Monday, 17 October 2016

A Big Boy's Room

moving house

As most of you know, Leo and I moved house a few months ago. It's still a work in progress but every week means I am getting another objective ticked off my never ending to-do list. Over the weekend I managed to tick off another one of those jobs, and it has meant that I can now cast my attention on Leo's bedroom.

Leo's bedroom is one of the rooms I have been aching to complete, it seems we have been waiting on certain pieces of furniture to arrive so that I can really get it to be the functional room I have dreamed that it will be. With the arrival of Leo's bed, it has meant that we can really get stuck into it and start to put that personal mark on it for my little man.

I wanted the room to be a smart but simple design, Leo is growing up and he is swapping and changing his mind about characters and all sorts (As children do of course), so it has just made me that more determined to provide him with a room that can grow with him. I want to decorate it once and then know that he is sorted and happy for at least a couple of years!

Leo had a few requests but the rest he has been more than happy to let me pitch to him, and for the most part he hasn't objected (which has to be a good sign right!?) so here are Leo's demands (demands that must be met):

- The room must have a high rise ladder bed (Tick)
- The room must have room for all of his toys (Tick)
- The room cannot have any of Leo's old soft toys, apparently they are for babies (Tick)
- The room has to have a lava lamp (Tick)
- The room has to be cool

So I had a number of objections that I have to fill, but it still leaves a lot of scope to play around with. I have been having a look at the Esprit Kids Bedroom's and have fallen in love with a number of items that I would just love to install in Leo's room.

Now I don't want to make Leo's room boring, I just wanted to take a step back and give him a room that didn't look as childish as the rooms and designs we have opted for in the past. I can only see this as a positive, especially when he is coming home on a daily basis and telling me that he no longer likes this, and he no longer likes that. So we opted for a space theme and these are some of the additions that I am hoping to entwine.
Esprit Children's room
In the photo we have the Boys Dream Stripe Wallpaper - £ 15.95 - , the Gold Star Cushion Cover - £ 19.00 - and my favourite the Starlet cashmink reversible blanket - £ 75.00 - .

Staying simple doesn't have to be boring, and these items really show what you can achieve. I love all of the different colours and textures that are shown here. There is nothing that pin points a specific age, so it means it can be enjoyed for so much longer. 

I intend to get really stuck into Leo's bedroom this week, and hopefully it will start to take shape pretty quickly. I for one will be over the moon when I can finally just sit back and enjoy it all.

National Home Security Month - October 2016

National Home Security Month

I think we can all agree on one thing, the world that we live in is an unpredictable and crazy place at times, we never really know what's going to happen, and all we really want in life is to provide our families with a safe place to live. National Home Security Month (NHSM) is back this October (Starting from the 3rd) to provide us all with even more top tips for keeping our families, homes and possessions safe.

This movement, sponsored by the security specalist Yale, provides us all with food for thought and encourages us all to consider how safe are home is, and how we protect our own personal bubble. It is such an important factor to highlight, since we moved into our new home I have been meaning to purchase a padlock for the back gate and the shed, but it is still something that I am yet to do, when the reality is, it should have been a priority.

The initiative is to highlight and raise awareness to the likes of you and I, about the importance of home security. It is estimated that a burglary happens every 40 seconds in the UK* with thefts surging by 38% following the clocks going back and the evenings becoming darker. 

National Home Security Month

A few years ago we had our garage broken into at my parents home, and although they only took a few bikes, it still shocked us and made us address the security of the garage. This was actually in the height of Summer at some point during the night. It's a horrible feeling knowing that someone else has been on your property, and definitely takes away the feeling of safety that one would ordinary associate with home.

The campaign highlights a different element of home security each week. The first week focused on providing simple tips and advice on how to protect your home and belongings over the winter period.  

The Second week went into the overall home security and explored traditional security methods that protect the entry points to your home and of course the valuables that we all have within those brick walls. 

The Third week looks at the advancing technology of the smart security industry, it provides an insight to us all about how we can connect these devices with our homes and keep it secure at the touch of a button. I have to admit that it is rather incredible to see just how clever these devices have become over the years.

Week Four will focus on raising the awareness surrounding the darker nights, it will force us all to think about whether our homes, garages and sheds are secure and protected against the unexpected. It will all wrap up in week Five and provide us all with seasonal advice on how to protect our homes against the increase in thefts and damage around Halloween and Bonfire Night.

I think that this year everyone is going to be that little more vigilant thanks to the prankster clowns that have been reported all over the news recently. 

You can check in with NHSM every day on Facebook and Twitter to get security tips, all you need to do is search for 'Home Security Month' in the search bar. 

To celebrate the launch of NHSM, Yale are offering homeowners the chance to win a Yale two camera Smart CCTV kit and a Home View camera to make sure you’re property is secure this winter – not to mention £100 worth of  Love2Shop vouchers! Click here to enter.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Be Fierce, Be Brave: Autumn Style

Kayla Itsines Transformation
Since I have lost the weight and made a conscious effort to tone up my wobbly bits, I have really come out of my shell in terms of fashion and what I am comfortable in wearing. For years I watched girls dressing in clothes that I admired from a far, the green eyed monster taking a hold and rattling my very being. I watched them walk past confidently in clothes I longed to be able to wear for myself, the way I wished I could look and feel if I too wore those clothes. I knew that at that point in my life where I was anything but comfortable with my weight and build, that I needed to love myself first before I addressed anything else.

2 years ago I found myself on a journey of self discovery, weight loss and acceptance. It all seems like such a long time ago now, but those tentative baby steps paved the way to the leaps and bounds that proceeded those little movements in the right direction. 

With an entirely new frame of mind at the helm I started to step outside my comfort zone. I welcomed crop tops and daring dresses into my wardrobe. I absolutely lived for Summer and the feeling of being able to stretch my legs out in my favourite pair of hot pants felt like all of my Christmas's coming at once. Of course Summer cannot last forever, and I have to admit that I do have a soft spot for the cooler months that are coming our way at this very moment, it's hard not to get excited about choosing new outfits for the festive season, and if you have a look at the Lyst A Star Is Born selection you will no doubt fall head over heels for the stunning collection!

Autumn means that we can dress warmer and try different styles, and in honour of fall arriving to the UK I have put together my favourite daring outfit to celebrate those first golden leaves falling to the ground. It's an outfit that I absolutely adore, and one that 2 years ago, I would have admired with love hearts at the very fore front of my eyes, and wished I had the confidence to wear (Now I just wish I had the bank balance to purchase it!).

Leather Trousers

First up we have the RTA Prince Skinny Leather Trousers, I absolutely love the look and would do 1000 Burpees in order to have them hanging in my wardrobe. There is something incredibly sexy about a pair of leather trousers and if I had the privilege to actually own these, I would hands down wish Winter would last forever and wear them each and everyday for the rest of my life. 

A pair of leather trousers this beautiful needs the ultimate crop top to really set the outfit on fire. Being black you really do have the power to pull out all of the colour stops, but sometimes less is more, and that is exactly why I have opted for the Rosewater Lace Up Cunningham Top by Rachel Pally. It's classic and daring all at the same time, and I adore the lace up front, having a small chest means I can get away with tops like these as I can easily go bra-less without having any major wardrobe malfunctions! 

Leather Trousers

Finally I would complete this outfit with a pair of beautiful beige shoes to compliment the top and break up the black (Of course Black would equally go, but I think Beige is the new Black!). I happened to come across the perfect pair of Christian Louboutin Fifi Patent Heels, complete with the trademark Red Sole, and having eyed up the Louboutin collection for well over a decade... I couldn't resit adding them into this wish list.

I do the majority of my clothes shopping online as I always find that the selection is that much bolder and the sky really is the limit. Before I buy anything though I always check sites such as revouchers to see if there are any voucher codes available. 

This outfit would look incredible dressed up or down, and I simply love the way the leather hugs all of the right places. 

This outfit right here is one of the many reasons I decided to make the changes that I made.When I cast my mind back to how I used to feel, it feels like those thoughts and feelings must have belonged to someone else. The girl that stands before you today has worked as hard on the inside as she has on the outside, and I am now mentally and physically confident in myself. I hold my head high and strive to help other people who may feel the same as I did back then, today. Nothing is ever set in stone, if you want to make a change, you can absolutely make that change. Nothing is ever, ever out of your reach, not if you really set your mind to it.

When I look at old photos of me, I find it hard to recognize the shy person who stares back out at me, because 2 years has changed me as a person entirely. I became the person I longed to be. Oh how I wished to be the outspoken confident girl I watched walk past me in the street in her crop top and skinny jeans. How I longed to be able to stand my ground and say what I really meant without turning a bright shade of Beetroot. Oh how I wished that I could feel happy at the prospect of slipping into my bikini by the poolside and feel beautiful, how I wished I could feel sleek and slender in a pair of leather trousers.

Fashion Shoot

Over time I did become that person. I found a strength within me that spurred me on through the challenges and forks in the road that presented themselves to me. I found solutions, I rose to the occasion, and it was those very bumps in the road that made me fight ever harder to make the changes I wanted to see in myself. It was a simple fitness mission that went on to change my very being, and today I can't help but smile and tell you how much I love being me.

I don't mean that to sound conceited because it really is anything but. This is me telling you that I found a way to be happy in the very skin I am in. Through taking the time to work on myself, I found a way to love and appreciate myself in a way that I never knew that I could. 

I can't say when that happened, but I can tell you it was a gradual process. As the stones were taken off my shoulder one by one, I started to revamp my style. I let my wildest ideas run wild, and I developed an entirely new style for myself, One that was once completely outside my comfort zone, and one that has definetly raised a few eyebrows, and dare I say it? Turned a few heads. 

How to save money when hiring a tradesmen

Hiring a tradesman? Need handy work done around the home? 

 If so, you will find that many of these specialists are going to over charge you for services. But, there are ways to hire the best, hire true specialists, and not pay too much for the work they are going to do around the home. From fixing broken wiring, rewiring a home, doing general labour, or other services, there are many ways you can go about finding the best, hiring the best, while avoiding the excessively high price tags some tradesmen tend to charge. 

 Shop and compare - Yes, just like shopping for insurance, a new car, gaming system, or other products you want to buy, when you compare services of local tradesmen you will also save. Not only will you compare cost of labour, services, parts, repairs, or other services offered, you can also find those which will guarantee all work they do around the home. So, you are not only going to pay less and find affordable help, you are also sure to be pleased with the quality of the services which they perform for you as well. 

 Compare their services - If you need a small appliance repaired, you can generally hire a general tradesman. If on the other hand, it is a complex job, high precision service, or something more precise in nature, it may require a specialist. When choosing who to hire, consider general tradesmen. Not only will you find their rates to be a bit cheaper, in most instances, they can perform a variety of the services you need done around the home. And, they are skilled in several trades, so you can hire the same person for a variety of service needs. If you are looking for a ball park figure on how much it would cost to do general household repairs check out

Look for licensing - Crafts and tradesmen who are licensed and certified, typically offer a range of services in their field. And, due to the competition, you can typically find different specialists who offer reduced rates for labour, to ensure they are hired for a job. In choosing a tradesman, look for those who are specialists, will guarantee work, and are fully licensed for the type of task you need completed around the home as well. 

 Service listings - If you need several tasks performed which require the services of a specialist, look for tradesmen doing package or bundle deals. If you need new lighting installed, work done on the heater, installation, and a few other tasks performed, if you hire one person to do all these jobs, rather than one tradesman for each job, they typically offer bundled or reduced package pricing. Not only do they work quickly and meticulously, they typically offer discounted pricing, and offer high quality services. 

 When hiring a specialist, you are generally going to pay a bit more for the work they are going to do around the home. But, when choosing a tradesman, you can find reduced or lower pricing when you know where to look. Before you choose who to hire for a particular job or trade, consider some of these ways in which you can keep the cost of labour down.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

How women can balance work and family

work and family balance

Today's workforce comprises of more women than ever before, making up more than half according to About 4 in every 10 homes have a mom who is also a working mother. 

Balancing work and life can be heard, especially for a mom, but according to surveys, more than 65 percent of women say that their jobs rarely or never interfere with their personal lives and that they have found the perfect way to balance work and life. One of the factors causing this amazing trend is that some companies are changing their policies so that there is more emphasis on what work is done rather than where it is done, with the installation of technologies like remote server access and video conferencing, allowing more people - and women- to work from home. But whether your employer gives you this much assistance or not, there are several ways for any woman, both whether you have just gotten job offers or already with a job, to find the work/life balance.

For women who are willing to start working but haven't found the right job yet, a part time job could be the right option to start with. Many job offers can be found on job sites like where you can personalise your search and results and find more flexible jobs that will allow you to find the right balance between work and family.
 Stop feeling guilty:

 In your quest to balance life and work, there will be choices and compromises, and instead of dwelling on how or why you are not with your child, focus on your role in the company and how it is benefiting the family. It can help if you discuss with your partner or group in case of guilt.
 Build a team at work:

 Investing time in others and delegating can go a long way in lightening your workload especially if you occupy a senior position in your workplace. Give other people the opportunity to succeed, so it doesn't seem they are sharing or doing your responsibilities.

  Find quality childcare:

 Seek advice from friends and families on some of the best nannies, daycare centers or babysitters available. Take tours to the daycares or interview the candidates. The best nannies are the ones who have a previous history of long-term stays with families they were hired in. You can also schedule paid playdates with the candidates to observe how they interact with the children in less formal settings.

  Create connections whenever you get the chance

 You can pack the kids lunch and lay their clothes in the morning before they go to school. Create a schedule on which parent get to prepare the kids and who gets the groceries. Take 15 minutes before bedtime to talk to the kids or tell them a story. You can also take your child to an errand as a way of connecting with them.
 Create a family calendar.

 Include all the important dates and events in the calendar. They could include birthdays, school events and dates when bills are due or when any other activity is supposed to be accomplished. Google Calendar is a good option as it can be shared and synced on your smartphone, and you can also set reminders.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Can shopping through cataloges save you money?

shopping through cataloges

Buying clothes or shoes for the kids? New gaming devices, new accessories? 

 No matter what it is, there are children's catalogues from which you can buy these items. But, if you are shopping for the kids, and looking for quality items, without overpaying for them, is it possible you can save with the purchases made through catalogues? In short, the answer is yes. But, these are some ways in which catalogue shopping is a bit cheaper than local boutique or mall shopping. 

 Buy more to save - Buying in bulk typically reduces pricing. If you are shopping for more than one child, or simply wish to stock up on their favourite accessories, most catalogue dealers typically offer lower prices for such items. So, you can buy high quality items, and those your kids love, without having to pay too much for them. 

 Save with line of credit - Yes, most catalogues offer discounted rates if you purchase with your card. Not only do many offer interest free periods, but if you open a new card, some offer free shipping, discounted pricing, and other specials or promos regularly. So, you can pay off the purchase price over a period of time, and you can avoid interest rates as long as you pay by the promo period's expiration date. 

 Old or discontinued items - You can buy last season's clothing, you can shop out of season (buy winter clothing in the summer), and find items which are no longer in production, for lower pricing. Many catalogues try to get rid of the old so they can bring in new merchandise. If you don't need the newest, the latest, or the top fashion trends (which many thrifty shoppers don't care too much about) you can really save on items you order through catalogues in this manner. 

 Look for specials - Catalogue companies offer specials, promos, discounts, and other deals frequently. So, sign up for their newsletter or email list. Doing this is going to ensure you receive the coupons when they are mailed out, or that you are aware of sale dates when they are going to be occurring. You can keep up with the trends, find out when there are new deals or sales, and you are sure to save on the items you have to buy for your kids, when you look for the discount and sales dates which many catalogue vendors offer. 

 Even the free shipping, next day delivery, and other promos which most catalogue shopping sites offer, are going to allow you to buy everything you need for your kids, for a lower price than you would pay in stores. You do not have to overpay simply to find the items and accessories your kids need. Nor do you have to compromise on quality, brand names, or style. With the top catalogue vendors, not only will you find the variety and items you want to and have to buy for the kids, it is highly possible you are going to save some money when shopping through these online sites as a parent as well.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Visiting London with Children

Big Ben at night

Leo's only been back at school for a week and I am already counting down the weeks until the October half term, I feel like I need to make up to Leo how busy the back end of the Summer holiday was with the house move and everything else that seemed to come along all at once. The house move and subsequently everything that came along with the move, meant that we were too busy to really get out and about and make the most of the last few weeks of the break, which I felt awful about. 

With this in mind I am already planning the details of our next holiday together, and I literally cannot wait to have him all to myself for an entire week next month. The weather might not be as warm, and we might be preparing for the unpredictable Autumn months, but it is going to be so lovely to have that quality time and get to do some of the things that I wanted to do with Leo but couldn't.

One of the things we had really wanted to do was head to London for a few days and do some of the tourist attractions, Leo had been really looking forward to visiting the Natural History Museum and taking a flight on the London Eye. I recently came across Discount-London and thought they would be great to use for the Autumn holidays.

London Eye

Leo always adores visiting the capital, and over the years has been more than most children in his class. He loves the hustle and bustle of city life and everything that there is to see and do. Of course one of the most exciting aspects for Leo is the underground, and if truth be told he would be more than happy to spend the day just riding around on the Picadilly Line!

Now Leo is that little bit older though, we can venture out to new pastures and show him attractions that we have been really excited about introducing him too. The Natural History Museum is one of those places, and Leo is incredibly excited at the prospect of seeing the Dinosaur exhibitions, especially since has has been learning all about them at school. I have had to talk to him about how some of the exhibits are electronic and look true to life, and that just because they move... It does not mean that they are real. This is going to go one of two ways, he is either going to be completely amazed and absolutely love it... or he is going to be horrified and refuse to go inside! I personally hope that it is the first option...

Another attraction that I would love to add to our itinerary is Madame Tussauds, I know that at this stage there is only going to be so many of the models that he can relate to and recognize, but I think that even if we go along just to look at those he is going to think it is rather magical. 

It would be fantastic to be able to add in a West End Show while we are there too, one I have always wanted to see is Wicked, but I think that might be for an occasion where it is just  Luke and I, with Leo it would most likely be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which I have heard some amazing things about!

London at Night

With a full itinerary on our hands I expect that we will be looking to stay over and spreading the attractions over a few days, past experience has told me just how tiring touring London can be, especially with little legs in tow. I will be looking at booking somewhere pretty central with easy access to all of the main lines. If I get the train directly into London - Paddington, I usually pick a hotel in that area within a close proximity to the station, as from the Bakerloo line everything is pretty easy to navigate too. 

For now though, Leo is enjoying being back at school and we are putting everything in to helping him reach his goals, and this break away is going to be the ultimate treat for all of his hard work back at school.