Wednesday, 20 April 2016

We're going on a summer holiday

As I sit with a coffee in hand and the laptop perched on my knee, I stare out into spring. It really has arrived now, bringing with it sunshine and crystal blue skies. This afternoon I felt my winter coat starting to feel that little bit too warm as I joined my fellow Mum's on the ritual that is the school run. As I looked around I realised that most people, like myself, still had their winter clothing on, some, a small few as it were, were embracing the sunshine with short sleeves and tank tops. It got me thinking about the Summer months that are really only just around the corner, would we be in luck this year? Would the sun carry on shining? Would the temperatures rise and bring with it a real summer?

One can dare to dream and dream I will, you see for while I dream, I can justify the summer clothing wishlist that is coming together with each passing day. Its just 5 weeks until the entire family jet off to Greece for a weeks break, and although I already have a rather generous selection of clothing...A girl can never have enough, especially when there is a House of Fraser Sale over at Love the Sales... It would be rude not to have a little look right?

House of Fraser

Jane Norman Crochet Shorts, Pink £17.00 (Was £25.00) *Bottom Right*
Check Cotton Shorts £19.99 (Was £29.99) *Top Left*
Zebra print asymmetric midi dress, Zebra Print £130.00 (Was 199.00) *Centre*
Jane Norman PU Trim Skater Dress £30.00 (Was 45.00) *Top Right*
Embroided Crop Top, Black £24.50 (Was £35.00) *Bottom Left*

To say I am looking forward to getting away for a week is a little bit of an understatement. It has been such a crazy couple of months that I haven't really had chance to catch my breath, and I know that the time away with Leo is going to create some life long memories that we will both keep close to our hearts. Leo's excited about spending all day every day in the pool, and i'm excited to spend that time with him. Of course... I am also excited about getting to wear a pair of shorts without the fear of the British weather succumbing me to frost bite. 

For now though I am going to enjoy the rarity that is sunshine following weeks of endless rain and let my mind wander to warmer climates...

Visiting Croatia

Croatia is extremely popular on the Summer destinations list for 2016, and it's not hard to work out why either, from it's stunning Mediterranean coastal line, the complete unspoiled nature that is apparent from the beach front right through to the eight national parks and stunning old harbour towns. It is without a shadow of a doubt a beautiful take on your typical sun, sea and sand holiday that you would find if you flew out to Spain for a week.

The region is renowned for it's Venetian-era port towns over on the West Coast, where the top seaside destinations of Porec and Rovinj are based. If it's vineyards you are looking for, then you are in for a treat, the hills are ripe with rich Red Teran wine. It is the perfect destination for a low-key foodie holiday, or for the avid adventurer who loves to head out on hikes to enjoy the local culture and history.

What to do on your trip to Croatia?

Plitvice Lakes National Park 
The perfect opportunity to hike between the Plitvice Lakes in this stunning National Park. Walk beneath waterfalls and be captivated by the always changing colors of the water. 
Plitvice Lakes National Park

Trakošćan Castle and Varaždin 
If castles and adventures are your sort of thing, then definitely book in to visit Trakošćan Castle and Varaždin! This is one of the best preserved buildings in the country and it is quite rightly considered to be the most romantic castle throughout Croatia!

Trakošćan Castle and Varaždin

National shrine of Holy Mother Marija Bistrica
Head through the beautiful Zagorje region to Marija Bistrica, a town famous for its shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is a place visited annually by thousands of pilgrims, where Pope John Paul II beatified Croatian Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac while visiting Marija Bistrica on October 3rd 1998. 

 National shrine of Holy Mother Marija Bistrica

Truffle hunt and Hum city
One of the things the biggest Croatian peninsula Istria is most famous for are truffles. Black or white – they were always considered “diamonds of the kitchen”. Embark on an adventure trying to find your own, and taste various products that use them as an ingredient.

Truffle hunt and Hum city

These are just a few ideas of the things that you can get up to in this beautiful part of the world. I myself have never been to Croatia, but I am hoping that this is something that will change over the next few years. Leo and I are using 2016 to really go on some adventures, and this looks like it could be an absolutely fantastic experience for the both of us.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

3 things not to miss in Kenya

Image Credit 

With its world-famous national parks, dramatic scenery, stunning beaches and abundance of wildlife, Kenya makes the perfect setting for a family holiday. If you’re planning a vacation to this fascinating and beguiling country on the equator, it’s important to do your research first so that you don’t miss out on the top attractions. To give you some inspiration, here are three highlights you you’ll want to know about while visiting Kenya.

1. Maasai Mara National Reserve
Widely regarded as the best nature reserve in the country, the Maasai Mara National Reserve sits almost 2,000 metres above sea level and its seemingly endless grasslands are home to an astonishing range of animals. At any point in the calendar, you can see a variety of creatures, from hyenas to lions and elephants. However, for a truly awe-inspiring spectacle, it’s worth timing your visit to coincide with the annual wildebeest migration. Around half a million of these magnificent animals cross the terrain during this yearly mass movement. As well as seeing the wildlife that  characterises this part of Africa, you can meet Maasai tribesmen. Bespoke holiday specialist The Explorations Company has a lodge in the park where, between game drives, you can interact with tribespeople. You can even learn skills like basket-weaving and beading, getting a real insight into the local culture and customs.

2. Lake Turkana
Stretching out for 250 kilometres and straddling the Ethiopian border, Lake Turkana is well and truly off the beaten track and it’s another of Kenya’s gems. One minute, the waters of this vast lake can appear emerald green and tranquil, while the next they are choppy, grey and menacing. Home to hippos, crocodiles and a variety of other creatures, the lake has a mysterious and timeless quality. You can reach camps there by special helicopter flight, giving you a chance to cast your eyes over the spectacular scenery below. For the best experience, try to stay in a tented camp that overlooks the water.

3. Laikipia plateau
With the dramatic backdrop of Mount Kenya, the Laikipia plateau covers over 9,000 square kilometres and it is one of the best parts of the country to spot wildlife. Although there are no national parks there, a host of conservation projects have helped to protect animal habitats and the traditional lifestyles of the people who live on the plateau. It stretches from Mount Kenya to the Great Rift Valley and boasts more than 80 species of mammals, including leopards, zebras, giraffes, wild dogs, elephants, lions and black rhinos. Different accommodation styles are available in the area, including private villas, tented camps and lodges. You can even arrange to sleep beneath the stars for a night.

Whether you visit these parts of Kenya or you explore the other attractions that the country has to offer, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy a family holiday like no other.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Children Craft Ideas for Half term

The Easter half term is upon us, and as I sit here with a 4 year old bouncing off the walls in the hope of heading outside to play...But can't because once again the grey clouds are gathering and rain is starting to fall from the heavens. 

It's always the way, we have some free time and there's half an opportunity to get outside and enjoy Leo's freedom from school, but there is always a reason not to. Always a reason that it's not the most practical possibility, and once again it seems that the weather is not on our side. 

So while Leo has now settled and is enjoying Disney's Inside Out on Sky, I am sat looking for fun indoor activities that we can enjoy together while ironically the sun has started shining, and the rain has carried on falling. Boy do I love British weather.

So what can one do with a 4 year old on a school holiday, when the weather wants to do nothing but rain?

There's only one thing for it, we have to fill those rainy miserable days with The Works Art and Craft supplies

Here are my top 5 that I will be enjoying with Leo over the next fortnight if the weather doesn't improve:

1. Wooden Stationary Set - With 75 pieces - £10.00

This is a gorgeous set that includes 75 pieces of high quality stationery items that is just perfect for colouring, drawing, outlining and everything else that you might need to get a good craft session on the go. Whether you want to sketch out the Easter Bunny or draw up a stencil for another craft activity, this is a great set to get the wheels in motion!

The Works Art and Craft


- 8 Top grade sketching pencils
- 60 Quality colouring pencils
- 1 Metal sharpener
- 3 Glitter gel pens
- 3 Gel pens

2. Deluxe Spiral Art Set - £8.00

The Works Art and Craft

This amazing set will allow you and your little one to have hours of fun creating thousands of different spiral designs! The kit comes armed with 64 pieces, and you can start making pictures and designs by simply putting the pens to paper with the stencils provided!

Includes: 10 x spiral wheels, 3 x shaped wheels, spiral ring, spiral rack, 3 x spiral frames, 3 x gel pens, 4 in 1 retractable pen, reusable putty, 40 sheets of paper and instruction book.

3. Gold Tiger Foil Engraving Set - £3.00

The Works Art and Craft

I always loved these sets as a child, and I can't wait to see what Leo thinks of them. You simply have to scrape away the lined to reveal the metallic picture that lies behind it. There is a practice sheet included so that you can get to grips with the technique before going for the main event.

This set includes: 1 pre-printed board, 1 scrape cutter and 1 practice piece.

4. Coloured Card with Craft Glue and Bumper Craft Pack Kit - £4.50

The Works Art and Craft

This bumper packs contains a whole variety of different craft materials to forill all of your crafting needs:

- Foam Shapes
- Pom Poms
- Assorted Sequins
- Coloured Feathers
- Wiggle Eyes
- 25 Lollipop Sticks
- Assorted Pipe Cleaners
- 20 Sheets of Coloured Card
- Craft Glue

5. My Big Yellow Book of Colouring - £2.00

The Works Art and Craft

Colouring never get's old. and as a child it was one of my favourite pass times, just sitting and getting lost in a world of colouring. This book has 88 pages that children (Or adults!) can sit and doodle on or colour whoever they please.

The beautiful thing about completing these sorts of activities with children is that you have something to keep and treasure at the end of play. Something that has been crafted by your child, with their imagination and passion for the task at hand. That's something that even the doom and gloom of a rainy day cannot take away. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Become a compact gardener!

Gardening and I have never really given each other a chance, but seeing how today I eat fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, maybe it is time that I dust off those less than green fingers of mine, and see if we can't get some sort of relationship on the road?

When I think of the money that I am handing over every few days as I restock on everything that I need for my meals over that week, I really do think that I should at least give it a try. I wouldn't need to get to adventurous, but even if I just started off growing one type of vegetable to see how I got on, it would at least see me trying and giving something new a go.

Gardening is good for you, according to a new infographic produced by Compost Direct. Older gardeners have a 36-47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners. However, with urban spaces on the rise there is less room for people who’d like to get into garden.

Thankfully, there are many ways to grow crops in small spaces – from potted plants indoors to veg patches and grow bags. Did you know that you can grow potatoes in compost bags and bin liners? Following a simple growing process you can enjoy some pristine spuds without needing a full size garden.

How about growing crops in specialist grow bags? With just a small amount of space, you can grow fruit and veg to feed your whole household – from tomatoes and carrots to herbs and courgettes.

Read the full infographic to see how to grow potatoes, tomatoes, veg patches and more. You can also find out how to maximise your growing area by building window boxes and vertical gardens, meaning that no matter what kind of outdoor space you have - there is no excuse not to garden! 

I guess I will have to give it a go...

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Be Fashion Forward and Find a Sexy New Swimsuit Online

The world is beginning to come around to the idea that beauty does not end at a size four, and everyone wants to look their best even in that very skin-baring garment known as the swimsuit. Yes, the dreaded swimsuit that leaves some feeling that their flaws are blatantly exposed; some women fear as well that swimsuits that cover the skin still do nothing to camouflage all of our bumps and bulges. But why should plus-sized women have to choose between either the self-inflicted ban from the beach or feeling exposed and self-conscious in a swimsuit clearly designed for someone else.

In the past, finding any clothing above size 12, including sexy swimsuits (which should be purchased a size larger to avoid clinginess) was nearly impossible. However, this was also before the advent of the Internet and online shopping which opened up a whole new world of possibilities. The online shopping revolution combined with the fashion industry’s new focus on plus-sized trends has made it easier than ever to find sexy swimwear size eight and above. Retailers in the past were restricted to selling only swimsuits at a brick-and-mortar store, severely limiting the available color, size, and style options, but with the dawn of online shopping, retailers can stock many more items since they are not constricted by the size of the display floor.

Plus Size

Being able to shop for swimsuits online means that everyone can find a flattering swimsuit and feel just like one of the many plus-sized models now getting the attention they deserve. Plus-sized beauties like Ashley Graham (who was the first plus-sized model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition) and Allesandra Garcia (who was recently featured on the cover of SLiNK) are the representatives of a new trend in fashion, and designers are taking notice. New designs are here, and online retailers have more in stock than ever before. Let’s face it, the “skirt” for plus-sized one-piece swimsuits doesn’t cover much but thankfully trends are changing and designers are giving us plus-size girls many different flattering choices. Some of the best options for women’s swimsuits include skirtinis, which make useof the skirtin a more flattering way than traditional designs would suggest. Another choice allows the ladies to mix a bikini top with bottoms that begin at the natural waist and end at the top of the thigh for another figure-flattering look with definite sex appeal.The skiritinis available at swimsuitsforall are longer, reaching the mid leg, and combined with the new tankini tops that fall at the top of the thigh, these suits are very flattering on everyone.

Designers like the aptly-named Alessandro Sartori are borrowing slimming details that “trick” the eye, using techniques such as triangle insets at the waist in a different color which causes the eye to see an hourglass figure. Likewise choosing a slim panel on the sides of the tankini top with a lighter color combined with a dark front panel with piping causes the body to look slimmer. Other designers are opting for swimsuits that appear to be sundresses with an A-line ruffled skirt that ends at mid-thigh. To see these and more trendy plus-sized swimsuit options, head over to the swimsuitsforall website and peruse. It’s taken some time, but sexy figure-flattering swimsuits that make you feel great are now easier than ever to browse through and purchase online. It’s a good time to be a plus-sized woman.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Parent’s Tips for Decorating the Nursery

When the time nears for the baby’s arrival, it is always a hectic period for expecting parents, who must have everything ready in time to welcome the new-born and introduce him to this world in a friendly and  playful, love-filled setting. Warm tones like pink and blue depending on the case are always appropriate, with colorful designs for the curtains and even the ceiling (considering that the baby will be spending most of his time in the crib or cradle) which can be decorated with glowing stars, suns and moons for the baby to wonder at even at night and that will soothe him to sleep.

A comfortable and safe cradle constructed with the appropriate safety measures like protective wooden frames and a suitable mattress approved by pediatricians are top priorities for expecting parents. Appropriate toys which include dolls, hanging jingle bells, chimes and wooden or plastic squeeze toys suspended above the cradle that make funny sounds, and especially a wooden or plastic rocking horse are some of the baby’s favorites and with minimal hazards; without forgetting the furniture and essentials for storing valuable commodities which must always be kept ready at hand for moms- like diaper sets, toys and sets of cabinets for the occasional baby laundry. 

At the Shop Mohd online store you can find a great variety of furniture designs and decorations for creating the perfect nursery, such as Poliform which since the 1970s has maintained its industrial integrity and quality via eco-sustainable materials and processes, showing a high respect for the land while adapting to international trends and contemporary lifestyles to satisfy every taste. Its creations include chests of drawers, cabinets, nightstands, sofas, arm-chairs, coffee tables (for the mom to rest and enjoy a cup of tea while watching the baby), poufs, beds and much more.   

A cozy sofa or armchair in the nursery room is also highly recommended for Moms when breast-feeding to relieve a lot of the pressure- and moms can be more comfortable while the baby takes its time. They are also a good place to lull the baby to sleep before putting them back in the cradle, and also a rocking chair does the purpose just fine. Among Poliform’s various selections you can find multi-set Tribeca Sofas with Peninsula or the Ventura lounge armchair which also provide total comfort.