SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, 9 December 2019

Essential things to think about when writing your 2020 goals

As 2020 nears, there could understandably be quite a few New Year's resolutions taking shape in your head, but whether you will entirely follow through with those goals remains its own question. CNBC reporter Alicia Adamczyk acknowledges the research finding that few people ultimately meet their New Year's resolutions - hence why, if you're thinking of setting some, you should think carefully about what they should be and how you ought to work towards them.


Keep your goals clear but flexible
Some obvious candidates for your resolutions list present themselves - like saving money, losing weight or getting a promotion. However, you shouldn't put pressure on yourself to achieve too much too quickly, as that's one big reason why frustration can too easily set in.

Therefore, remind yourself that, if you don't end up fully achieving a particular goal this year, you should just roll it over to the following year, and be grateful for what progress you did make in 2020.

Sort goals into short-term, mid-range and long-term
This works because it can prevent you from toiling away at one particular task for ages before it bears any fruit that would produce the euphoria for which you are continuously longing.

Planting a garden and lunching with a relative could be short-term goals, trying a new diet or month-long class can constitute a mid-range task, and joining a longer class or club can be a long-term activity. In a list of 20 goals, limit the long-term activities to three, says Planning Mindfully.

How you will let other people know about your resolutions
"Some research shows that telling others your goal makes you feel like you've already achieved it," Dr Mehmet Oz, MD tells Good Housekeeping. According to other studies, though, sharing progress with people can assist in keeping you going, Dr Oz acknowledges.

You could confide in just one friend to start with, before opting to "share achievements with others when you're on the road to success", as Dr Oz advises.

Pursue just one goal at a timeMultitasking isn't efficiency-boosting, insists mindfulness guru Pedram Shojai, who wrote the book The Art of Stopping Time. In fact, it could wreak havoc on your mental stability.

"If your focus is fragmented, you'll likely find yourself getting anxious as new items come up when old ones are still incomplete," he explains. He advocates that you instead segment activities across chunks of time and then "commit to being focused in those allotted minutes and see what happens."

Start and maintain a written record of your progress
Some of your resolutions might entail building upon achievements of yours from 2019 - in which case, you could write down what you've managed. Add to that record as 2020 continues, as you could thereby ward off depressing thoughts of "I'm behind schedule" or "I'll never get there". So, for adding new roofing to a Newcastle upon Tyne home, you could note down when you call a local roofing firm and, later, what progress it is making with that roof.


*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


leggings
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! 


lashes
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


slippers

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.

school

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!


Scoot

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 
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.



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
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!

Specdrums


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

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! 

ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 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

Recipe: 
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.
rice

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.


office

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

3 Home Renovation Tips

Whether you’ve just moved in, or been living in your house for 20 years, a home renovation can completely change the look and feel of your living space. But it can be hard to know where to start. To get the ball rolling, follow these three mighty home renovation tips for a smooth start to a fresh, new home.

home

Upgrade Your Plumbing System
As winter approaches especially, your pipes can freeze up or get blocked. Having your water at a freeflow constantly is essential so you can access clean, freshwater all year round. Following these tips will ensure you don’t have any big problems when the weather changes:

1. Consider a hair filter in your bathroom. No matter your age or gender, removing hair is a pain- with the clean up being the worst part. We all know how disgusting it is to pull out that big matt of hair from your shower drain- especially if it’s stuck halfway down the pipe. Avoiding this chore will decrease water flow, so invest in a hair filter to make it quicker and easier to remove.

2. Avoid pouring fats and oils down the drain. Pipes are like arteries, to keep everything flowing correctly, they need to be open. It’s easy to clog your plumbing up with fatty liquids- even the smallest amount can create a significant build-up, just like your body. The best way to prevent this is to avoid oil near your sinks and drains as much as possible, and regularly run hot water and washing up liquid down the drain to emulsify.

3. Insulate your pipes. When it comes to your plumbing, the most critical part is the pipes- with the condensate pipe being the ‘main’ body of your heating system. You can find your condensate pipe on the outside wall of your home, which means it will take a beating during the winter months. If you haven’t already when home renovating, insulate this pipe. In the winter months, the temperature tends to drop below freezing, which will mean the liquid within the condensate pipe will freeze up an cause your boiler to go to a lockout. Using pipe lagging (pipe insulation) will prevent the pipe from freezing up by making sure less heat is escaping the hose.

Checking For Pests
Before you start any home renovations on a large scale, you must check your home for pests that may be living around you. Depending on the season, different critters lurk under floorboards, in beds and up fireplaces. You don’t want to hurt anything while you’re carrying out major renovations, so it’s best to exterminate beforehand. Even if you’re not planning on substantial changes, it can be uncomfortable and create anxiety for your friends and family, so it’s better to get rid sooner rather than later. Common pests in your home can include:

● Rats and Mice

● Bed Bugs

● Flies

● Wasps

● Termites

In severe cases, the easiest fix is to call out pest control services, which are cheap and easy to find. However, there are some preventative measures that you can easily do yourself, such as:

● Sealing up cracks and openings in walls

● Keeping your kitchen clean and putting food away

● Treating damp immediately

Heat and Cool More Efficiently
Especially in older homes, your heating system can be lacking- and therefore should be at the top of your list during home renovations. Monitoring your heating routine before any changes will save you not only cold feet but also a considerable amount of money (that you could be spending on the less troublesome renovations!). Getting a new boiler installation during your home renovations will make sure you’ve got an efficient system to match your heating requirements. If you’re starting fresh, you may as well do it properly and keep on track by paying more attention to your thermostat. Understanding and regulating your heating usage is the first step to a long-lasting boiler that you won’t have to worry about for at least ten years. Smart thermostats such as Nest can help you. Nest and other smart thermostats learn your living routine and programmes itself accordingly, therefore saving you time and money. Or for budget renovations, you need to manually plan out what temperature you need to set your boiler at, and when you need it most.

Renovating your home can be troublesome, but it should still be rewarding.

Don’t let it become a long, confusing mess when making your home into somewhere comfortable. Follow our guide for a great starting point to your dream home.


*Collaborative Post
Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Santa's Winter Wonderland at The Snowdome, Tamworth

Last week we were invited to visit  Santa's Winter Wonderland in Tamworth; a magical Christmas experience. With real snow to play in, animals to meet and a festive show featuring Father Christmas himself, there's lots of fun to be had by all!

snowdome

When we arrived in the magical snow cave, we were entertained by a jovial host with jokes, a welcome speech and a countdown to open the doors before we all entered. My boys were delighted to be greeted with real snow to play with. They couldn't believe their eyes. 

There are sledges to ride around on, slopes to slide down on a snow tube, Christmassy displays, and photo ops as well as beautiful snow-covered Christmas trees and Christmas lights galore. 


There is ample time to play in the snow before being welcomed into the theatre to watch the show. This is like a mini pantomime and there's lots of jokes for adults too so everyone can be entertained.

After the show, you then enter Santa's village full of furry animals, a beautiful carousel to ride on and a magical talking postbox to send your letter off to Santa!


We really enjoyed our experience in the snowdome. The 90 minutes that you are allocated are just enough to prevent the little ones becoming too cold. Our favourite part was definitely the slopes that you could slide down. Even Daddy had a go!

We will definitely be back next year!

*We received complimentary tickets in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. 
Sunday, 17 November 2019

Unique Advent Calendars For 2019!

You won't have failed to have noticed the rise in unique advent calendars in recent years with ones including beauty products, alcohol, stationery and even cheese! But even if you like your advent calendar a little more traditional, you'll be sure to find one for you! Here is a pick of some of the best advent calendars for 2019.

Mazet de Montargis Bear Praline Advent Calendar
Behind each door of this beautiful advent calendar is one of Mazet's delicious creations from fruit jellies, sugared almonds, pralines and fruit creams! The illustrations from Dominique Le Bagousse are quirky and cute making this a delightful advent calendar to enjoy in the run up to Christmas! Find it at Sous Chef.
advent calendar

Cafe Tasse Belgian Chocolate Advent Calendar
This exquisite calendar is filled with assorted Belgian chocolate napolitains; chocolates designed to be served with coffee. Cafe Tasse are a family run business using a blend of cocoa beans from Africa and South America. The cocoa beans are blended with pure cocoa butter for a silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Find yours at Sous Chef.


advent calendar

So Free Advent Calendars
This range of advent calendars are perfect for those preferring or requiring a milk free alternative. Their dairy free, organic, Milk Chocolate Alternative calendar is made in their own factory which is free from dairy and gluten. The White Chocolate Alternative advent calendar made from a blend of cocoa butter, sugar and rice tastes just like white chocolate! The So Free Smooth Advent Calendar has all the taste of milk chocolate with only 4% sugars. It is made with cocoa and coconut giving it a smooth, delicious texture and is wheat and dairy free. All the calendars are suitable for vegans! Find yours at Plamil Foods Ltd.


advent calendar
advent calendar
advent calendar

Beanies Advent Calendar
Behind each of the doors of this exciting advent calendar you will find different stick coffee sachets (two per day!) On the first day you will receive a fabulous Beanies mug and on the 24th day a jar of coffee Christmas flavoured coffee. There's lots of variety in this fun and unique advent calendar. What a way to start each day in the countdown to Christmas! Find yours here.



The Elf On The Shelf Orna-Pop Advent Calendar 
For something a little bit different this year, why not try the Elf On The Shelf Orna-Pop Advent Calendar. Each day children can bop a pouch on the calendar which magically self inflates before popping to reveal a new balloon ornament featuring a joke, riddle or game for the children to enjoy. The ornament can then be added to the Christmas tree with the silver cord provided. There's lots of fun to be had with this unique advent calendar! Find one here!

Thorntons Cheeky Elf Advent Calendar
Featuring 24 delicious, shaped chocolates, this calendar will be adored by your little one! It is decorated with the mischievous little elf that first captured the attention of excited little ones last year! There's even a Christmas quiz to enjoy! Find one here




Disclaimer- I was kindly sent these items in exchange for an honest review

Friday, 15 November 2019

That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar

I just love advent calendars. In fact, I was quite taken aback last year when my mum informed me that I was too old for an advent calendar- how rude! Well, I think it's safe to say that the That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar (2019 edition) is certainly suitable for someone in their mid-thirties! Drinks By The Dram have once again teamed up with That Boutique-y Gin Company to bring you this special Christmas treat and you won't be disappointed! It features 24 wax sealed drams each with 30ml of wonderful gin from 4 renowned distilleries.


Each of the drams is different, containing some inspired flavour combinations from fruity combinations such as the Cherry Gin and the Strawberry and Balsamico Gin to the festive range including Chocolate Orange Gin and Yuletide Gin. There are also a range of dry gins and gins made with unexpected and unique botanicals. Each of the drams is the equivalent of a single measure so you get a generous amount to try each day. 


gin

The box is sturdy and features a tasteful image of a selection of festive drinks; it will certainly put you in the Christmas spirit! Each of the drams' labels also features an enchanting little image which will make interesting keepsakes for anyone that wishes to collect and/or display them. I love the wax seal on the drams too!


gin


If you're a long-time gin lover or like me, came to the gin party a little later (I first tried gin in 2018!) then this advent calendar will introduce you to a range of different gins to sample. There is a real variety in flavours and style that you simply won't be able to predict, making the countdown to the big day even more exciting!

To purchase a calendar of your own, or to browse the range of exciting and unique calendars on offer, with one for every spirit enthusiast, visit Drinks By The Dram.

Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted one of these calendars in exchange for an honest review.