Tuesday, 28 June 2016

You are what you eat

Healhty BreakfastIt's the time of year where people are thinking about jetting off on their Summer holiday's and realising that they perhaps haven't followed their New Year Resolutions to the fullest of their potential. As I type this my Facebook seems to have been inundated with people selling what can only be summed up as 'magic pills' or 'magic shakes'. 

When I see this I get quite angry, because it's not these products that are going to help you loose weight and tone up. You don't need to spend ££ to feel good about yourself and to achieve your goals. I know, I can hear you asking, what do you need to do then? 

EAT REAL FOOD
After all you are what you eat.
Turkey Kale Salad
Real food just means good wholesome produce, none of this manufactured business. Keep it clean, simple and enjoy what you fuel your body with, because after all that is what it's all about. I am not telling you to eat lettuce, in fact I don't remember the last time I actually had lettuce and I consider my meals to be clean and delicious. 

Asparagus and Parmesan Tart

Pesto Courgette pasta and cheats garlic bread
The Bodycoach Chicken Patia Curry

Healthy Snack
 Healthy Protein Pancakes

I don't think people realise just how just eating right can set you up for your entire day. People seem to think that healthy food is not as tasty as the 'food' that has been manufactured from cuts of meet and chemicals that I couldn't even really class as food. You can dress vegetables up in so many different ways so that they taste incredible. Even I think steamed broccoli is incredibly boring, but when it is in the home made curry sauce I often cook up, it's just amazing! Pair that with some Turkey or Prawns and you really are on your way. 

Even just switching from white rice to brown rice is a healthier meal choice, and then if your brave enough, why not whizz up some cauliflower rice?

Discount Supplements have come up with a selection of meal planner cards that highlight the numerous ways you can create healthier meal choices. 

I wanted to share some of my favourite cards with you, maybe they can help you on your mission to a healthier you?

Veggie Dinner Planner - Yes we do eat good greens for breakfast! I mean... Why not!?


Vegan Dinner Planner - Now this might put a few of you off before you even look, but I think you will be surprised. Many of the meals I eat are based on Veganism, but as I am not Vegan (I love meat too much!) I often add Turkey or other things that take the Vegan classification away.


Finally...

Mix and Match Salad Planner - Salad does not have to be boring. Salads should be full of colour and flavour.


These cards makes it really easy to put together a well rounded, healthy meal, all you need to do is pick a food from each of the groups and viola... Your meal is served. I really like these cards because they really do highlight all of the choices and selections that are available, the food you eat is a lifestyle, and it's sustainable if you are enjoying what you are eating.






Sunday, 26 June 2016

50 annoying phrases that you are likely to hear at work


It's coming up to a year since I started working from home and directly for myself, and 10 months into this new working relationship with myself, I can't help put want to pat myself on the back. It was always going to go one of two ways, it was either going to work, or it was going to go down like the Titanic. 

Thankful my boat is still bobbling along happily, and I feel so proud of everything that my little bit of cyber space has achieved this year, even if at times it has been tight, the end results have been totally worth it. 

So what is the best thing about working for yourself?

For me it has been the flexibility of being my own boss. If I roll in late from the school run one morning and don't instantly turn on the laptop, it's not the end of the world. I know I can make the time up later in the day, or even at 1am should I choose too. That brings me on to the fact that there are no co-workers or upper lines to breath down my neck. 

Co-workers either make the work place an enjoyable place to be, or have the potential to make it hell on earth. I have not hidden the fact in the past in my working life that I have not seen eye to eye with particular people, in fact I wrote some rather colourful posts when my maternity leave ended and I returned to my then full time job. Upon my return so much had changed and I felt under valued and ultimately like a spare part. People unintentionally stepped on my toes (I choose to believe it was un-intentional..) 

It's a well known fact that the things people say to us or direct our way at work can sometimes derail work ethic or just plain irritate us... So what are the most annoying things that people can say to us in the office?

GoToMeeting UK have shared the top 50 annoying phrases that you are likely to hear at work. Is your top annoyance on there?



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. 

Arbordeck

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 the most of a garden?” The answer is through luxury garden furniture and other home elements that will help to transform the space into a functional area where you can spend time by yourself or with your family and friends. Thanks to well known brands like Unopiù that specialises in luxury garden furniture and offers beautiful high quality outdoor furnishings, Italian furniture has no doubt become a symbol of taste and luxury living.

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.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Top Kids’ Movies with an Eco-Friendly Message



These days, more and more children’s movies are based around a plot which carries at least one significant lesson, whether that is about friendship, the power of pure love or the bonds of family. In this day and age of global warming, deforestation and endangered species, environmental messages are also being subtly but powerfully broadcast by kids’ films. Here’s a selection of the top kids’ movies which promote a powerful eco-friendly message as well as just being highly enjoyable to watch. 

Lion King

The Lion King
Telling the story of a pride of lions torn apart by the lies and cruelty of the king’s conniving scar-faced brother, this film’s environmental message is made abundantly clear from the start thanks to the lyrics of the opening song, ‘Circle of Life’. The much later images of Scar’s defacement of the Pridelands due to the selfishness and wilful blindness of his rule is also strong message, making us see quite clearly why we should take better care of our own environments.

Wall-E
This adorable story of a robot with heart begins 700 years in the future, with lonely Wall-E sorting out masses of everyday human junk that has been left behind by humankind. People have abandoned the planet and now lead an utterly artificial life of leisure in monstrous space ships - a lifestyle which makes them fat and comfortable and does not make them happy. Could the message be any clearer?

Homeward Bound: An Incredible Journey
This highly enjoyable film, following on from the success of the delightfully sappy original, beautifully promotes both the glories and the dangers of the natural world, helping both kids and their adults to appreciate our planet all the more.

Bambi
This much-loved classic was released in 1942, and its eco-friendly message is two-pronged. On the one hand, it gloriously evokes the beauty of nature and its wild beasts while at the same time demonstrating the cruelty of men. The scene where Bambi’s mother dies is exquisitely subtle but heart-rending at the same time and, together with the scene where Faline is chased by hunting dogs, really ought to be enough to put anyone off hunting.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
In this family-friendly sci-fi film, the iconic Spock and his team return to Planet Earth in a bid to help save the whales. Children are sure to enjoy this film, both for its profound message and its action sequences!

Free Willy
This much-loved movie about a killer whale tells the story of a boy called Jesse and the bond he forms with a whale named Willy, who lives in a local amusement park. The whale is supposed to perform tricks but refuses and as a result is threatened with death by the cruel park owner. But Jesse manages to rescue him and help him return to the wild in an act which clearly demonstrates the importance of leaving wild animals alone to live in their natural environment and shows us just how cruel it is to stop them from doing just that.

Watership Down
Be warned: this film is not for the faint of heart among children and adults, so it is advisable not to show it to younger children, who may be left disturbed and upset. Telling the story of a warren of displaced rabbits, it somewhat brutally demonstrates the impact of man - and man’s ways - on the environment and its inhabitants.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest
Last but not least, this slightly unusual 1992 film, which features the vocal talents of the much-loved Robin Williams, has an eco-friendly message made clear to viewers right from the start. It tells the story of a rainforest inhabited by fairies and nature spirits which is threatened by an evil spirit called Hexxus and the destructive logging of man. The main protagonists are Crysta and her new friend Zak, a human she shrinks to fairy-size, who, along with her friends, manage to stop Hexxus destroying the forest.

This article is provided by Pump Sales Direct.

How to Throw a Garden Party on a Budget


With the summer tantalisingly close, thoughts will inevitably turn to all the late night garden parties that lie ahead. But how can you throw a legendary party on a budget? 
Like this:
Set the Party Scene
Food and Drinks
Entertainment

Good weather and good people make a party but you can set the scene for any garden gathering with a few, budget-friendly accessories:

Garden Furniture
Chairs and tables should be at the top of your garden party list.
Collapsible camping chairs are the most budget-friendly and they’re easy enough to stow away in sheds or attics during the winter months, but remember, most people expect garden parties to be pretty informal so don’t be afraid to throw some picnic blankets and cushions down on your lawn for guests to recline and relax on.
Plastic garden tables are perfect for outdoor use in any weather but on a dry, sunny day, interior dining and coffee tables are easy to relocate outside.
Tip: If you’re using a mish-mash of furniture, give it a cohesive and stylish look with matching tablecloths and tableware.

- Tableware
Disposable paper plates and cups are the cheapest option for tableware but for just a fraction more, you could add a splash of colour to your party with quality, plastic plates, cups, wine glasses and cutlery which can be reused for every party you throw – well, why have just one?!
Tip: Remember to get plenty of serving dishes and spoons so your guests can help themselves to party food.

- Decoration 
A few simple decorations can make the difference between a really good party and a really great one. Drape some colourful bunting along walls and fences, tie balloons to trees and help your party go on long into the night with plenty of solar garden lights.
Tip: For a low-budget lighting idea, nestle tea lights in jars amongst your dining area for a subtle glow, creating a cosy and warm atmosphere.
If your party is a casual affair, ask your guests to bring a sweet or savoury dish with them. It cuts your costs, preparation and clean-up time and leaves you free to mingle.
If you’d prefer to cater for your guests, cold dishes such as salads and finger foods can be prepared in advance and they go perfectly with a BBQ, meaning you can cook whilst outside with them.
Keeping drinks chilled for a number of guests on a hot day can be a challenge but one that can be solved on a budget quite easily.
Plastic ice-cubes that chill drinks without dissolving can be used for individual glasses or jugs of squash and cocktails, while clean buckets, waterbutts or even wheelbarrows filled with cold water and ice-cubes make great outdoor fridges for cans and bottles.
Whether you’re throwing an intimate garden party for five guests or a lively bash for fifty, it always pays to have a little entertainment ready.
Lawn games like croquet or swing tennis are great fun for adults and kids alike, and music is a great ice-breaker for groups of friends who are meeting for the first time. Put together your favourite playlist and ask everyone you invite for requests.
Tip: To keep little ones entertained, put out a couple of bubble machines, some chalks or space hoppers or (if you’re feeling brave!) hide a bunch of water pistols and super-soakers around the garden for them to find!

You can get everything you need for a perfect, budget-friendly garden party online or instore from B&M.

Leo's New Bedroom

Global Developmental Delay

My head is currently swept up in the excitement of a upcoming house move, I'm thinking about all that I will do with my new home to make it mine. I cannot wait to get in there and decorate the house exactly the way I want, and to furnish it how I want. 

One of the aspects that I am a little to giddy about is Leo's bedroom and getting Leo a quiet home, a relaxing and motivational place to unwind and work. I wrote a post yesterday talking about Leo's struggles at school, and I know that this move is going to really help spur him along. The current living situation means that we are at the family home, and not just your typical family home. It's a very large family co-existing together. 10 people in fact. Yes the home is large and there is space, but at times you do live on top of one another, and the fact that Leo's 3 year old cousin lives among us, it makes getting that one on one time with Leo exceptionally difficult. You can count on him running into the room and causing a ruckus as soon as you attempt to sit down and have the quiet learning time with Leo. 

There is so much that I long to do for Leo, but while we are still here, it's not a realistic option right now. I would love to invest in some LEGO for Leo so we can practice our patterns and build structures together, I think this would be an amazing learning curve for my little man, but I know that as soon as I part with the pennies, my nephew will end up loosing all of the little bits, and they will never be seen again.

Star Bedroom Design

Once we are out, I can put all of these ideas into motion. Leo's bedroom is going to have one wall decorated in Monocrome Stars. He is going to have a White wardrobe, a white chest of draws and a lovely white high rise bed. I am opting for high rise as I want to be able to use the storage space beneath it and even incorporate a desk and learning space for him. I have set my heart on the Stompa Uno S Highsleeper from Room to Grow's furniture range as it already has the desk built in. The idea is that we can get a space set up so that Leo looks forward to sitting down and having that quiet one to one time with me. 

I would also pop a small book shelf beside the desk so that we can really adapt the space below his desk into a constructive learning area. Downstairs in the living room I have plans to make a quiet learning nook where we will have two bean bags and another book shelf. A space that we can sit quietly together in and read stories together, a space that I can sit and listen to him read with no distractions. 

The bed even ties in beautifully with our colour scheme. Although the walls are going to be mainly White, I want to add splashes of colour into the mix in the forms of Blue and Red so that it isn't too bland. I love that the colour scheme is that little bit more grown up than the themes that we have opted for in the past, so it means that I won't need to worry about changing it in the near future. 

Stompa Bed

I have so many ideas that I just cannot wait to implement, and I am hoping that in the next couple of months, I can start to make these changes and really start to help my little man. It is safe to say that Leo himself is over the moon at the prospect of the move, and he cannot stop talking about his new house.

Let's get this adventure on the road!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Going green in the garden with Compost Direct


Leading compost and garden supply company Compost Direct has created a visual to help you go green in your outdoor space.

Discussing topics like composting, recycling and growing your own, the infographic shows the small changes you can make to your garden to make it more eco-friendly. In the visual you can learn the following:

- The do’s and don’ts of composting
- How to create an eco-friendly compost bin
- How to recycle unwanted items usefully in your garden
- How to set up a vegetable patch and grow onions, carrots, broad beans, lettuce, tomatoes and potatoes

To find out more, view the graphic in full.


Compost Direct

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Amalfi Coast: The Best Family Trip

Amalfi Coast

Situated in the West of Southern Italy, the Amalfi Coast is certainly renowned worldwide as a plush haven frequented by celebrities and the cream-of-the-crop of society. But it is also a popular destination for all families from any social strata, and is admired not only for its wonderful sun-filled sandy beaches, 2-5 star resorts/motels, holiday villas for rent, and the splendours of its numerous UNESCO-protected World Heritage Sites (Italy itself lists 50 sites out of almost 1000 worldwide) but also for its cosmopolitan character and diversity of its natural habitats and local, multicultural folklore and traditions. Family-friendly is the word in the Amalfi Coast, because by tradition Italians are very attached to family values and this may possibly derive from a long legacy of respect for their ancestors (reminiscent of the ancient Romans who also practiced the cult of ancestor worship). For this and many other reasons, it is a great place to take your kids for a fun-filled exciting and educational experience, where they will also be able to interact locally with other families and get to play with other children in the many parks and playgrounds and in the many hotels/motels around the coast.  

Filled with natural wonders, bays and secluded coves, promontories, citrus and olive groves, vineyards and local farmland as well as ancient monuments and spectacular scenic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and with over 11,200 hectares stretching between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno, its 16 communes set in the province of Salerno have their own unique customs that allow you to experience the cultural traditions of the civilizations that settled or occupied Italy for over 3000 years.  

In order to make your trip more comfortable and pleasant for the whole family, you could rent a Mercedes Viano through Primerentcar.com for example at any location in Italy at convenient prices  and start a scenic, luxurious road trip to Naples’ Aquarium (the oldest in Europe holding 200 species of fish and plants), or visit the historical rail cars and engines of Naples’ National Railway Museum, which are a wonder to behold for kids of all ages. At Pompeii they will certainly be amazed as history unfolds before their very eyes, with the preserved bodies of the victims of the vulcanic eruption and lava of Vesuvius that destroyed the city centuries ago. 


Pompeii

At Amalfi your kids can also learn about history, and the artistic and content of its Romanesque Cathedral and its oriental-inspired Cloister of Paradise will surely not disappoint them as it seems right out of a fable-book. Step back to the time of the Arab occupation and travel to the town of Cetara with its splendid Saracen Tower. Head over to Positano beach, so you and your kids can unwind from the travel and play on the golden sands or swim around safely under the watchful eye of life-guards. And do not forget to let your your kids enjoy the spectacle given by the colored ceramic tiles that cover the Church of San Giovanni Battista and the Arciconfraternita dell’ Annunziata e del Rosaria in Vietri Sul Mare, considered to be the ‘Cradle of Majolica.’