Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Perfect Family Garden

Working outside

In the next couple of months I should hopefully be sitting in my lovely new home and making plans to make whatever garden we have reflect our needs. Leo obviously needs an area to play and enjoy the great outdoors, and I would love the possibility of being able to work outside when the weather is fair. 
Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to bring the laptop outside and sit on the timber decking, with the laptop resting neatly on the beautiful table that sits on the wooden terrace. All the while there is a cold drink with my name on it when I choose to take a break from working. 

I know that when we first move in we are going to be presented with an unruly lawn, but that's ok, I am willing to get my hands on a lawn mower and keep on top of it, because I can see past all of what is already there... to what could be there if I work hard and make an effort outside.

I plan on planting lots of beautiful flowers so that the colours shine out and it makes the garden a desirable place to be. 


I plan on getting the decking sorted as a priority so that I can make use of whatever is left of the summer sunshine. The decking area wouldn't just be home to the table that will allow me to work conveniently outside, it will have all weather umbrella so that it can stay out rain or shine. It will be an area that Leo can sit and enjoy playing with his toy cars, or even doing his school work on a lovely warm evening. 

It will be a resting place for me as I watch Leo run around the garden, playing with the puppy we anticipate getting not long after we move. The pair will run around tiring themselves out as I sit and finish up work for the day, and then we can sit outside in the last of the day's sunshine and enjoy a meal together before retiring into the house. 

There will be weekends where we have friends and family over to visit, there will be BBQ's and dinners that spill over into the garden which is all inspiration enough for me to really put an effort into our garden, because it's going to be a family space that really will give us a tremendous amount of pleasure. 

Throughout all of those different moments that we will be loving about having our very own garden, the one that I really look forward to the most has to be taking my office outside onto the decking. 

Doesn't everyone wish they could do that on a warm summer's day?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Wyboston Lakes Hotel

Wyboston Lakes Hotel

We live in a busy age where it can be hard or impossible to get down time away from the hustle and bustle of the working life. Sometimes it feels like we live to work rather than working to live, and that is not how life should be. It's important to try and find that balance where you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labour. 

Before I started working on my blog full time, I tried my hand at working in public relations. I didn't take lunch breaks, I gave much more than I took or was even offered and I found myself feeling stressed, really stressed. I loved the job role but I wasn't enjoying it the way that I should, I felt the tasks building up the pressure and I knew that sooner or later something was going to snap. So when the position burnt out, I decided that I wasn't going to rush into anything else, and I gave my little bit of cyber space a chance to help me pay the bills. 

It's been 10 months since that change happened, and although I am not made of money, the bills get paid and I am enjoying life at a much more relaxed pace. I get to be here for Leo, I don't require childcare and I get the opportunity to head out and enjoy leisure activities that before were unheard of for me. 

One of these places happens to be the beautiful Wyboston Lakes Hotel, based in a very handy location and not a million miles away from me with Cambridge and Milton Keynes within close proximity. They have a great selection of things to do that will suit every member of the family, for me it has to be the wonderful spa, but for the other half it has to be the golf, it's not often you find a destination that has things for both of us to enjoy doing while the other is wrapped up in the activity of their choosing.

Wyboston Lakes Hotel Y Spa

The Y Spa is a new spa that has been created especially for Wyboston Lakes Hotel and it's absolutely stunning to look at. It welcomes day guests, overnight guests and of course business delegates. The spa is hosted by fully trained therapists from all over the country and the offer the latest in holistic and beauty therapy ensuring guests with the most relaxing and rewarding experiences,  

They have a number of different special offers that run, so make sure to check out the Special Offers before booking to see if there's anything going on that might interest you!

If the spa wasn't enough to make you want to call up work and book a few days holiday... Then wait until you hear all about the incredible home cooked food that is on offer at the Waterfront Restaurant and Grill. Food is a topic that speaks straight to my heart, and I have to meticulously scour the menu before ordering so that I know I have made the right food decisions. There is nothing worse than ordering and then discovering that the person on the opposite table has the dish you would have ordered and that it looks ten times better than what you have actually decided upon. 

The menu features traditional English dishes and also incorporates modern European classics, with tantalizing dishes with views over looking the south lake, the restaurant boats a warm and friendly atmosphere. 

Wyboston Lakes Hotel Golf Course

It's a great way to unwind after a day relaxing in the Y Spa or hitting up the golf course that has an impressive 18 hole par 70 course within it's grounds. It's set in 350 acres of countryside alongside the banks of the River Great Ouse and really is the perfect place to let your hair down and enjoy some free time. 

The Wyboston Lakes Hotel certainly ticks all of my boxes when I travel, and I am just looking for an excuse to book up now. 

Taylor Swift - An Idol

Taylor Swift then and now

When I think about today's music industry and who I really admire and look up to, there is really only one person that comes to mind. It's a lady that I have loved long before she rose to fame, and coming from a humble country background I fell head over heels for her music. 

She is of course the one and only Taylor Swift. 

I first discovered Taylor randomly on YouTube as I was flicking through many random playlists with many different artists and tunes back in 2007. I heard some of the songs off Taylor's debut album that was fittingly titled 'Taylor Swift'. I loved how raw and catchy each of the songs were and I loved that she wasn't on everyone's radar. In fact I can remember hearing Taylor on the radio for the very first time and almost jumping up and down! It felt like a proud big sister moment, when someone who had literally shared her music online and been recognised for the absolute talent that millions of people see in her today.

It sounds crazy, but Taylor's music has literally become the soundtrack to my life. She has released albums that have communicated with my life in someway shape or form. I first heard Picture to Burn when I broke up with an ex boyfriend, and then Fearless came out around the time I met Leo's Dad, and I can't listen to that album now without thinking about all of those early days and moments.

In 2010 around the time I discovered I was pregnant with Leo, Taylor released Speak Now with 'Never Grow Up' that spoke straight to my heart and to this day reminds me of those first moments I knew I was carrying my little man. 

It really is incredible what the power of music can do, and how one artist can truly touch your life. I recently put all of Taylor's music on a USB and put it in the car. I find it hard to listen to some of the songs today because of just how much they relate to me, and I can't help but apply them to my life experiences and situations that I am going through.

Even now that Taylor's music has gone more mainstream pop, I still love her as much as I did when I first discovered her online. She has grown, she has evolved and developed into a strong beautiful women and I think that she will always be the artist that I hold close to my heart in one way or another. 

Gearooz have put together the below infographic that shows the changing look of music over the years, and you will see that my idol Taylor Swift has been featured. Did your favourite artist make the cut?

Top Furniture Décor Ideas for Your Garden

Top Furniture Décor Ideas for Your Garden

For several homeowners, the garden is simply a place to grow flowers, vegetables, herbs and other useful plants. For some, it unfortunately becomes a place that caters to nothing but grass and weeds. However, as more resources on home improvement and design, landscaping and gardening, and other DIY projects become more accessible, people have come to better appreciate and see the potential of a small garden in providing more functionality and benefits.

So, the question is, “How can one make most of a garden?” The answer is through luxury garden furniture and other home elements that will help transform the space into a functional area where you can spend more time for yourself or with family and friends. Through these years Italian furnitures have become a symbol of taste and luxury living. Many of these luxury garden furnitures can be found online through sites like Unopiù for example that is one of the most important European leader in outdoor furnishings because of the quality and the beauty of its products.

This being said, here are some top furniture décor ideas for your garden:

Outdoor Dining
With just a table and some easy-to-use chairs, your garden can be turned into a place for sensory-rich dining experience. And if you want to have outdoor lunches, a parasol can provide you the necessary shade from the sun. There are tons of dining sets that are suitable for outdoors – wooden, metals or rattan – and these can be properly treated to become weather resistant.

Roofless Family Room
You can relax while enjoying nature by bringing out your family room. With a wicker sofa, a rocking chair and other luxury garden furniture, you can easily create an elegant haven where you and your family can relax amidst the refreshing ambiance of your own backyard.

Garden Beach
While it may not be possible to suddenly bring the beach to your garden, it doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the sun during the warmer days. With sun loungers or garden benches and a fresh, cool drink in your hand, who needs a crowded beach just to have that perfect tan when you can simply sunbathe with privacy in the confines of your own garden?

Children’s Park
If you have kids, then the garden is a great place where they can explore their surroundings and become one with nature. Add some kids’ furniture where they can enjoy their afternoon snacks. To add more fun, set up a swing or even an arts and crafts area complete with tables and chairs where they can do some art and express their creativity.

Garden Party Place
With some cozy patio furniture, outdoor sofas, and a few tables and benches, your garden can be transformed into the perfect venue for your next party, birthday or special celebration. Add a fire pit, and you’ve got the ingredients for a perfect night you will surely enjoy.

With life becoming more complicated each day, it certainly is a delight to come home to a cozy and relaxing home where you can escape the complexity of our modern era. For a lot of people, the bedroom or living room is definitely the ideal place to relax and take a breather, but some homeowners have also come to appreciate the tranquility that their own backyard offers. Yes, with some luxury garden furniture and a small dose of creativity, your garden can be the perfect place to relax, where you can take in some fresh air and enjoy the changing colors of the sky as the sun sets in the horizon.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Top 5 Summer Sandals from Brantano

We have been rather fortunate with the weather over points of the last few weeks or so, but right now as I look out of the window at the grey sky and see the rain falling again, I wonder if that means summer has been and gone again. I refuse to accept that however and I will continue to wish for blue skies and sunny days. 

While I am thinking about summer, I find my mind thinking about all those things we love about the warmer months. The beer gardens, the shorts and t-shirts...The sandals and flip flops.

When it comes to shoes I don't think you can ever really have enough, they complete an outfit, they pair that top you love with that skirt. It is the final item that makes the outfit ready to rock n roll. So you see where I am going with this? It's ok to buy lots of shoes. Don't sweat it, just embrace it.

While I am feeling this love and acceptance for buying shoes, I thought it would be nice to share my top 5 summer sandals for 2016. 

Lotus Chiara Wedge Sandals

1. Lotus Chiara Wedge Sandals
Wedge sandals happen to be my all time favorite heel. They elongate your legs and really work well with a pair of shorts. When I head away on holiday I usually only take three pairs of shoes. A pair of wedges, flats and trainers.

Clarks Playful Fox

2. Clarks Playful Fox
I absolutely adore this shoe, the gold colouring and gladiator style really complete this shoe.

Lunar Tatiana Heeled Sandals

3. Lunar Tatiana Heeled Sandals

Aren't these just beautiful? As soon as I saw these I couldn't help thinking about Cinderella.

Clarks Manilla Bonita

4. Clarks Manilla Bonita

I love these as they go with anything, they are flats so are practical for everyday wear and are a perfect addition to the summer holiday wardrobe.

Emilio Luca X Floral Jewl Flat Sandals

5. Emilio Luca X Floral Jewl Flat Sandals

Simple but beautiful, these again make a great holiday addition for everyday wear. 

Getting fit post baby

Kayla Itsines Transformation Photo

When Leo was younger I loved to walk absolutely everywhere with him, it was a time where getting out and about with him was much simpler. It was just a case of putting him into the pram or pushchair and off we went about our day, there was no idling or toddler temper tantrums, it really could be wrapped up into a walk in the park.

After I had Leo I did admittedly worry about any weight I might have carried over with me, and this certainly pushed me into getting out and about more. Walking can be greatly under estimated in it's effectiveness to help you loose weight and squeeze exercise into a busy schedule (just like the one that comes attached with parenthood!).

I myself didn't realise this at the time, but the walking helped me get out of the house and even in the midst of Winter when the sun shone lower in the sky, it was every bit as satisfying as in those long Summer months. There were times where I found myself with not one, but two babies in tow. Every now and again I would be asked to look after my nephew, so it was not uncommon for me to strap them both into the double buggy and whiz them both off into the great outdoors.

Easywalker Duo

I can't help wishing that I knew then what I know today, I could have started my fitness journey way back in 2011 if I had only eaten the right foods. One of the biggest self discoveries I have faced is that you really are what you eat. Despite all of this walking I was getting in each week, the fact that I was still eating like I was pregnant didn't help me at all, and consequently I discovered that I got bigger instead of smaller. In my mind the walking cancelled out my bad diet, but it's true what they say 'you can't out train a bad diet'.

Flash forward to 2014 where I finally realised that I had to make some serious changes, I needed to find that part of me again, the girl who enjoyed buying new clothes and dressing up. The me that felt comfortable in what she wore. I turned my diet on it's head, and I started to work out like I meant it, it was then that I started to reverse everything, it was then that I started to look after my body for the first time in my life.

When I do go on to have another baby, I know exactly what I have to do this time around following the birth. There's no secret way to loose weight and tone up, but with hard work, determination and will power there is nothing that cannot be achieved, even with babies in tow.

So if your reading this and feeling like a lost cause (I know that's how I felt), just clean up your eating and get outside walking with your baby. Take the pushchair, walk to the park, walk around your local town. Just leave the car at home and walk, walk, walk! It doesn't have to be for a long time at all, I try and get 37 minutes of cardio in a day, and when you think about it, that's not overly long at all, but it's all your body needs in order to start burning fat.

Having a baby is life changing, but you can still be you. So strap them into the pushchair and head out for a stroll, not only will it make you feel great (hello endorphin's!) but it really will kick start your journey into feeling more like your old self again.

Monday, 13 June 2016

You are what you eat

Kayla Itsines Transformation

2 years ago I turned my lifestyle on it's head, and in those 2 years I have come a long way with my eating habits. I never used to think twice about putting a large McDonald's into my system, but today I actively think about what my body needs and most definitely don't make a habit of eating countless empty calories that provide me with absolutely no nutritional value.

This new lifestyle im talking about started off as a diet. It was cutting out the not so good aspects of my diet (which just so happened to be pretty much all of it...) and replacing it with lots of fruit, vegetables and protein. The diet went from strength to strength and before I knew it 2 months had passed by and I had lost my first stone. The diet continued, only by this point it was habit, I wasn't even having to try in terms of the food anymore. I was enjoying it and I was loving how it felt to see the results coming in, my clothes were looser and I felt better than I had in years.

Today I don't even call it a diet. It's not a diet. It's a sustainable lifestyle. 

I give my body what it needs, and I enjoy it.

I am actually even at the point where I am considering growing my own vegetables and things. I would absolutely love to get outside and start growing my own produce. I like to know where my food has come from and what has gone into it, so naturally growing my own is a very attractive possibility. You have seen me blog recently about how I am finally hoping to get my own home for Leo and I, and this right here is one of the dreams once we are all settled in. 

Once we are in our own place I could easily grow my own vegetables, I could even have my very own greenhouse to grow a whole array of tasty treats. This is something that Leo and I could do together, it could be a great activity that will really help him when it comes to learning about photosynthesis at school.

I never invisioned to fall head over heels in love with my 'diet'. Not for one second when I started this journey back in June 2014, did I think that all these months later, I would still be pushing for a better me and striving to set good eating habits for Leo. Granted, that little man of mine is as fussy as they come, but still I try to demonstrate the means of a healthy lifestyle even if he does refuse to eat it. 

Right now it's a waiting game in terms of our new home, but the excitement is bubbling right at the surface and I have a feeling that this is our time. I am so ready to set roots for Leo and I, it's time for us to start living our lives, it's time to stop waiting for things to happen, and time to make things happen.