to play outdoors. We've spent a bit of time creating the ideal play area for them to enable this.

Here are a few ways we have created a fun outdoor play area for our little boys...

Scooters and bikes
Children love to ride about. It's a great way for them to burn off some energy. Scooters and bikes help develop strength, coordination and balance!

A Playhouse
We were extremely lucky to have recently been given a lovely little playhouse after its previous owners outgrew it. My boys have already spent many happy hours playing in it and they like to pretend it's their home which is great for imaginative play! It also means they can be in the garden when it starts to drizzle as they will stay nice and dry in their little house!

Sand and Water Table
My little ones also love playing with the sand and water table. It provides so much entertainment and they like to pretend they are at the beach!

Art area
When there is dry weather I like to set up a little area with an easel and paints so they can get creative. It also means I don't need to worry about paint on the carpets and walls! I also like to put out some chalks so they can decorate the patio!

We bought a trampoline for my eldest son's fourth birthday. Now his little brother is at an age to enjoy it too. If they've still got excess energy after all the outdoor play, they can bounce on it until they haven't! 

Games area
Why not create an area where the children can develop their skills and confidence in a variety of games? You could set up some goals for the children to practice their ball skills or provide them with rackets and shuttlecocks so that they can practice playing badminton for example. 
They will be pros in no time!

Play tent
Sometimes, the boys like to pretend they are camping. They put their pillows and favourite soft toys in the tent and pretend it's night time. The tent is also their secret den and I can often hear little giggles coming from it! So cute! 

Do your little ones love playing outdoors? Do you have any tips for creating a fun outdoor space? I'd love to hear them! 

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All opinions and words are my own  
Thursday, 2 January 2020

Botswana Is Africa's Best Kept Secret

Botswana, for those of you who don’t know, is a country in Subsaharan Africa to the north of South Africa. It’s also one of the most exciting countries in the southern hemisphere - a real success story.

While many of the surrounding countries, like Zimbabwe and Mozambique, are poor, Botswana is a place that has overcome all of the obstacles in its way and is one of the wealthiest in the region. The economy here has been growing at an average rate of seven per cent a year for nearly half a century, making it a real success story.

The reasons for its unique vibe come from two things: it’s colonial history and local culture. Westerners first began arriving in Botswana en masse in the eighteenth century but saw it as little more than brush and wilderness. It was just a “route to the interior” of Africa than anywhere that they could set up a colony. After all, there were practically no natural resources to speak of. The culture, therefore, was mostly free to develop on its own. Local farming communities continued to practice their way of life, as they always had done. Their quasi-democratic structures meant that no one person or group had all the power. They made decisions collectively and were in control of their private property.

Travelling to the country today, therefore, is a very different experience from other places in the region. It is surprisingly wealthy, offering numerous Botswana tours for people who want to discover the rich heritage of the area. There’s an enormous amount that the country has to offer.

The Safari Experience
Botswana has invested heavily in keeping its natural features in good condition. The country operates a low-impact tourism policy. The idea is to preserve the environment in a pristine state so that multiple generations of tourists can enjoy everything that the landscape has to offer.

Pixabay - CC0 License

The result is nothing short of spectacular. When you are in Botswana, you are in a genuine wilderness - something that is exceptionally hard to come by in most countries. There are no hotels or destination developments. Instead, the only accommodation is mobile tents - temporary camps that set up and then disband according to the seasons.

The best time to go on Safari is at the start of the dry season. At this time of the year, the weather is good, and the ground still lush and green. The animals are also in most abundance, especially near to water sources.

The Starry Nights
The almost complete lack of development outside of the cities makes Botswana one of the perfect places to experience the joys of a genuinely clear sky. Once you travel out of the capital, there is practically no light pollution, allowing you to see the stars as never before.

Animal Sanctuaries

Pixabay - CC0 License

Botswana takes conservation very serious. If you head out of Gabarone to Serowe, you’ll find the Khama Rhino Sanctuary where you can see some of the rarest rhinos in the world, including the white rhino.

*Collaborative Post
Saturday, 21 December 2019

Finding the Right Childcare With

If you're a parent or guardian, there will likely be a time when you need to find childcare for your children. Of course, we want the absolute best for them and so we want to ensure that the childcare that they receive is reliable, trustworthy and of the highest quality. It can be a little overwhelming knowing where to start in finding the right childcare. With a range of different options available including nurseries, childminders or babysitters to name just a few, there can be many to choose from but at the same time, it can be hard to know just who or what is available in your area. That's where comes in! is an award winning social networking platform for parents, childcare providers and private tutors. You can also find work in childcare too. I've had a look at the website to determine just how useful this is for parents and here are my findings. 


You can do a quick search for childcare in your area, without signing up. I decided to search for childminders in my area within a five mile radius and was surprised to discover that there were 173 registered childminders listed. I simply had no idea that so many were located in this area. Not knowing of the website when my boys were young, I relied on the recommendations of a friends for who to contact. We had an amazing childminder but she no longer works as a childminder and so for any future children needing childcare, we would be looking for someone new. It really is reassuring to know that this information will be available to us so easily. 


I then decided click on the profile of one of the childminders and was able to access firstly a summary of the service offered by the childminder. I could see for example, that she had newborn experience, had first aid training and childcare qualifications. I could also see that she had a DBS check but had not yet uploaded it to and so if she was selected as one of our potential childminders, we could ask to see this at the interview. The profile also had a written personal statement from the childminder, with further information about herself, her experience, qualifications, availability, fees, relevant documents and reviews. This information is invaluable in helping you to select some potential carers for your children. 

If you wish to contact one of the childcare providers, you will need to sign up. This is quick and easy to do, taking less than one minute. You can then create your own profile advertising your requirements to childcare providers. 

I have been really impressed by the service offered by Not only does it assist in finding the childcare options available to you but it also offers thorough advice and information to assist you in this process. I am confident that I will use this website to find future childcare providers and I am more than happy to recommend it! 

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All opinions are entirely my own.  

Sunday, 15 December 2019

How to Clean an Engineered Wood Floor

We recently wrote about how engineered wood floors are a practical and affordable way to enhance the look of any room. A couple of months on and we thought you might benefit from some tips on how to make sure your new wood floor is always looking at its best.

Do a deep clean

If you live in a busy household your floor may require a deep clean as often as two or three times a year.

You’ll need to vacuum or sweep the floor with a soft brush to collect crumbs and dust - otherwise when it comes to mopping you’ll just be moving dirt around your floor!

There are plenty of specialist floor cleaning products available on the market and many are very effective, but there’s no reason you couldn’t mop the floor using just a little washing-up liquid diluted in warm water. Make sure that you wring the mop out so that it’s damp rather than wet. Clean in the direction of the grain as you’ll find it easier to get into all the crevices in the wood. Once finished, rinse the mop and wring it out thoroughly, then go over the floor once again. If you have two mops you could even use a clean, dry mop at this stage to remove any excess water from your floor surface. Make sure the floor is completely dry before replacing any rugs or mats.

Never use furniture polish on an engineered wood floor - it will leave a slippery residue which won’t be fun to walk on!

Don’t use too much water
Engineered wood is water resistant, but as with any wooden flooring it’s still important that you don’t leave puddles of water on the surface. Excess water could soak into the wood and cause the floor to warp or swell. In a worst-case scenario, the finished surface could lift away from the softwood or plywood core and this would be expensive to fix. Use of a steam mop isn’t recommended for much the same reason, as over time the steam will penetrate the wood and cause similar damage.

Remove dirty marks and scuffs
If you have a busy household with children and/or pets you’re likely to have a marked or scuffed floor.

Fortunately, light scuffs are easily removed with a little rubbing alcohol or baking soda on a damp cloth, rubbed gently on the mark. Another great way to remove light marks and scuffs is to rub the affected area with a rubber eraser or a clean fuzzy tennis ball.

Because engineered wood is usually finished with a water resistant polyurethane or wax coating, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about water stains.

However, if your flooring does get stained, lightly rubbing the affected area with steel wool or a fine grit sandpaper will often be enough to remove the unsightly mark. You can then refinish the area with the appropriate coating. The wear layer of engineered wood flooring is typically 4-8mm thick so care does need to be taken when sanding, otherwise you might find yourself sanding through to the plywood core. This also limits the number of times you can refinish the same area of floor.

Small scratches can often be sorted without having to sand the whole floor. First, thoroughly clean the floor and then allow it to dry. Gently rub the scratch with wire wool in the direction of the grain, then use lacquer or wax to refinish the scratched area to match the rest of the floor.

Prevention is always better than a cure!
If you routinely look after your floor you won’t need to do a deep clean as often, and this will reduce the chance you’ll need to refinish the floor.

  • Clean up spills as soon as they happen with an absorbent cloth, then buff dry.
  • Avoid wearing shoes indoors - grit on the soles of shoes can scratch floors and rubber from trainer soles can transfer to floor surfaces.
  • Use non-slip protector pads under furniture to prevent scratches.
  • Sweep or vacuum your floors daily to prevent dirt and dust from building up in cracks and crevices.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaning products on your engineered wood flooring as they may damage the surface.
Use a soft brush when sweeping your floor to prevent scratches. If you’d rather vacuum than sweep, ensure you have the appropriate attachments for the job and have your vacuum on the hard floor setting.

Following these tips will help you prevent issues that would later require expensive or time-consuming fixes, which means you’ll have more time to enjoy your beautiful floor and get on with the more important things in life!

Please remember - we can’t be held responsible for your DIY misadventures! When using cleaning or finish products make sure you read the instructions on the bottle, and it’s always best to consult with the manufacturer of your engineered wood flooring before you do any refinishing.

*Collaborative post
Sunday, 1 December 2019

Car Insurance: Drivers Charged for Low Mileage

Car insurance can sometimes come with a sense of dread, but it has recently been shown that those that use their vehicles for short-distance journeys could be paying more for insurance than those that use their vehicles for longer distances.

Research has shown that those travelling between 5,000 and 6,000 miles a year could be paying as much as £200 more than those that drive 12,000 miles and more.


How Low Mileage Drivers are Paying More
After analysing 2.5 million car insurance quotes between July and October 2018 made on price-comparison Money Supermarket it was found that those travelling up to 6,000 miles a year will pay £233 more than those driving 12,000 miles.

Younger drivers between 25 and 29 years old found that they were paying £229 more for their insurance when compared to those that were travelling between 11,000 and 12,00 miles on an annual basis.

It wasn’t only younger drivers that were seeing this trend, as the research also showed that the drivers aged between 50 and 64 years old travelling 5,000 miles paid £10 more in relation to insurance when compared to drivers in the same age group travelling between 11,000 to 12,000 miles per annum.

The Number of People Affected
The study carried out that around 60% of the 14,503,248 cars that had received an MOT in 2017 had driven less than 7,000 miles. This means that millions of drivers could be paying more for their insurance, simply because the vehicle is used for short journeys.

This is only a study of vehicles that have received an MOT, so there could be even more drivers who are paying more insurance because of the shorter journeys made.

However, there are other forms of insurance available that can offer drivers the opportunity to reduce their insurance premiums.

Pay as You Go Car Insurance

Pay as you go car insurance is also known as black box insurance and offers insurance that based on facts as opposed to statistics. The data is obtained by the insurance company attaching a device to the vehicle or via the use of a smartphone app.

Pros and Cons Associated with Black Box Car Insurance

Black box car insurance is like any other form of insurance in that it can benefit some road users while hindering others.

Younger and older drivers travelling short distances will often benefit from black box car insurance, whereas those travelling longer distances could find that they end up paying more than they would with a standard policy.

When looking at car insurance, it’s important to look at the options available and choose insurance that fits the requirements best.

While not for everyone, the use of black box car insurance has been a positive move for those looking to reduce costs in relation to insurance premiums. It can also ensure that the insurance put in place is valid should an accident ever occur, and can even help with ascertaining as to where he fault lies in relation to the accident.

*Collaborative Post
Friday, 29 November 2019

Christmas Gift Guide For Adults 2019!

With Christmas just around the corner, you can find some gift inspiration with my Christmas Gift Guide for Adults 2019! 

Love Leggings
Start the new year in style with these gorgeous Mulberry Plum leggings from the  Focus 7/8's collection from Love Leggings. Designed with yoga, Pilates and Studio classes in mind these offer ultimate comfort enabling you to move freely on the mat! They have a  controlling waist-band and feature stretch-shape retention technology so you can focus on those stretches in style! Find yours here

Kiss Lashes
Look and feel your best this Christmas and throughout the year ahead with these beautiful Kiss Lashes. Whether you opt for natural, sultry or even flirty lashes, you'll be sure to find a style to suit you. They are wonderful quality and available in over 20 different styles and what's more, they are affordable too! I can't think of a more exciting stocking filler! 

Onaie Slippers
Slippers are the ultimate Christmas gift enabling you to keep warm and cosy throughout the cooler months. The range of sheepskin slippers by Onaie are created by a team of skilled  craftspeople in the Polish Highlands and are hand embroidered for a unique and individual touch. Find yours here


IMO Q2 Plus 2019
Following the successful launch of the IMO Q2 Plus black with Vodafone last year, the 2019 launch has an additional two colours 'True Blue' and 'Love Pink'. IMO have challenged the market by offering affordable smart phones with a range of great features including a face unlock function! The RRP is just £39.99. They will surely be on many Christmas lists this year! They are available at Argos and Vodafone. Find one here.

Tardis Desk Tidy
Doctor Who fans will simply love this amazing desk tidy. A perfect wooden reproduction of the Doctor's Tardis, this sturdy desk tidy has hinged doors and a roof so you can fit all that essential office stationery (or even your sonic screwdriver) in! You can find one here

Glass straws
These wonderful glass straws from Vaso make the perfect stocking filler. An environmentally friendly alternative to plastic straws, each straw is crafted from German engineered glass and is reusable, recyclable, sustainable and safe. Enjoy that festive beverage in style this Christmas! Find out more here
Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted these items in exhange for an honest review

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Helping Your Child Transition From Nursery to School

Transitioning from nursery to school means many new changes for your child. They will need to learn their way around a much bigger space and they will need to get to know new teachers and make new friends. They will also need to adjust to a new school routine and learn how to be more independent.


All of these changes come as a bit of a shock and feel overwhelming for children; however, there are many ways that parents can help to prepare their children for this exciting milestone. To help you get started, here are some helpful tips from Taunton School

In order to help your child settle into their new school as smoothly as possible, it is important to get to know the environment as early as possible. Take your child along to open days and events at the school to help them learn their way around. It is also useful to arrange a visit on a normal school day, so that your child can get an idea of what to expect from daily school life.

Perhaps you have a friend, neighbour or relative who already attends the school? If so, this is an ideal way for your child to find out more about their new teachers and ask any questions they may have. You should also be able to find lots of useful information on the school website, such as uniform requirements and term dates.

Your child is bound to feel nervous about starting their new school. Give them your support and let your child know that what they are feeling is normal. You could try and relate their feelings to a time when you felt nervous, such as when you started school or a new job. Then move on to another good memory from that day to reinforce a positive outlook. Talk to your child about some of the exciting things they can look forward to at school, such as school trips or events like sports day.

Finally, one of the most useful things you can do to prepare your child for school is to teach them how to do certain tasks by themselves. This might include tying shoelaces, dressing and undressing and washing their hands after visiting the toilet.

*Collaborative Post
Sunday, 24 November 2019

Christmas Gift Guide For Children and Young Adults 2019!

This year has simply flown by! With Christmas just around the corner you may be looking for some gift inspiration for the special little ones in your life. If so, then look no further with my Christmas gift guide for children and young adults!

Personalised Wooden Christmas Eve Festive Box
Kick-start the Christmas magic before the big day with this rather special Christmas Eve Box! It's cut from all-natural wood and can be personalised with your child's name. It features a beautiful festive design and is available in three different colours and two different sizes. Start a festive tradition for your children and make some magical memories of this special time. You can order yours here

Scoot Animagic
Scoot is just like a real dog! She walks by your side but let her off the lead and off she will go! She always comes back though; just call her name or clap your hands and she'll come straight back. She makes over 35 different sound and motion combinations and has the cutest waggly tail you will ever see! Find yours here!


Pink Fong Baby Shark Song Puppets

Your little one will have so much fun with these Baby Shark puppets. They play the full Baby Shark song and the tempo can be controlled by moving its mouth faster or slower. Available in a variety of different colours, and made of soft plush fabric this will become a firm favourite for your child! Find one here.

Baby shark
Fuzzikins sets are great for children that love being creative! Fuzzikins are fuzzy animals that you can colour in, customizing them however you wish. They can be washed so they can be enjoyed time and time again. The Fuzzi School Pop-Up Playset comes with 6 Fuzzi babies and a wise owl teacher! It comes with a pop up school, washable pens and stickers to colour! You can find one here!
Little Brian Paint Sticks
Little Brian Paint Sticks are loved by parents, teachers and children everywhere and there's a reason why! They enable children to enjoy mess- free painting on multiple surfaces and the paint dries quickly. They have a handy twist up format too! They are available in a range of different colours including classic, metallic and florescent! Find out more here!

Little Brian
Thorntons Cheeky Elf
Who wouldn't want to find one of these lovable chocolate elves under the Christmas tree? Made from delicious milk chocolate and with an intricate design, it's almost too good to eat! It can also be iced with a personalised message! Find one here.

chocolate elf
World Illustrated Sticker Map
This is a beautiful gift for children curious about the world around them. It is a fun, brightly coloured map that comes with stickers of animals and famous landmarks so your child can place them on the map. The stickers contain hints of where they should be located on the map and there are also faint outlines of the sticker shapes on the map to assist your child. They are also repositional! Find yours here.

Beaker Creatures Alien Experiment Lab

For curious little minds, the Beaker Creatures Alien Experiment Lab is so much fun. Packed with all the tools they will need to perform out-of-this world experiments, inspired by the popular Beaker Creatures and their planets! Children can learn how to make slime, dough and perform exciting science experiments, learning the science facts behind the fun. It comes with two Reactor Pods containing surprise collectible Beaker Creatures. Which ones will they discover? Find one from Learning Resources

Beaker Creatures

My First Calendar 
My First Calendar is an interactive, reusable calendar that helps your child to learn all about the days of the week, times of the day, months of the year, weather, seasons and the temperature too. The calendar is aimed at pre-schoolers and key stage one children and comes in one of three designs; Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and PJ Masks. The colours are bright and appealing for young children and feature many of their favourite characters. Your little one will have endless fun with their My First Calendar. Find one here.

My First Calendar

Specdrums are app enabled rings that enable children to make and music by using colours. There are hundreds of instruments, sounds and loops to choose from. They can use the coloured pad provided or can even tap on objects- clothes, pictures or fruit for example- and can create their own music masterpieces. The music plays through their mobile device. They provide an accessible, fun and tactile way of creating music without the need to purchase singular instruments. You can find one here!


Disclaimer- I was kindly gifted these items in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Cooking With Schwartz: Turmeric Vegetable Rice

When it comes to cooking with spices, there's a whole world of different flavours to explore and they are guaranteed to add some zest to your meals. What's more, they also have an array of health benefits. This week we were tasked with creating a dish containing Turmeric.


Turmeric powder is ground from the root of the turmeric plant. It is closely related to ginger is is grown in India and Indonesia. Research shows that turmeric may help reduce inflammation in those with arthritis, can help relieve pain, reduce risk of cancer, aid digestion and improve liver function!

We were kindly sent some Schwarts Turmeric ground powder to use in our cooking. Here's what we created.

Turmeric Vegetable Rice

This dish is flavoured with turmeric to give it a aromatic and spicy flavour. It is a dish packed full of vegetables so you'll be well on your way to reaching your recommended five a day! I used onions, peas, carrots and chick peas but there's a whole host of other vegetables that would compliment the dish. The turmeric gives the dish a bright yellow appearance, perfect for brightening these dull winter days! 



  • A mug of Basmati rice
  • Half a tbsp of Turmeric
  • Half a large onion
  • Half a can of chick peas
  • 2 medium carrots
  • A handful of peas
  • A pinch of Salt and pepper
  • a tsp of Chilli powder

For 2-4 people
  • Begin by rinsing your rice until it runs clear. Bring the to the boil and allow it to simmer for approx 20 mins. Add the turmeric to the water.
  • In a wok, fry the onions and carrots until they start to soften.
  • Add the peas and chick peas.
  • Once the rice is cooked, add it to the wok and mix in the vegetables.
  • Add chilli powder
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Delicious! You can enjoy this as a main meal or as a side. Why not try adding cashew nuts, toasted almonds or seeds?

Do you enjoy cooking with spices? I'd love to hear more in the comments below!

*Collaborative Post

Friday, 22 November 2019

How to Create a Workspace at Home

Whether you’re running a business from home or you just want a corner for creative pastimes, having a dedicated workspace lets you get on with stuff as soon as inspiration strikes.

You don’t have to clear a space on the kitchen table, hunt for the tools you need, carry items from room to room or scratch your head wondering where to start. A small workspace will really give your creativity and productivity a boost.


Define the Space You Need
Because different activities require different kinds of area, the first job is to understand what you actually need. For practical purposes, the term ‘workspace ’is a bit too vague. So hone in on what’s really important to help you get the job done:

● Do you need good ventilation? If you’re crafting or working with chemicals and fumes, this might be a priority. Your basement might offer a brilliant space, but how would you keep the air clean if ventilation is poor?

● Do you need good light in your workspace? If you’re doing close or detailed creative work, correct lighting is a must. You could use daylight bulbs in gloomy corners, but if you can plan an area with plenty of natural light, this is even better.

● Do you need privacy? Maybe you’re writing and you like your drafts to stay private. Could you arrange a desk so your back is to the wall and you’re facing into the room? That way you know no-one is reading over your shoulder.

● Do you need somewhere for potentially dangerous tools or expensive equipment? An expanse of wall (doesn’t have to be huge) where you can hang shelving could help keep things organised and out of reach of small children.

Figure out what you need in your workspace, then go from there.

Commandeer the Spare Room
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a spare (or guest) room, but if you do you have workspace galore for little effort.

It’s relatively easy to organise a spare room for any type of activity, and make it possible to still have guests over when you want. You could:

● Rent a storage unit for normal bedroom furniture. You can put beds etc in there to make room for workbenches or desks, and do a quick switch-around when overnight guests are arriving. Self storage facilities are affordable and easily found throughout the UK.

● Instead of a normal bed, swap it for a day bed or sofa bed. You’ll still have a comfy place for guests, but you’ll also have a cosy seating area if you’re hand sewing or reading drafts of written work.

● If you’re short on floor space but want a flat surface, consider a fold-down table fixed to one wall. It takes up no space unless you need it, but is there on demand.

● Fit some additional shelves. They don’t have to run vertically, but could be fitted in a continuous line around the top third of the room. This offers plenty of storage while not taking up space on the floor. Stow tools and equipment in attractive baskets or boxes so the workspace is also presentable for guests.

Creating Space in Communal Rooms
If you don’t have a spare room, all is not lost.

In the living room, you could create a semi-private writing corner by turning a bookcase or two perpendicular to the wall. It won’t close the area off completely, but it does offer a psychological barrier that can indicate ‘workspace’. Put your desk behind the divider, and use the bookcase shelves for the documents, books or tools you use most often.

Have a flexible item of furniture for your craft or work tools, placed in a handy position so it’s always close to where you work. It could be as simple as a lift-top coffee table or a side table with drawers under the surface.

What about in the kitchen? If your go-to workspace is the kitchen table, make sure it’s always clear of clutter so you can sit down straightaway without having to tidy up first. Could you rearrange storage in the kitchen so you have one cabinet that’s just for the stuff you use when working?

A workspace is both physical and psychological. You don’t necessarily need a bespoke area (although it’s nice) in order to carve a little area where your mind jumps into work mode once you’re there and surrounded by the tools of your trade.

*Collaborative post