Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Four tips for a camera ready smile this party season

Christmas is very nearly upon us and that means one thing… parties! And parties mean plenty of photos. Now, the prospect of being in front of the camera can be nerve wrecking for many of us – what do I wear? How do I style my hair? Which is my best side?

With camera phones constantly at the ready the one thing you can be sure of is that you need a great smile for that Christmas or New Year party around the corner. Have a look at these four tips for keeping your smile in tip top shape over the festive period.

Snack smart
No-one wants mince pie all over their teeth or a big blob of spinach dip to remember their Christmas do with, right? Make sure you pick the right snacks to enjoy when the cameras are out. Crunchy, raw veggies are a great option – think celery or carrot sticks. They won’t get stick in your teeth and they act like nature’s little toothbrushes.

Pick the right poison
Nothing says Christmas like a delicious glass of red wine, right? Maybe even some mulled wine! Unfortunately, your favourite tipple – whether it’s wine, dark spirits or a simple coffee – could well be staining your teeth. Choose clear or light coloured drinks to avoid discolouration. Or, if you can’t resist your favourite, then sip through a straw to reduce the risk of stains!

Don’t break the habit
Christmas is lovely but it’s also tiring. Socialising, shopping and spending time with every. single. member of your family can take it out of you. That could leave you tempted to fall into bed in a heap and leave the usual face wash and teeth brushing routine to the morning. Don’t fall into this trap! Keep up your usual routine to keep your smile stunning. If you want to go the extra mile for your smile you could even indulge in pre-Christmas teeth whitening.

Strike the perfect pose
Now’s the perfect opportunity to study your face a bit in the mirror to understand what angles work best for you. A ¾ degree angle from the camera, with your chin tilted down ever so slightly is often the most flattering. Ladies, make sure you pick the perfect shade lipstick that complements your skin tone and lets you show off your sparkling pearly whites!

Whether you’re out on the town or having a shindig at home over the festive season, make sure that you put your best smile forward with some of our favourite tips to get you through the obligatory Christmas photos!Christmas is very nearly upon us and that means one thing… parties! And parties mean plenty of photos. Now, the prospect of being in front of the camera can be nerve wrecking for many of us – what do I wear? How do I style my hair? Which is my best side?
With camera phones constantly at the ready the one thing you can be sure of is that you need a great smile for that Christmas or New Year party around the corner. Have a look at these four tips for keeping your smile in tip top shape over the festive period.

Snack smart
No-one wants mince pie all over their teeth or a big blob of spinach dip to remember their Christmas do with, right? Make sure you pick the right snacks to enjoy when the cameras are out. Crunchy, raw veggies are a great option – think celery or carrot sticks. They won’t get stick in your teeth and they act like nature’s little toothbrushes.

Pick the right poison
Nothing says Christmas like a delicious glass of red wine, right? Maybe even some mulled wine! Unfortunately, your favourite tipple – whether it’s wine, dark spirits or a simple coffee – could well be staining your teeth. Choose clear or light coloured drinks to avoid discolouration. Or, if you can’t resist your favourite, then sip through a straw to reduce the risk of stains!

Don’t break the habit
Christmas is lovely but it’s also tiring. Socialising, shopping and spending time with every. single. member of your family can take it out of you. That could leave you tempted to fall into bed in a heap and leave the usual face wash and teeth brushing routine to the morning. Don’t fall into this trap! Keep up your usual routine to keep your smile stunning. If you want to go the extra mile for your smile you could even indulge in pre-Christmas teeth whitening.

Strike the perfect pose
Now’s the perfect opportunity to study your face a bit in the mirror to understand what angles work best for you. A ¾ degree angle from the camera, with your chin tilted down ever so slightly is often the most flattering. Ladies, make sure you pick the perfect shade lipstick that complements your skin tone and lets you show off your sparkling pearly whites!

Whether you’re out on the town or having a shindig at home over the festive season, make sure that you put your best smile forward with some of our favourite tips to get you through the obligatory Christmas photos!

Friday, 18 December 2015

TLTWM Top 5 Landscape Architect Tips for Parents: To Help Improve your Gardens Desirability

Image Credit

The garden is an area that I think is often over looked in the grand scheme of things. 

Life is busy and it is easy to get distracted by other tasks that come about. It goes without saying that we all want a beautiful garden, but as parents we know that it's not always realistic to get outside as often as we might like.

 I can recall a few years ago when Leo and I decided to head outside and enjoy the rare bit of sunshine that crept through the clouds. I took one look at the flower beds, my eyes instantly directing to the abundance of weeds that were wrapping themselves around the flowers and plants. I decided there and then to grab a spade and sort them out.

4 hours later... 4 hours later I was still there. Don't let weeding fool you. It takes time (especially if like me you let the garden turn wild). If you are feeling a little less of a seasoned gardener then having a look at the professional Essex based landscape architects,  Liz Lake Associates will help you see that you can enhance your outdoor living space without it eating into all of your time.

TLTWM Top 5 Landscape Architect Tips for Parents:
To Help Improve your Gardens Desirability. 

1. Make a list of needs and desires.
Do you have a family and the children need space to play?
Do you want a vegetable patch?
Do you want space to sit down for the family? Patio space? BBQ area?

Brainstorm your wants and needs, put them all down on paper and sketch out how it would work. Where you would want to position things, and see how it all pieces together. If you are looking for inspiration then look no further than the Landscape Institute. 

2. Be open to change.
The best of plans are subject to change. Remember that those initial brainstorming ideas aren't set in stone, and you have to be flexible in order to achieve the best working design.

Patience is key to any development. If you have a lot of spare space that you are looking to fill, rely on temporary solutions such as fast-growing ground covers that you might not care about in the long term but serve a purpose in the begining -- to cover an area while you're figuring out what you want. 

Large landscaping features like trees can be hard to move but annuals can be taken out, and small perennials and shrubs can be transplanted they are in the wrong spot. But in the meantime, you have something out there filling the space.

3. Budget. 
Once you have got an idea of what you want your finished garden to look like and function, you can begin to price everything up. This will help you come up with a timescale of how long it will take to achieve your objectives. The telegraph shows you how to design your garden on a tight budget and shows that you can achieve your goals with a little bit of elbow grease.

4. Timescale. 
When you draw up the initial plan and have a firm idea of what you want from your garden, you can think realistically about how long it might take you. Factor in the time of year that you begin the initial developments as in the grand scheme of things this is going to play a big role in what you get done.

For budding Mum's you can find work experience on

5. Study the sun and wind patterns.
This is something that my own Dad always applies to his gardens. When it has come to buying  new home, he will step out into the garden and map out where the sun rises and sets. He's a bit of a sun worshiper my old man, and their have been many occasions where I have found him taking branches of trees or even taking trees down just to let a bit more sunlight into the garden. It's good information to know so that you can plan out where to position the areas that will benefit from having the sun longer. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

4 Tips for Back Pain Sufferers

4 Tips for Back Pain Sufferers
Unless you have personal experience with back pain, it's hard to appreciate how debilitating it can be - affecting your mobility, concentration and even sleep pattern. However, it's an unfortunate reality that most people will experience a degree of back pain at some point in their lifetime, so here are four tips for sufferers to help alleviate the discomfort.


The last thing you feel like doing with back pain is exercising, but strengthening your back, toning the supporting muscles in your core, and maintaining motion are some of the best ways to deal with the issue.

After a few days rest post-injury, it's important to get up and moving again to maintain your range of motion and prevent further pain. Then look to preventative strength training and developing your core where the muscles support your back. Gentle exercises like Yoga and Pilates have proven to be beneficial for sufferers of back pain, but consult your doctor, chiropractor or physiotherapist before starting anything. For sufferers of long-term back pain, relaxation exercises and meditation can also be helpful in dealing mentally with the pain.


In order for your body to recuperate, rebuild and regenerate, it needs to get sufficient rest. Unfortunately, sleep is something many people with enduring back pain struggle with. To help the issue, ensure your mattress offers adequate support. A firm mattress often better for back issues so if you awaken stiff in the mornings and it takes an hour or so for your pain to ease, chances are that your mattress is too soft for your back's needs. Look to purchase a firmer innerspring mattress. Alternatively, foam, latex and even air mattresses can also be beneficial depending on your needs. There are some great resources like Sleepy’s online to assist you in choosing a mattress to suit your situation.


Repetitive motion and posture, including the way you sit at work or move your body, can contribute to your back issues. Ensure you maintain good posture even while you're concentrating on a task. A good tip is to sit with your lower back against your chair (you can use a lumbar pillow if necessary) and your feet flat on the floor. You can also utilise a stabiliser ball which requires a straight back to maintain balance. Start in small spurts first and steadily increase your time.
In addition, alter the layout of your work space so you sit face-on to your computer with your arms at a comfortable height. You could also invest in an ergonomic chair or consider a standing desk to ease repetitive strain.


According to sufferers, the application of heat offers immense relief to a back ache. You can use a hot water bottle, heat pack, or even warm shower, but you should apply the heat for 15-20 minutes at a time.

While back pain may be a reality for many, it does not have to be constant, permanent or physically prohibitive for most sufferers. With a little prevention, exercise, and rest, back pain can be prevented and managed the majority of the time.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Hello December

The Christmas holiday's are drawing ever closer, and I for one can't wait to close the door on school for a few weeks. I want to make the holiday's as magical as I possibly can for that beautiful boy of mine. I want to wrap him up in make believe, shower him in fairy dust and bring Christmas to life right before his eyes,

I want to enjoy lazy nights in under the duvet with cheesy Christmas films, I want to show him just how special he is, how loved he is. I want to shut the door on anything that has the potential to turn a smile upside down.

We are going to head out ice skating under the stars, we are going to visit the North Pole on the Santa Express, we will eat mince pies and enjoy hot chocolate while Jack Frost dusts the lawn and peeks through the windows. We will wrap up warm, we will wear party clothes and we will be merry.

Part of the fun of the season is to dress to the nines, to sparkle and shine. Wear things that set you apart from the rest of the year. I love to get dressed up, and I adore nothing more than kitting Leo out to. So what will we be wearing over this month?

I can't help myself when it comes to shopping for Leo, and I have fallen in love with a number of items over on Esprit. Leo is such a little dude that I couldn't help fall in love with this biker jacket, it's like it was designed for him.

As for me, I live for sparkles and glitter. Christmas is the ultimate excuse to dress up in sequins and lose yourself in a wardrobe fit for a princess. Be it floating tops or princess dresses. I'm a girly girl through and through, I like to look after myself. I work hard on my body so that I can enjoy wearing the clothes I want to wear.

With the festive season upon us, with December ticking down the days until the 25th, we can feel the excitement growing, I can see Leo's eyes widening, his imagination going wild. His tummy bubbling over with butterflies. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Lighting up the outside of your home in time for Christmas

Christmas Lights

There’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by decorating your home with sparkly, glistening Christmas lights. From twinkling fairy lights, to a light up Santa Clause and fibrotic ornaments, making the outside of your home look fabulous in time for Christmas is just as exciting as decorating the indoors.

Start by putting on a Christmas cd or a Christmas movie on the TV and enjoy the afternoon making everything look pretty. You should even treat yourself and have a cheeky Christmas inspired hot chocolate whilst you untangle all the lights.  

Outside lights really let everyone know that you’re in the festive spirit. Often it can be a bit of a competition in some neighbourhoods as to who has the best Christmas lights, so it’s essential to make sure your display looks the best. It’s not really a competition, of course it’s about having Christmas cheer, but a strand of lights wrapped around a bush doesn’t always cut it.

What type of lights is best?
Icicle, flashing or colour changing? Picking the right lights can be hard.  Creating magical displays for children (and adults too) is all the range so go with whatever style first catches your eye. The outdoor lights from Lighting Styles are amazing with some awesome and individual LED outdoor displays that are sure to get the neighbours talking. Why not pop a baby light up polar bear on the doorstep or place some light up deer’s in the garden for a little something different.

If you do prefer something less flashy and want more traditional exterior lights, you can still spread a little Christmas cheer by making them look really impressive. Well placed icicle style lights always look really nice around the eves of a house and a classic light up wreath on the door keeps it classy.  If all else fails, a small tree on the step with a few lights around it always looks great and very welcoming.

For those of you who do want to be a bit more adventurous, experimenting with colourful lights is so fun and really brightens up your home. Christmas lights can bring others happiness too with so many different colours and styles to choose from an eclectic mix can bring a lot of joy to passers-by.

Whichever way you want to adorn your home with gorgeous twinkling lights be sure to make sure you’ve decorated safely whilst being as magical as possible this Christmas. 

How To Light Up A Family Bathroom

Family Bathroom

Changing up your lighting design is one of the most underrated ways to dramatically transform a space. When it comes to designing a family bathroom, the key word is compromise - the space has to work well for everyone, with safety being a top priority for young children. With some help from the selection of bathroom lighting on offer at Scotlight Direct, here’s a brief guide to a well-lit family bathroom.

Safety First
Bathroom lighting in particular has to meet certain UK safety standards regarding wiring - and you need to get it right first time. House to Home write that you should divide up your lighting into different splash zones - from zone 0 (submersed lighting) to zone 3 (surrounding areas). Always hire a professional electrician to do wiring jobs for you, and choose child safety features also, including a string switch long enough for little arms to reach.

Layer Your Lights
When it comes to creating a pleasant light, you need to consider the different areas and the natural light on offer - you want a bathroom to be welcoming and well-lit, without being harsh. Spotlights over the bath and shower are great for functionality, and for smaller bathrooms can double up as a main light. Flush fittings are ideal as a central, overhead light, as it directs the light across the room. That said, you may also want accent lighting for highlighting artwork or great architectural features - think a small sconce with an LED bulb for efficiency and style.

Vanity Lighting
From shaving to applying makeup, creating the right vanity lighting is a must in any bathroom. It should be soft, but mimicking natural light so you don’t miss any spots. For even lighting, Better Homes and Gardens advise placing two incandescent lights, adding up to 75 watts either side of your mirror. A great space saver is a lit mirror or bathroom cabinet, which are becoming increasingly affordable.

Finishing Touches

The great thing about designing a family bathroom is that many elements can be changed with minimal fuss as your children grow. Waterproof, battery powered night lights are a often a good addition to a family bathroom for midnight trips to the toilet, while ensuring a feeling of safety during bath time. A wise investment is a good quality step ladder, light enough that it can be moved easily, yet sturdy and supportive for two minutes of tooth-brushing time. Decor, from paint colours to towels, can be made stylish and fun for kids - using seaside or nautical themes, for example.

Parenting Problems: Choosing A Bed For Your Child

Little Tikes Car Bed

As an adult, bed shopping seems a fairly standard process: you measure your room, go to a store and have a lie down on some test beds, choose what you want and wait for it to arrive. Choosing a bed for your child is less easy - for one, it will have to last them years of growing. While there’s a lot more to consider, the process is pretty similar - just make sure that your child is involved in the choice too.

Safety First
The first consideration when buying a child’s bed should be safety - this is an investment for the next 10 to 15 years of their life, so choose wisely. If opting for a standard single bed, you have little to worry about. Cot-like frames are available if your child worries about falling out, and these can be customised over time. When choosing a bunk bed, keep an eye out for quality materials and EU quality standards marking to show it has passed the required safety tests.

Choosing A Mattress
Children are very resilient, but a softer mattress is more of a guarantee of them getting a good night’s sleep, while supporting their growing bones. The Sleep Council advise taking your child to a store to lie down on some of the test beds and see what they like, but remember to check in regularly over the coming years to ensure the bed still serves them well. After all, a teen who is suddenly 6ft tall won’t sleep well on a short bed.

Storage Solutions
Fortunately for parents, there are plenty of different beds that combine sleeping with storage, perfect for two children sharing a room or for small bedrooms. Kids Beds Online offer standard bunk beds for sharers; while their cabin or high beds have space underneath for a wardrobe or desk. Some cabin beds have shelving units on the bunk alongside the bed, creating a bedside table to safely keep a glass of water and a reading lamp.

Working Together

It’s hard to overstate the importance of working together with your child to make decisions about their comfort and future. Although it may well be your house, their sleeping space is their chance for privacy, and it’s important to respect that. You might find the decision making process easier if you narrow down a few choices and allow your child to choose from those, and be sure to let them choose their own bedding - for younger children this creates a sense of security, and for older kids it’s a chance to exercise their budding independence.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Keeping Your Home Clutter Free With Children

When you have babies, toddlers and small children, keeping your home clutter free can be a bit of a nightmare. As soon as your child is crawling, they’ll be exploring, meaning that nothing’s out of reach. This problem is worsened further when they learn to walk and climb, and you even have to be conscious about what you leave on counters. However, there are simple ways that you can help keep your home clutter free with proper planning. Here are just three…

Use Sideboards as Storage
Sideboards are great for storage. They only have minimal depth, so don’t come too far into the room, meaning the play area is left untouched. This is vital, as your children will still need room to play and explore, so you don’t want your room filled with obstacles or other slip and trip hazards. There are a number of different styles that you can opt for, too. This means that you can get the exact amount of storage you need.

A sideboard can be used in any room, and they’re a universal piece of furniture. This means that, not only will a sideboard look good in any room, but it’ll look great for years to come, too. A timeless classic.

Use Under Bed Space Creatively
The best storage space is the space that’s completely wasted in your home. Take under the bed, for example. This is often left completely blank, only gathering dust. However, when you begin to think creatively, you realise that you can use this space to your advantage. It can be a great place to store toys in tubs, or any seasonal clothes that won’t be used for the rest of the year.

Make Cabinets Your Friend
Regardless of the fact that clutter is bound to fill your home, the one area you should prioritise keeping clutter free is the bathroom, closely followed by the kitchen. This is because, in spite of childproof caps helping keep prying hands at bay, it’s still incredibly easy for children to get their hands on lotions and potions. Due to this, you need to make cabinets your friends, preferably with locks so that anything harmful can be kept at bay.

So there you have it, three simple ways that you can keep your home clutter free. Of course, there are hundreds more, but these are just our favourites. Use your imagination and you’ll be surprised at the simple ways you can find to help. With a child, your home will always be full of clutter, but every little piece of storage you can have will help manage the problem. Hopefully with these helpful tips, your days of stepping on left out toys and LEGO will be over. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

5 ways to fall asleep fast


Okay, so there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for insomnia, but there are many things you can try to help you to drift off quicker. Here are five:

1) Have a massage
If you have trouble switching off mentally when it comes to bedtime, focussing on the physical can help. You can hold a lot of tension in your body without even realising it and having a massage is a great way to release any pent up tightness and help you unwind both mentally and physically. You can ask your partner to give you a backrub, book an evening appointment with a professional therapist or even invest in an Adjustamatic bed with an in-built massage system.

2) Meditate
Meditation is not just for monks looking for enlightenment. Paying attention to the present moment, your thoughts, your feelings, bodily sensations and your surroundings can improve mental wellbeing and sleep quality. Known as ‘mindfulness’ meditation, this awareness involves lying or sitting in silence and concentrating on your breathing and other physical sensations. Whenever the mind wanders, attention should be brought back to these aspects. You can stream or download guided meditation sessions online if you need help getting started.

3) Talk more
Is a work dilemma, relationship problem or financial worry denying you entry to dreamland? While you’re unlikely to be able to find a solution in one evening, it may help you to bring your problems out in the open during the waking hours. Discussing your concerns with a trusted friend, relative or colleague could help to put your problems into perspective, identify potential solutions and lessen the burden of your worries in general. If you’re seriously anxious around bedtime and have no one to turn to, calling the Samaritans may help.

4) Forgo your evening tea/coffee
Caffeine addicts may not like the sound of the following piece of advice, but it should be heeded if you want to get shuteye faster. Caffeine is stimulant so should be avoided close to bedtime. Studies have shown that even an afternoon dose of caffeine can negatively affect sleep so if you really want to improve the quality of your nightly rest, you should try to wean yourself off eating or drinking caffeinated foods or beverages post-midday.

5) Wear earplugs
Does every whisper, bark or gust of wind sound like nails on a chalkboard once you’ve laid your head down? If you find it difficult to ignore noises, why not invest in a decent pair of earplugs? Whether it’s a snoring partner, loud neighbours or a busy motorway keeping you awake, earplugs can help to dampen irritating sounds, allowing you to drift off more easily.

These are just some of the ways you can improve your sleep hygiene and find your way to slumbertown faster. If you’re experiencing serious sleeplessness and think you need more help, however, be sure to consult your GP.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Fitness is a state of mind

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide results

Fitness has become an aspect of my life that I live, eat and sleep. If I cast my mind back 18 months and beyond, I have become a former shadow of the girl I used to be, but for all of the right reasons. I have found 'me' again, in a web of tangles that had kept me from thinking that it was ever possible to be 'just me' ever again.

Getting into fitness has opened up an entire new world to me. From different foods to try and discover that I enjoy, to stepping outside of the box that I had cornered myself into, afraid to try new things through fear of not succeeding, fear of being laughed at, fear of falling. This last year has shown me that I am more than capable. I just need to push my boundaries, stop caring about what anybody else thinks, and just do my thing, my way.

By doing this I have found that I can achieve the impossible. I can see results that I once thought were way out of my reach, I have made friends around the world. I have made friends in my local area, and it was just this evening that I was in the gym about to start my fitness class, when a lady approached me. I was a little taken a back as I wondered what on earth I had done, instantly fearing the worse. She apolagised for the random introduction and then asked if I was completing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides and sharing my progress on Instagram. Of course.. I am! It turns out that this lady was following my account online, and she was so shocked to see me in her local gym! It was perhaps one of the most surreal moments of my life...

I love discovering new fitness classes or events that shake things up a little bit, because there is nothing worse than getting stuck in a routine that gets stagnant. It put's you off, you loose your glow and then your motivation staggers. Switching things up gives you a bit of diversity and keeps everything fresh and current.

One of the biggest lessons that I have stumbled upon on my fitness journey relates to my diet and what I eat. I never used to care about what I put in my body, I didn't look at the ingredients, if it tasted good and satisfied my hunger pangs it was a winner. These days I am so much more conscious about what I fuel my body with. I eat well and enjoy what I am eating. I use many different food groups within my meal plans, grains such as Quinoa, nuts and seeds such as Almonds and Chia Seeds. Everything I eat has a purpose to keep my body fueled and ticking over to help me achieve my goals. 

RPM are a creative agency who have helped put on some fantastic fitness events for some of the leading brands. In a world where everybody is now thinking more about how they fuel their bodies, and of course working out, it is an incredible area to be active in. 

Reebok Cross Fit

The Reebok CrossFit Championships were incredibly exciting, it saw 500 elite athletes competing at nigh high impact events across Europe, with the Berlin final being broadcast live on Eurosport! Cross Fit is something that I myself have heard so much about in recent months, and it is definitely something I would love to try out. Maybe I will look into it a little more over the next couple of months and jig my routine around somewhat for the 2016.

Then of course there was the Weetabix Ultimate Sports Day that you must have heard about! Weetabix wanted to encourage children aged 6 through to 11 to get active and eat a nutritious, health breakfast. I am a huge lover of Weetabix and enjoy them with Coconut Milk and Honey. 

The sports days saw 400 children taking part at the Queen Elizabeth Park's Copper Box Arena, where they got to enjoy a traditional sports day with races and obstacle course creations. It even went on to see Mo Farah achieving a Guiness World Record for the 100m Sack Race!

Weetabix Ultimate Sports Day

I think it is so important to get children active from a young age, as a child I hated sport with a passion. My two left feet and my very apparent lack of co-ordination made exercise embarrassing, and it was for that very reason that I found it a real chore. It is that memory of P.E at school that gave me such a phobia of the gym, I guess that I was still pretty raw about being hit in the head with a rounders ball... Even all of those years later. 

My experience in fitness over the last year really has shown me that we all have the opportunity to work out and enjoy what we are doing. Take yourself out of the box, and tell yourself that you can do it, and you will do it.

Then watch as you show yourself how right you are. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

4 Things That Will Make You More Organised At Work

Work can be stressful, and when things get a little too busy, it is very easy for your workspace to become very messy in a short period of time. A cluttered desk is the last thing you need when you’re trying to focus, so being organised can be a great help. If you aren't usually an organised person but you would like to learn, here are four things you might want to add to your arsenal that will help you stay on top of things at work.

1. Pens

In a world populated by technology, pens can sometimes be hard to find, but they are still one of the most useful implements to have in the office. It is very easy to customise pens, so you can brand a batch of pens with your business name, or even your own name – the perfect solution if you are prone to losing things in the office! If this sounds like something you would like to do, specialists in personalising products, such as Adcall, can help you become just that little bit more organised with your stationery.

2. USBs

USBs are not only a quick and easy way to transfer files from one device to another; they can also be used to store and back-up important data. Set up a folder system through your USBs, or colour coordinate them so you don't get all your information confused. This is especially important if you move around or travel a fair amount for work. Alternatively, move all your local files into a cloud storage system so that you can access your important files from any internet-connected device.

3. Diary

A diary or a personal planner can work wonders for you – it will keep you focused and on task, and you won't forget important appointments or meetings. This can either be paper based or digital; choose whatever you think will be most effective for you and the way you operate. They are also great for writing out to-do lists, so you’ll know what tasks you have to do and when you have to finish them.

4. Filing Cabinets

If you deal with a lot of paper at your job, a filing cabinet and system will be very useful. It means you will be able to avoid piles of paper making a giant mess on your desk, and it also means you can find required documents with more ease.

There are a huge number of things you can use that will make you more organised at work, as well as a number of great strategies that you can employ to make these products even more effective for you. Industries can be quite different from one another, so what works in one office may not necessarily work for you. Keep this in mind if you are thinking about refining your organisational skills. It might be slow going at the beginning, but it will be worth it in the end.

Are you organised when you are at work? If so, what things do you think have made you more organised? If not, what have you seen others do that you think might work for you? Leave your thoughts and advice in the comments section down below.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

How to protect your kids during a relationship breakdown

Relationship breakdowns can be traumatic for couples, but often it’s the children who end up suffering the most. So, if you’re in the process of separating from your partner, you might be worried about the impact this will have on your youngsters. One thing’s for sure though, you’re not alone. In the UK, over four million kids now live in separated families. The good news is, there are ways that you can limit the negative effects of a relationship breakdown on your children. This brief guide talks you through the basics.

Keep conflict to a minimum
Firstly, it’s important to try to keep any anger between you and your partner under control. Kids can quickly become distressed if they see or hear their parents arguing. If possible, discuss your problems when your children aren’t around, and try to at least be civil to one another in front of your youngsters. If you need a legal separation from your partner, it’s useful if you can reach an agreement out of court, and family mediation can play an important role in this. This can be less stressful than going through the courts and it considers the needs of kids above the feelings of parents.

Make effective contact arrangements
However you decide to separate, it’s crucial that you make effective contact arrangements with your youngsters. Legal experts The Law House draw attention to the importance of gaining clarity on issues such as parental responsibility, custody and access. It’s much better if you and your partner can come to an amicable agreement over the care of your kids, focussing on issues like who they will normally live with and how much contact they will have with the other parent. If you’re struggling to come to an arrangement, try using a mediation service and only go to court as a last resort.

Also, it’s best to avoid asking your children who they would rather live with. This can put them under pressure and leave them feeling guilty.

Don't keep your children in the dark
Many parents think that keeping their children in the dark about their separations will protect them. However, childcare specialists agree that in fact it’s better to make sure kids are informed at each stage of breakups. Of course, they don’t need to know every detail and there may be some aspects of your relationship breakdown that your youngsters never need to know, but when it comes to the practical arrangements, children benefit from understanding what’s going on. With this in mind, it’s useful to encourage kids to ask questions and to ensure they feel listened to.  

Offer reassurance
Always be careful in the language you use with your children too. Often, kids feel parental separations are their fault, and it’s vital that you reassure them this is not the case. Also, make sure they know that both their parents still love them and that the breakup will not affect this.

On a related point, don’t fall into the trap of putting your kids in the middle of disputes. Asking them to take messages for you, keep secrets or give you information about your partner can put your children in an awkward position and it can harm your relationship with them.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Glasses are making a comeback

To all the yummy mummies out there, don’t ever think that your glasses are just for your lazy days. Maybe you wear contact lenses usually but keep a pair of prescription glasses for when you’re relaxing at home. Well now prescription glasses don’t have to be something you’re embarrassed of.

I’ve found a whole range of prescription glasses that look great and there’s something to suit every face shape. They even have a face shape guide if you’re not sure which style suits you best. Some are designer brands I’d heard of, but others were brand new to me.

More and more celebs are showing off the glasses look too. Showing off all different styles for all different occasions, glasses are definitely making a comeback.

And now that all these styles are in my price range, they’ve become another accessory to really set off each outfit. With winter coming up I really love the combination of thick chunky Fendi frames like the ones below and a big woolly scarf wrapped around you. 

Or maybe combining a tortoise shell frame from the wonderful Michael Kors with some warm cowboy boots and jeans, all topped off with a thick winter coat.

Or finally, I’m loving seeing all the rose gold on the high street from jewelry to even hairstyles now. So why not go for glasses too. I’ve fallen in love with these Givenchy rose gold pair from Tesco Optician. I could either pair with some more rose gold pieces or go for the all black look with just the touch of rose gold in the glasses.

Buying glasses can be hard and it’s definitely hard to know what suits you. That’s why I’ve really enjoyed using the ‘Frames on me’ tool on Tesco Optician’s site. It means I can try on as many glasses as I like without moving away from my laptop. This is great for me, who could spend all day trying on glasses and sunglasses. Plus it means I can pout to my heart’s content. Check it out!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Fisher Price Car Bed


Space is something that I find myself searching for in every sense of the word since becoming a parent. In past years I have searched high and low for a space where I could have time just for me, space to let my hair down and remember that I am more than just Leo's Mother. Space where I can escape work, and mundane day to day life in dreams of something more exciting 

In times of muddle I have searched for space to store the accumulations of material objects that life likes to bring to your front door. Nick nacks, books, old clothes and DVDs, everyday items that need a home, but seem to take refuge in every nook. space and cranny. 

Leo's bedroom for instance is the absolute perfect example of this, that boy has toys coming out of his ears, that refuse to stay in the allocated toy boxes, he has clothes a plenty and more 'stuff' than you can shake a stick at. What he doesn't have is space. Space that can be used productively, space that can be used actively. Space that can be enjoyed, space where he can learn.

I have been thinking recently about giving his entire room an over haul now that he is at school, because the space is there to be made the most of, it just means that we need to make a few investments in order to harness the reigns and achieve what we want to achieve with what's available. 

With Leo being at school it means that really I need to take a look at a quiet space where he has the room to sit down at a desk, where he can keep his books, where he can practice his reading and where he can write out those very first shaky words so that they can grow and flourish into sentences, stories and experiences. 

I need to provide Leo with his very own room to grow. A space that is practical and clear of clutter for the time that he is learning. 

One of the storage solutions I have been considering over the last few months, is something that Leo has been very excited about. A brand new mid sleeper bed that boasts a pull out desk. This would provide my little man with the best of both worlds, he would gain more floor space thanks to the built in storage solutions. He would have that space I long to give him for his studies, space that is only going to become even more necessary as the years roll by and his studies continue.

Of course for Leo those benefits are nothing, what he is excited about is the ladder, the ladder going up to his bed in the sky. It's a conversation that we have had many times before, and now that he is 4 and at school, I think he might be ready for his very first full size bed. It might be time to bid farewell to his Car Bed that he has loved since he was 2 years old. 

Space is so many things to so many different people, 
What is it to you? 

Fisher Price Car Bed

Tips and Tricks for Getting Children to Tidy Their Room

Parents will likely be familiar with the weekly battle to get the kids to tidy their rooms. Sometimes the stress this causes doesn't feel worth the end result, so why bother? In short, as parents, teaching our children how to keep their space and possessions calm and tidy is about far more than ending the day with a clean house. It is about organisation, discipline, establishing routines and taking responsibility.

1.  Set an Example

It might seem obvious to adults, but unless children are taught to tidy up after themselves, it simply won’t cross their minds. One way to instil this from an early age is by example. If your children see you taking pride in your home, it will become the norm. That doesn't mean that we should place a huge emphasis on material things, but creating a peaceful, safe and comfortable haven is an important part of surviving the tougher times that might come.

2. Pride of Place

If children have their own space - whether it’s their own room, a corner of a room, or even just a shelf - they are likely to want to keep it looking nice. Encourage them to personalise the space and they will take pride in it. For example, let them choose a certain shade of paint, put up pictures or decorate storage boxes.

3. Expectations

Unless the have a clear definition of what a clean and tidy room means, most children will struggle with the concept. Sometimes it helps to provide them with a visual checklist they can follow. For younger children, using pictures is useful. Older children can usually cope with a list of simple steps to follow, such as:

1. Rubbish in bin.
2. Dirty washing in laundry basket.
3. Make bed.
4. Stack books.
5. Toys in toy box.

It really helps if you have agreed in advance where everything goes. The old saying “a place for everything and everything in its place” really rings true when it comes to making it easier for children to tidy up after themselves. Spend time with your child labelling boxes and choosing homes for each toy. Thuka cabin beds are great for storage.

4. Too much stuff for your closets?

The more your children have, the more difficult they will find it to keep things tidy. If you find that your children are collecting an unmanageable amount of possessions, why not implement a “one in, one out” rule? When a new toy is acquired, an old one should be given away to charity or recycled. This is also a great way to teach children about giving to those less fortunate than themselves.

5. Working Together

Initially, children might find the task of tidying a whole room overwhelming. Working together through the steps will enable them to become more confident about the process. It can also provide some much-needed quality time together.

6. Setting some standards

There are some areas where you can reach a compromise, but others where you just can’t. For example, leaving toys out on the floor overnight so a game can be continued the next day is completely acceptable, but leaving dirty mugs or festering laundry under the bed for weeks on end is clearly not okay.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Life and Times of the Working Mum: Firework Buying Guide

It's that time of year again, and if you haven't already seen those sparkles in the sky, then it won't be long before you hear the first explosions of fireworks as they light up the darkness. We have taken Leo along to a display multiple times a year since he was a baby, and he has grown up to adore them. Not once has he been worried of scared as they explode into the most beautiful of colours and shapes, and he has always looked forward to attending displays whether they are for Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas or New Year. 

As a nation we love fireworks but with this love comes great responsibility. This responsibility is something that we have tried to instill in Leo from a young age. No matter how fun and beautiful fireworks are, they aren't toys and should be treated accordingly. Fireworks are dangerous, they have the power to damage and destroy, but of course they are enjoyable and we want the occasions that fireworks are involved to be special, but we want them first and foremost, be safe.

As the start of the season is upon us, I thought now was a great time to run through some points on how to make the very most of firework displays and of course enjoy them in a safe environment. Especially if you are putting on your very own firework display from home.

The Life and Times of the Working Mum's Firework Buying Guide

First things first...
Choose which type of fireworks you want
Always sore fireworks safely, away from naked flames and water. Always read the instructions carefully before using them.

There are such a wide variety of different fireworks and it is important to be familiar with what you are purchasing:
- Sparklers: A firm favourite with the young and the young at heart. Supervision is required at all ties and really shouldn't be used by a child under the age of five, and even then gloves should be worn to protect their hands, as sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 2000°C.

Fountain: A ground-based firework, which emits showers of crackling, glittering sparks and light effects that can reach up to 6 metres (20ft).

- Mine: A spectacular explosion of colours and effects, starting with a ground level fountain, which builds up to a sudden, unexpected burst of aerial plumes and stars.

- Roman candle: Roman candle fireworks shoot out a brilliant array of stars, coloured balls, bangs and flashes.

- Rocket: An aerial firework, which is propelled into the sky by a rocket motor, leaving a trail of stars and finishing with a delightful burst.

- Shot tube: Single shot Roman candles that create big starbursts and crackles with a glittering tail.

- Cake: cake fireworks are essentially a group of multi-shot Roman Candles fused together, making them fire in rapid succession to create a vibrant aerial firework display by lighting a single fuse.

- Single Ignition: A very large cake, single ignition fireworks produce massive aerial bursts, a choreographed barrage of light and sound.

What to consider when buying your fireworks:
- Only buy from a licensed retailer. It's illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18.
- Only buy fireworks that comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent. Instructions should be in English
- Only buy fireworks in full packs. Don't buy loose fireworks or packs with fireworks taken out of them.

Firework Code (As per the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)
Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework, using a torch (never a flame) if necessary.
- Light the firework at arm's length with a long taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.
- Children and young people should stand at a distance from fireworks and only handle sparklers, when they should wear gloves and extinguish used sparklers in a bucket of sand or water. Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. Adults should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used.
Of course all of this is so that the experience can be an enjoyable one, and the back drop to create some fantastic memories that will be cherished for many years to come. Leo and I intend to enjoy as many shows as we can this year, and it all starts at the end of this month! 
Have you got any booked in the diary yet?

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Fun Halloween Ideas To Keep Kids Busy All Month

Inclement weather and the turn of the seasons can be an incredibly expensive time for many parents. With outdoors activities limited – and spending too much time out in the wet and cold being as detrimental to your child’s health as not spending any time outside at all – the cost of keeping your children occupied can be expensive.

Tickets to the cinema, bowling, video games, DVDs etc. can soon mount up and are short-term solutions to boredom. Halloween is fast approaching and with it an opportunity to keep the children occupied and enjoying themselves.

If you are planning a Halloween party – or even if you’re not – these fun, crafty ideas will keep the children busy for weekends at a time and will help build the anticipation of what is fast becoming a family favourite UK festivity. Decorate your child’s bedroom, and the rest of the house, with these fun ‘spooky’ decorations that can be reused year after year.

Your recycling box is a treasure trove of materials for Halloween decorations so before you throw it out, think about what can be repurposed with a little bit of creative attention.

Egg boxes make wonderful bats that you can hang from pretty much anywhere. Three cups will make the body and two wings. Shape the outer two cups into wings by cutting a ‘w’ shape out of them. Paint the whole thing black and stick two googly eyes on them, or paint two eyes on, and two dots of paint or glued on triangles of paper to make the teeth. Thread them with string or ribbon and hand them around the house.

Create a ghostly wall mural in your child’s bedroom by painting dried fallen leaves white and using a black marker pen to draw two eyes and a spooky ‘oooh’ mouth and stick them to the wall with blu-tack.

Halloween Kids

Decorate your child’s bed with fake webbing, or cheese cloth, and use a dry paint or make-up brush to dab it with baby powder to give it an aged, haunted house look – the baby power will vacuum right off or lift when wiped with a damp cloth. You could visit Bedstar to get a playful novelty bed that would last beyond Halloween and become a feature of your child’s bedroom for years to come. A Princess carriage, fire engine, London bus or racing car will provide hours of make believe play when the rain is pouring down.

Make gruesome illusions of heads in jars with a little bit of food colouring, water and a photo. Get a headshot with a plain white background, place it inside a jar and fill it with water coloured with a few drops of green or yellow food colouring. Use smaller jam jars for a ‘shrunken head’ look.

Paint old glass jars or bottles to make them look like Halloween characters and use them as themed desk-tidies.

Use plain black bin bags to create dramatic and super cheap spider’s webs by following these instructions.

Value orange tissue-paper balls from a craft shop can easily be made into a variety of pumpkins with some black card, scissors and glue. Just cut out the eye, nose and mouth shapes and glue them to your paper balls. Hang them around the house or use drawing pins to suspend them from the ceiling in your child’s room.

Halloween Kids