Wednesday, 13 December 2017

4 Factors to Consider When Buying a Summer House Online


The rapid pace of online expansion seems it will go on forever, and there is hardly anything that can’t  e put in a virtual shopping cart, purchased, and despatched. Shopping online is, for many consumers, the only way to go, yet there are some important factors to consider before taking your virtual shopping cart to the checkout, and here are just a few. 

1. The Right Web Security – One thing you can instantly check is the website address, which should begin with HTTPS – and the S stands for “secure site”, which is one sign that the supplier has a registered business. The truth is, there is an element of risk when buying garden summer houses online, as you have not the opportunity to physically inspect the product prior to making the purchase, and the best solution to this, is to use the website as a guide, and if you like what you see, take note of the physical address of the company – if that is not visible, it should set off alarm bells in your head – and make an appointment to view the summer house when erected in an outdoor environment. 

2. Visit the Supplier’s Trading Premises – If the supplier has nothing to hide, they will advertise the fact that they have a bricks and mortar premises, where you can actually view the summer house in all its glory, and if, for any reason, this is not possible, simply move on, as there are established online suppliers who also have a large business premises where the customer can inspect the units.

3. Independent Customer Reviews – One cannot trust testimonials that are not verifiable, as anyone can make up a long list of wonderful testimonials and post them on their website. There are many independent review organisations that have no preference either way, and they typically work on a 5- tar rating, and you should look for anything above 4.5 to be sure they are as good as they say they are. This means that any company that is not up to scratch is easily identified, and as the supplier has no control over the ratings system, it offers the consumer some hard facts about the company’s overall service. 

There is an informative article that examines the importance of online reviews, which should help you to understand the need for this. 

4. Established and Experienced – Avoid any new companies, as there is a much greater risk of ending up dissatisfied, and a summer house is hardly a small ticket item. Ideally, their website would have a lot of useful information about how the units are made, including the type of timber used. Nordic timber is the best, as it grows very slowly in the cold climate, and this makes the wood very dense and less likely to split or crack. 

Buying anything online has an element of risk attached, and a summer house is something you really need to see assembled, and viewing a few images is in no way sufficient evidence of quality. While it is wise to start your search for a supplier online, this must be followed up with a visit to their premises, where you can actually experience the unit prior to making a decision.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Create a magical Christmas Eve for your children

UK Christmas Snow

Today is the 12th day of Christmas, and what a December it has been so far. The 10th day saw the snow arrive and 2 days later we are still nestling inside as the snow has turned to ice. There is something truly magical about snow falling in December, it doesn't happen very often, in fact the last time it did was 6 years ago while I was pregnant with Leo. I can remember it vividly, the snow stuck to the ground and there was still a blanket of it on Christmas Day, it may have been frozen into place but it was there nonetheless. 

This year I am feeling incredibly festive, whether it's because of the snow or because I have been so out of characterly organised... I don't quite know. All I do know is that this year, for the first time ever, the presents are almost wrapped (before Christmas Eve!) and my blog to do list is looking rather amazing. 

This means that my focus can now fall upon the magic of Christmas, and this will all begin on Christmas Eve. We have some annual Christmas Traditions in our house, they range from small to the not so small, and it will start with a trip on the Santa Express on December 24th. It is something that we have done since Leo was a little baby in arms (just shy of 6 months to be precise), and it is something that have done every year since (apart from last year because it all sold out very quickly!), but we are back for Christmas 2017!

Magic Santa Key

Leo doesn't know yet, it is going to be a big surprise that is announced on the morning of Christmas Eve. The tickets will be arriving by Elf (Emmanuel and Sam if you haven't already met them!), they will also return are magic key just in time for the man in red's arrival! If you don't have a chimney like us, then a key to let Santa Claus into your house is the next best thing, we leave ours out on Christmas Eve hung on our front door. It's a big old brass key that used to belong to my Granddad once upon a time, and now it comes out once a year (now covered in gold glittery paint), and it holds that extra special meaning, because although my Granddad passed away this year, he is still a big part of our Christmas.

You can purchase your own Santa Key at the Pesonalised Gifts Shop

Christmas Eve Box


I am in the process of preparing Leo's Christmas Eve Box, and this always includes something sweet so he can enjoy the festive television after a busy day out on the train, a new pair of PJ's to snuggle down in and a book for bedtime. This year will be no different, along with the train tickets and Santa Key, Leo will receive his Christmas Eve Pack by the means of Elf delivery. 

After an evening of watching The Snowman and the Snowdog (and whatever other Christmas television is broadcast), Leo will set up the little treats for Santa and his Reindeer. We then head upstairs and read The Night Before Christmas. This is another one of our little traditions that we all love, and to this day is still one of my personal favourite books. 

It won't be long before the big day arrives, and for me this year feels like it is the very height of the magic. I am determined to make it a very special one for my little man. He has composed and sent his Christmas list to Father Christmas and he is very much looking forward to opening his sleepy eyes on Christmas Morning. 


This year will definitely be one to remember, in the meantime though here is a flashback to last Christmas.





Creating a Blog Logo with Logojoy - Review

Blog Logo with Logojoy

The Life and Times of The working Mum is my original blog baby, I started writing back in 2011 when I was pregnant with Leo (who is now 6 whole years old!), it's quite scary where the time goes isn't it? I have always loved writing, there was a time during my school life where I longed to become a journalist, but somewhere along the way I talked myself down. 

My love for writing stayed strong though, and I continued to write. For me I have always found it hard to voice myself and have always found it easier to write my emotions instead of speak them. I don't know what it is? Whether it is because I have longer to think about what I want to say, or whether because you can delete what you have written once the words have been typed onto the document, where as once the words have left your mouth there isn't a fat lot that you can do to retrieve them (apart from apologise of course). 

I think ultimately it does come down to that, you can take your time when you are writing and if it doesn't reflect what you want it to say, you can amend it until it matches your version of perfect. That doesn't mean to say that it is perfect, but it is exactly what you wanted to say at that moment in time. I guess it is for this reason that I would much rather text or email than talk on the phone, because not only do you get that extra leeway in your correspondence, but you also have that paper trail that sometimes proves essential.

When you think about blogging though, you often don't think about the nitty gritty thinks that one needs to consider. When I started blogging (all of those years ago now), I only ever really though about the content that I was creating. I wasn't writing for anyone in particular it was just my personal space to write about all of those many thoughts that were running through my mind, mainly in regards to being a first time parent, and then eventually being a full time working Mum (hence the blog name!). 

Over the course of the last 6 years though, my working direction has taken numerous different courses, and in result of that so has this here blog. I have recently spent some time designing a new logo for The Life and Times of The Working Mum, and it got me thinking about the many new blogs that are popping up all of the time. It got me thinking about what I didn't know when I started, and one of those aspects was how important having a consistent brand behind you really is. 

I used Logojoy to create my new logo, it was very simple and straightforward to do so (and if I can do it, so can you). What I really liked about Logojoy was that you didn't need to know anything about graphic design (which I don't!), I found the process very simple and easy to navigate, and I am really pleased with the end product.

I wanted to keep the new logo simple and to the point, and using Logojoy meant that I could achieve that. I started out by simply choosing logo designs that I liked the look of, then I was asked to pick 5 colours and 5 symobols, this was then all spliced together in a way to generate personal logo designs based on my blog name and theme. 

These logos were all presented to me and I could look through them, add more, favourite ones that I really liked the look of and even go through to edit them and add my own personal touch. Once in the edit screen I could amend the font, the colours, symbols and much more. I kept it simple and to the point, I wanted the logo to reflect what this blog as been about over the last 6 years, and that is about being a working parent. 

The logo is simple but is what this blog is all about, and lets face we all need a bit of simplicity in our lives (especially in the midst of the festive season!).

Blog Logo with Logojoy

Once you are happy with your logo you can through to purchase it, I thought that the prices were all very fair and ultimately provided me a quality logo that I can use throughout my blog and social media channels. I opted for the premium package that gave me quite a lot for $65.00, and was exactly what I needed going forward.

If you are looking for a new logo design for your company, or like myself a blog logo. I can highly recommend Logojoy for the job.





Monday, 11 December 2017

The 10th Day of Christmas - Snow!

The 10th Day of Christmas - Snow!

On the 10th day of Christmas the snow arrived, we had been hoping and wishing that it would. It's been a long time since we have had any real kind of significant snowfall. Leo was looking out of the window and asking me 'Is the ground going to fill up now Mummy' with a real hope in his eyes, so when we awoke on Sunday morning to find a blanket of the white stuff, we knew that we were in for one hell of a snow day.

We awake early, it was still dark outside and the snow continued to fall out of the sky that was still full of powdery magic. Admittedly I was as excited as Leo, if not only because it was the first time that Leo would actually remember seeing snow, and of course be able to have a real play (not to mention for the first time since 2010 the snow had arrived on the right side of Christmas!).

Snow had only ever arrived once in Leo's 6 years of life, and at 18 months old he can't really draw on the memories. So the great snow of 2017 is what Leo will remember as his very first experience with snow, and it was the day that we all got outside (the dog included!) to build snowmen and make the most of the snow day.

We wrapped up warm, slipped on our waterproof trousers, Leo dusted off his snow jacket and I snuggled into my luxury David Nieper coat. When we were all ready for the freezing temperatures that had arrived just outside our front door, we traipsed out into what can only be described as Narnia. 

The 10th Day of Christmas - Snow!

The snow falling in December instantly put you into a festive mood, it felt like Winter and Christmas had both arrived at the exact moment that the first flakes started to fall. Being the big kid that I am, I was the first person to start rolling the snowball that formed the basis of our rather large snowman Bert, and subsequently Bernie his little brother. I would love to say that the two snowmen that you see pictured were formed part of team work, but that would a lie. 

It was all my handy work!

The snow fell all day, it was truly a winter wonderland out there, and as I type this the snow may be starting to melt but it is still cold and crisp, and you would be forgiven for thinking you were in the midst of a snow globe. 

Not only was it Leo's first real snow experience, but it was also Lux's (our 18 month old Dalmatian puppy!). I have to admit that I thought the snow might be too much for Lux, he hates the cold you see and refuses to go outside if the temperature drops too far, but snow was something he was willing to get cold for, and he expressed this by refusing to come back inside. 

We took Lux for a dog walk nearby in the fields resembling a christmas card winter scene. We went with a neighbour and her young dog, and ended up walking around with a neighbour and her labrador from around the corner. All of the dogs were having the most wonderful time, they played among the snowflakes and jumped into deeper snow. They were soaking and cold but the happiness was ranking high on any measure that could be taken. 

The 10th Day of Christmas - Snow!

We spent hours out in the snow, we were cold on the outside but warm on the inside. Snow at Christmas time is one those things that will always bring a smile to your face, and I absolutely loved the excitement that it brought to not only my family but also the entire street that I live on. The snow brought everyone outside, and there was not a single soul without a smile on their faces. Everyone was feeling festive and merry, and snowmen popped up all along the street. There were people out in force walking their dogs even though the snow was still falling at an incredible rate. 

It felt magic and it felt like Christmas had come early.

When we finally came back inside and warmed our cold bodies, we pulled out a family board game and sat around on the floor until it was time for Leo to go to bed. It was the most wonderful end to the most wonderful day.

The 10th Day of Christmas - Snow!

Today the snow is still here, I was supposed to be in work. I awoke early and got the snow off the car, I drank my coffee and just before I was due to hit the road, my phone rang and a snow day was declared. Today Leo and I have walked the dog and we are now off to find the sledge (and brave the roads). While we are out we are going to pick up some mulled wine and a rather large trifle, and then we will return for sledge fun and another board game.

Because if you can't at Christmas when the snow is thick ground, when can you?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Shopping for the man who has EVERYTHING

In recent months I have discovered a wonderful website, Uncommon Goods, you may be familiar with it? If you're not then it is something that I highly recommend having a look at (especially with the run up to Christmas coming around so quickly!). For some reason this year, I am feeling a little more organised about the impending festive season, I am yet to make a start in the Christmas shopping, but I have started making lists, and putting aside some funds to make a dent in the shopping lists. 

I have definitely been taking inspiration from the UncommonGoods gift selection, everything is just so unique. This was of course the aim when it was founded back in 1999, they wanted to bring us unique and one of a kind pieces. 

The gifts such as the jewelry, décor, tabletop items and handcrafted presents have all been created in harmony with our environment and without causing any harm to animals or our fellow human race. They are proud to be a founding B Corp. B Corporations use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems around the world, this means that they meet a rigorous standard on a wide range of issues, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community.

This work ethic just makes me more inclined to put my business with them, I love that they are helping put back into the world and make a difference. 

I have added a few gifts to my basket over the last few days, and I thought it would be nice to share those with you here, in the hope that it might give you some inspiration for Christmas. Especially if you have someone particularly tricky to purchase for.

My other half is one of those people who I always find it impossible to purchase for. If he ever wants something, he just goes right out and purchases it, so when Christmas or Birthdays roll around, it always feels like there is nothing left to gift him. It does mean that I do have to really look outside the box, and that is why I fell in love with this Deep Sea Sand Art - a rather unique gift idea if there ever was one. 

Uncommon Goods


Luke has always loved things like this, something that little bit different, and I could already see this sitting in his flat beside the big world wide map that is mounted on the wall. The beautiful thing about this piece is that it is forever changing, it always looks slightly different. You can watch as the golden sand shifts into deserts, mountains, clouds, rain, oceans and smoke, as they all flow and drift into one another. 

Uncommon Goods placed their first order with Klaus Bosch's Sand Art back in January 2008, and it's been so popular over the years it has become a firm favourite. It is handmade in Austria, which in itself is pretty amazing, because it is quite simply not something you come across everyday. 

If you are looking for something different for your other half, you can see more gifts for men here.

Christmas may be creeping up on me AGAIN, but I vow that I will not be rushing around in December. I am going to make sure that my Christmas shopping is all wrapped up by the end of November, and then the festive fun can really begin!


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Caffeine: The Health Benefits of Tea

The Health Benefits of Tea

Caffeine. The reason I can physically get out of bed in the morning. 

I can't be alone in opening my eyes and not really feeling awake (or with it for that matter) until the caffeine has got into my system, it's almost as though it has magic properties that can not only hold your eyelids open long enough to get the kids ready and out of the door (in time for school! Win!), but it also paints a smile on your face. It should almost have a warning on the packet saying 'WARNING - May cause good mood'.

Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world, only losing out to water and it's many natural, health and wellbeing benefits. A new report generated by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) has collected some rather interesting details, there have always been fears about 'drinking too much caffeine' (is there really such a thing as too much?), turns out that it's been overhyped, and actually “Drinking four cups of tea daily is associated with heart health benefits, in particular reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.” says Lynne Garton, dietitian and member of the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP).

“Tea contains polyphenols, caffeine, fluoride and L-theanine, and remains an important source of hydration,” she adds. “Tea’s heart health benefits are related to its polyphenol content. Tea polyphenols help to relax the blood vessels so leading to control of blood pressure, and they protect ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, which makes it less harmful.

Caffeine has always seemed to have a bad reputation in one way or another, but I personally think that if you are sourcing your intake from natural solutions such as tea, is it really a bad thing? There was a point for me where I used to drink a well known caffeinated fizzy drink like it was water, empty calories that really were not doing me any good at all, but now that I have bid a fond farewell to that habit, I won't punish myself for enjoying a well deserved cup of tea.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, independent dietitian and member of TAP says that “Despite being found in 60 different types of plants, caffeine often gets a bad rap, and our latest report which we are just about to publish, CAFFEINE: THE HEALTH ASPECTS OF TEA INVESTIGATED, provides a review of the latest data with findings that may be surprising."

“It shows that caffeine improves mood, increases alertness, and reduces the sense of tiredness and pain. The weight of evidence is so strong that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) thinks that certain levels of caffeine in healthy drinks and foods should be able to make a series of health claims.”

Dr Tim Bond (member of TAP) continues: “All too often caffeine is linked in people’s minds with increased urine output yet research has shown that healthy adults would need to drink 5-8 cups of tea at once to experience bladder effects, such as more frequent toilet trips. In addition, EFSA has concluded that caffeine intakes from all sources up to 400 mg per day do not give rise to safety concerns for healthy adults in the general population.

“EFSA’s advice clearly shows that caffeinated drinks can be enjoyed by a wide range of age groups. That means that children aged 4 years and over can safely drink 1-2 mugs of milky unsweetened tea daily, while pregnant and lactating women can have up to 4 mugs of tea daily. Intakes of up to 400mg of caffeine daily are safe for adults enabling a maximum of 8 servings of tea to be consumed. This suggests that worries about moderate caffeine intakes from tea, particularly in pregnant women, new mothers or children, are unfounded.”

Dr Tim Bond adds: “Unlike many other sources of caffeine, tea only contains 40-50mg of caffeine per serving if using a tea bag. At this level of caffeine, a mild improvement in cognitive function would be expected without any risk of negative effects, such as sleep latency or anxiety which have been noted at higher intakes of more than 100mg per serving near to bedtime. Tea is also naturally sugar-free and is typically served with milk, making a small, but vital contribution to mineral intakes over time.”

Lynne Garton adds: “The health benefits of tea and its ingredients are increasingly well established. So, next time you put on the kettle for a brew, consider the amazing blend of natural plant compounds that you are about to drink, and the many benefits that science has unraveled for us.”

So next time you feel that you shouldn't have that one last cup of tea for the day, just have it, because if it makes you feel better why not?

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Top 5 Unique Room Design Trends in 2017

Thinking of redesigning or refreshing the decor of your room? Have you thought of incorporating the latest design trends? Trends come in and trends go out, but if you have a unique and interesting design trend in your home you’re always going to have a place your friends think is cool and your family will love to reside in. It needn’t be quirky or too avant-garde, but retain a clean and fresh living space that will serve you through all the ins and out of the year to come. 

Every year you see a new set of interior design trends that are visually exciting and extremely covetable. It can be difficult to stay on top of the latest design trends and overhaul your room each time a new set of trends is introduced. Our recommendation is to incorporate elements of each of the trends that you love in small ways to keep up to date and give your room a much needed revival without too much expense. 

This year is no different, and we are here to introduce the top 5 unique room design trends that you can incorporate into your homes. These trends are chic, stylish, and can be easily incorporated into a room without the need for a total overhaul. 

Top 5 Unique Room Design Trends in 2017

1. Tropical Prints 
This design trend has been inspired by the fashion runway. Catwalks such as Marc Jacobs and Prada featured tropic print this year. The trend easily migrated to the interior design world across a mix of colourful fabrics and bright wallpapers. 

This trend does require you to be bold with colours and print. You can bring a bit of the tropics into your room with leafy prints such as beautiful palm trees. An easy yet dramatic way to do it is by investing in a tropical print wallpaper. 

If you just want to incorporate this trend in a more subtle way, you could find a print and frame it to hang on your wall to inject a quick tropical touch. A pillow with the print on would be an even easier way to adopt this trend. 

2. Textures 
Add a mix of different textures into your room to create a quirky inviting look and feel. Mixing the different types of textures is what makes this really interesting. This is not just confined to fabrics, but can also be incorporated across furniture items and wallpaper. For instance, drape a wool throw over a leather sofa and see how that looks.

3. Marble and Brass Combination
When these two traditional materials combine, they’re an impressive duo in the world of design. This is a very Instagrammable 2017 design trend that would work well in anyone’s kitchen or bathroom. If  you invest in a marble and brass item, you’re bound to amp up the style and glamour quotient of the room you place it in. Make sure that you have high quality fixings such as balustrade components for any fixtures required. It is a combination that has been popular for a while but will continue to be so in 2017 as it just looks so great together.

4. Geometrics
Geometrics make a comeback in interior design this year. Geometrically patterned items add a bold and modern feel to any room. Luckily this is an easy trend to incorporate using prints and patterns. Think about getting a set of geometric pattern bed linen. It could definitely add a sleek and stylish element to your room’s decor. 

In terms of colours, monochrome always looks chic in this pattern.

5. Green

Goodbye blush pink, green is having its moment in 2017.

Yes, it’s just a colour, but it’s big in the world of interior design this year. Different shades of green from lime to sapphire work beautifully in any room decor. If you’re not keen on overhauling your entire colour palette, you can just start to incorporate splashes of green into your decor with rugs or cushions. 

Darker greens in richer fabrics such as velvet are really effective at creating that sumptuous and luxurious look we all desire. 

For more inspiration for your room decor, follow your favourite interior designers on social media and turn to Pinterest. 

Balustrade Components offer a range of high-quality stainless steel balustrade fixings and components.

Visit the website to order online or by phone today.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Leo's Bedroom Make Over

High Rise Bed

Over the Summer break I spent some time making some changes at home, one of those changes was Leo's bedroom. 13 Months ago we moved into our new home, and Leo had begged, pleaded and begged some more for a high rise bed complete with a desk. The one we found and decided to go for even had a built in wardrobe and bookshelf. 

I agreed to the purchase because I loved the overall storage solution that it provided, fast forward to Summer 2017, and Leo is starting to fall out of love of the idea of having a 'ladder bed'. To be honest I was getting to the point where I dreaded making Leo's bed as it often resulted in me banging my head on the ceiling. 

If you are considering a high rise bed for your child's bedroom, I would think about other options first because the novelty does soon wear off for both parent and child. I found that it made Leo's double sized room feel very small, this was due to the sheer height of the bed.

By this point Leo was floating the idea of a double bed and a memory foam mattress, and I couldn't help thinking that it would really open up his room, and although we would lose out on the storage, he would have a lot more floor space. So I put the bed up for sale, and eventually it sold. A young couple came out and dismantled the bed themselves, paid me a very good price for it (Leo had kept it in pristine condition), so I only lost out on about £50 in the long run. 

Space Theme Bedroom

The bed was gone and Leo's room looked like a whirlwind had blown on through. There were toys that Leo no longer played with that needed to be sold, books, clothes and games that needed new homes in his room. I had my work cut out for me, but first I had to cut down on all the clutter that we no longer needed. I asked Leo to decide which toys he wanted, and the ones he no longer played with he could sell and put the money towards something that he did want. 

I took the opportunity to go through Leo's wardrobe and take out all of the clothes that no longer fitted him, some we donated to charity and the nicer ones I put aside ready to go in the loft (you never if you might need them again in the future!?). 

Space Theme Bedroom

Space Theme Bedroom

I have been looking through the children's catalogues at different storage solutions that we can apply in Leo's room, so far we have settled for some plastic boxes that we can slide under the bed when the contents is not in use.

We found a lovely double bed that came in under budget, I kept it White so that we could keep all the furniture the same colour, and I even managed to pick up a bargain memory foam mattress for him. I managed to do everything that Leo had wanted without breaking the bank and even helped him to make a few ££ in the process. 

Leo used the money that he made from selling his old toys to purchase some new games for his Nintendo Switch, which of course consolidated space and got him some lovely treats that he wouldn't have other wise had. 

The double bed may be wider than the single high rise bed that was there before, but it has made the room feel so much bigger than before, and with the way the bed is now positioned, Leo has so much more floor space to play with his toys. 

The only thing I have left to do now is get my hands on a medium sized bookshelf. I would like it to almost sit behind Leo's bedroom door, I have been looking for a second hand one, but it appears they are like gold dust. All of Leo's books are currently at the foot of his bed, and I would love to get them all organised for him, which is my current mission. 

I am really pleased with how Leo's room has taken shape, it really is surprising how much difference swapping a few pieces of furniture around does to a room. 








Thursday, 7 September 2017

A Family Wedding

Family Wedding

It's not very often that we get to get our glad rags on, so when a big family occasion calls for it we all like to make an effort. A year ago, my younger brother got married and the entire family came together to celebrate. Big family events such as this have always been a song and dance, and I have some incredible memories growing up of parties and holidays that are as funny today as they were then. 

These family events included the entire family, great grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, you name it. On one family holiday we decided that it would be such a fantastic idea to use our plastic spades to dig a deep hole on the beach front. So between us cousins that's exactly what we did. The hole was deep enough for one cousin to stand into it up to his waist, and somewhere along the way we decided what a brilliant idea it would be to fill the hole back in... With him in it. 

As we carried on throwing sand back in and patting it down firmly as we went, we noticed that the tide was starting to edge closer to where we were all positioned. Long story short? My cousin was stuck fast and his Mother had to borrow a full size shovel to dig him out before the tide came in. To this day everyone but my Aunt can see the funny side of this, and somehow that just makes the tale that little bit more hilarious whenever it comes up in conversation. 

As it happens this tale did come up at the wedding, and again it brought a smile and a giggle as we cast our minds back through time to be back on that beach front as the waves started crashing in (if only they had camera phones back then....). 

Family Wedding


The reality is that everyone has grown older over the years and decades that have followed that time on the beach front, children have become adults and have children of their own, the adults have grown older, and we are now at a time in our lives where the matriarchs of our family are reaching their later life. My Granddad is now in a care home living with Alzheimer's, and it is these memories that put a smile on his face when he isn't really sure of where he is or what he is doing. He doesn't remember the wedding day, but he does remember that day on the beach, the people who were there and the memories that have been cemented from that cheeky prank.

On the big day, the men and boys were kitted out in suits, my other half had spent a great amount of time trying to decide which suit he liked best on Suits Men, and the girls and ladies all sparkled in beautiful dresses. The memory might not be recalled by my Granddad, but we know that he was there and we have the reassurance that although his short term memories of more recent occurrences are not what they used to be, his long term memories are all there for him and for us.

If there is one thing that I have learned it's that you can never take too many photographs, and I am going to make it my mission to dig out all of our old family shots, as I think they will be sure to bring a smile to the whole family's faces.




Monday, 14 August 2017

Super Smarts for Super Fun

Poki Super Smarts for Super Fun

Are you smarter than a computer? 

We humans can perform certain tasks better than machines. In other cases, the robots win. This review is about a game that has been around for a decade. Over the past 10 years, it has improved and stayed completely relevant. The game is called Akinator: The Web Genie, and it knows what you’re thinking.

Akinator is essentially Twenty Questions. Instead of playing with a friend, you play with a virtual genie. The cartoon character looks like an Arabian legend. But, it has the brains of a modern supercomputer. Akinator is a true AI being—it can think and learn without manual intervention. If that sounds spooky, don’t worry; Akinator is harmless and fun!

The game is limited to guessing what it calls “characters.” That’s a broad group of potential answers, as it includes characters from cartoons, books, and movies. Plus, Akinator can guess non-fiction characters (i.e. real people). It knows everyone from the biggest movie stars and international politicians to less popular stand-up comedians and radio hosts. If you think the genie doesn’t know about today’s YouTube celebrities, think again; they might be in one of the first questions he asks!
The Akinator game is a truly ageless game. It was fun (and wildly successful) 10 years ago, and it will be equally fun 10 years from now. That’s because Akinator’s knowledge is partially crowdsourced. On the very rare occasion that he doesn’t guess your character, you can add that character to the database. Then, Akinator will learn about him/her/it, and others will have a harder time stumping the genie.

Poki Super Smarts for Super Fun

There are a couple of key differences between Twenty Questions and Akinator. In traditional Twenty Questions rules, only “Yes” and “No” answers are allowed. When playing with Akinator, you can also answer “Don’t know,” “Probably,” and “Probably not.” This is because you might not know the answer to all of Akinator’s questions. For example, inquiries such as “Do others think your character is cool?” and “Does your character make you happy?” are subjective. If you don’t have a sure “Yes” or “No” answer, you can choose one of the other options.

Another difference is that Akinator can ask up to 25 questions to win. The extra five rounds might be the difference between winning and losing. More often than not, the genie doesn’t need that many questions. If you’re thinking of a really popular character, or one with many unique traits, Akinator might draw a correct conclusion within 15 questions. It seems that certain celebrities are easy to distinguish, while others are too similar. Nonetheless, Akinator almost always wins.

Poki Super Smarts for Super Fun

Akinator is a uniquely satisfying game. It doesn’t have slick graphics or cutting-edge animations. In fact, its visuals have hardly changed since 2008. The core gameplay has remained the same, because it has worked so well. Trying to perplex an AI genie is always fun, no matter what kind of games you normally play. If you’re up for the challenge, Akinator is, too.

Run 3 Review

Run 3 Review

Playing with aliens in outer space sounds like a lot of fun. In Run 3, that’s exactly what gamers get to do. This 3D single-player game isn’t the newest on the market, but it’s one of the best. It has everything that I like to see in a game for kids: it’s free of violence, easy to learn, and doesn’t cost anything to play. In fact, I’ve enjoyed playing Run 3 on Poki, too!

Admiring the Galaxy

This game sends adventurous players on a journey among the stars. The main character is a brave, friendly alien who can run and hop across wondrous tunnels. Her mission is to travel back home, wherever that may be. We’re not sure how far away her native planet is, but we’re ready to go there.

As we travel farther with the alien (also known as “Runner”), we learn more about her universe. The Galaxy Map is an expansive chart. It branches off into several sections, each of which has completely different tunnels. The Galaxy Map lets us keep track of progress and revisit levels at any time. Certain drawings on the interstellar parchment unlock mini-movies to enjoy. It’s just another one of many aspects that makes Run 3 so fun!

Run 3 Review

Characters and Costumes

Runner is the first playable character, and she can help us unlock more. Skater is the next friendly alien. He moves faster than Runner, but he’s a bit harder to control. Other unlockable characters include the all-green Lizard, balloon-toting Child, and gravity-defying Student. Each creature has unique abilities. Certain skills are very helpful, while others are primarily entertaining.

Speaking of entertainment, there are a bunch of seasonal costumes and outfits for players. Halloween costumes can be purchased or unlocked by conquering the Low-Power area of the universe. Winter outfits become available after completing the Winter Games. These costumes don’t modify how our characters move, but they can certainly inspire us to keep playing!

Gliding Gameplay

When I first saw my youngest playing Run 3, I thought that the game looked a bit like Subway Surfers. After all, both games are 3D “endless runners.” But, Run 3 is a lot less hectic. It doesn’t distract with ultra-flashy graphics and speeding railcars. Run 3 is a challenging game, but it’s also relaxing. Players glide, bounce, and skate across colorful tunnels in outer space.

Gravity is one of the most interesting parts of the game. Instead of being stuck on the ground, players can run along walls and ceilings—we’re traveling in space, remember? Creative gamers will make use of 360-degree paths to victory. It’s not just a matter of running and jumping; younger and older players must explore to win.


Extra Stuff

Mentioning all of the extra goodies would be a daunting task. Plus, discovering them while playing is part of the fun! If your children want to befriend alien creatures, unlock intergalactic achievements, and venture into the stars, Run 3 is the game for them. You might as well play, too!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Choosing a new bed for your child

Choosing a new bed for your child

It's been almost a year since Leo and I moved into our new home, which means that Leo has had the new bed that he begged and pleaded for, for less than 12 months. The beautiful thing about children is that one minute they absolutely love the idea and then they change their minds, and guess what? Leo has now decided that he no longer wants a high rise bed.

What I love about Leo having a high rise bed is that it comes with so much built in storage, under Leo's he has a desk and a wardrobe that is home to clothes and some toys. I don't really know what we would do with all of the things that currently live in those places if we did decided to get him the double bed that he desires.

I can see the argument from both sides of the coin here, because as much as I love the storage aspects of the high rise bed, there are also factors that I don't like.

I don't like how difficult changing the bedding is, because to do so you need to balance on the ladders and hope you don't take a tumble. You might also bump your head because you are rather close to the ceiling. 

I don't like climbing up and down the ladders.

I don't like how much of a mission it was to sort a fan for Leo during all of this hot weather.

Choosing a new bed for your child

Choosing a new bed for your child

Yes I think it is fair to say that I have been considering Leo's plight and embellishing it with my own issues with his high rise bed, I have found some discount codes for Bensons For Beds over on Voucher Slug, and it is really tempting... but at the same time I can't help feeling a little sad that this bed is still so new, and in absolutely pristine condition.

I could try to sell it, or I could keep it and put it into storage in case one day maybe we have another child who might like to use it? I could then just purchase a new bed for Leo? I really don't know what I should do here, because I do think that in the long run it would be better to upgrade Leo's bed to a double now (did I mention that he's also anchoring after a memory foam mattress!?) because sooner or later it is going to be something that he wants/needs in the future. 

Choosing a new bed for your child

I think I am definitely leaning towards to side of selling the bed and giving his room a switch over, we might need to have yet another toy cull, but I think that it would look really good. I would like to try and find a bed that I could wrap some fairy lights around, I think that always looks really smart.

 Then he would need a bedside table where his night light and fan could sit (that would solve the fan issue). Not to mention how much easier it would be to get into bed to read him his bedtime story....

I think I already know what I should do...

I guess we are getting Leo another new bed...

Friday, 23 June 2017

Shopping online in 2017



We live in the age of the internet, and in 2017 whether we care to admit it or not, we are reliant upon it for well... everything. We bank with it, we use it for work and play, we use it for shopping and we use it for finding bargain deals that you quite simply couldn't find on the high street. We even use it to sell our own products, whether we are trying to sell a car (just like I am right now), or we might even have our own online shops. 

Of course with all of the online shopping that we do these days (or if your in the blogging game), you will no doubt be getting very familiar with your local delivery teams. There are so many different ways to send and receive a parcel now, which ultimately makes the whole online experience that much more effiencent and smoother. 

We have Standard Shipping methods that ususally come through Royal Mail services, to DX Delivery where you can keep track of your delivery or the item that you have sent out.

I have to admit that if I am selling things on eBay now, I like to make sure that I have a tracking number so I know exactly when an item has been signed for. This is because I was stung last year. H sending out a rather expensive item to an eBay reciepent, only to have to refund them the price of the item because they were claiming it had not been received. Personally I found this very hard to believe, and although I had proof of sending the item, I didn't opt for the tracking option, which ultimately stung me and left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth.

I cannot prove that this person was in reciept of the item I sent, but I do have my suspicions, and for the sake of my eBay feedback I refunded the amount and learned my lesson (all be it the hard way).

Then there is the complete flip of the coin, with a very different experience, this time I am the buyer, and I am looking at a risqué top with Newlook online. I had checked all the stores and couldn't find this top to try on, so I sent the guys at Newlook a Tweet, asking if they knew whether it was in any of the stores at all, or if it was just an online special. They got back to me very quickly, and their customer service was incredible (and I have to say the very best social media service that I have ever come across). They told me that they would provide me with a free next day delivery code to use at the checkout, so that I could pay just the price of the top, and if I didn't like it I could pop it back to my local store for a full refund. 

I was due to fly out on holiday the very next day, and the top arrived in time for me to take it away with me. Unfortunately the top (which was a chain top, see what I mean by risqué!?) snapped within a short time of the first wear, and upon my return I contacted them again. They immediately rectified the problem by issuing me a full refund, sending me another free next day delivery code and even gave me a small discount off the price of the top.

I have never received such amazing customer service before, and they have certainly set the bench mark for my online shopping experience.

I am currently in the market for a Nintendo Switch (Leo's 6th birthday is coming up on June 27th!), and unfortunately the intitial stock has run out and new orders won't be forfilled until a month after Leo's birthday. I don't think that this will be an issue though, I have already explained that there will be a slight delay on his main present, but after all it's a Nintendo Switch, and this will only extend the  excitement of turning 6 for him!

The internet is making the world a much smaller place and usually if you can't find it on the high street, the World Wide Web will most certainly have it, and with the way deliveries go now... you could even have it in your hands by the very next day. 






Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What to consider when designing a home office

designing a home office

If you work from home like I do, or use a desktop computer in any capacity, then a home office is pretty essential. I would be lost without my little office space at home these days, and although it is just in the living room area (Because this is the only place that I have the room), it is still a very practical space that allows me to get everything I need, done. 

When it comes to designing your home office space, Office Principles have some great ideas and you can't go wrong if you consider these top 5 tips:

1. Location - You are going to spend a lot of time at your desk so you don't want it to be stuffed away into a small cupboard, no. You are not Harry Potter. You do need to think about the space you have available though, there is no point investing in a huge antique desk if you have no where to put it right? For me the living room is the only realistic place as I didn't want my working area to be in my bedroom. Granted I had to compromise on a decent size dining table, but in the grand scheme of things, an office space benefits me so much more.

2. Buy the comfy desk chair - This is somewhere you are going to be spending a lot of time, so you want to be comfortable right? I am still trying to find the perfect desk chair and currently I am going against my own advice. As I write this I am perched on my vanity table stool, and it is not doing my back any favours I can tell you. Ideally I want one with a high back that I can slouch into and feel comfortable while I am writing. Ideally it would have a heat function so that I can be extra cosy in the colder months.

3. Install good lighting - Sometimes I work quite late, or sometimes the weather means that the light isn't very good. I treated myself to a desk lamp that boasts natural light, so it doesn't look as yellow as a typical bulb. This works brilliantly for me because I am often recording vlogs in my office space for my YouTube channel. Even if you aren't into vlogging, having good lighting will help you get the job done.

4. Keep your Tech up to date - When I decided to sort my office space out, the first thing I did was upgrade my computer. For many years I was a laptop kind of girl, but this was more because I didn't have the space for a desk top. I now have a rather fancy desk top sitting pride of place on my desk, and as I was going for a white theme, all of my desk top essentials are in white (including the printer and the desk light!).

5. Storage - This sis something that I still need to address, I wish I could say that I was really organised when it comes to my work space, but the honest truth is that I am not. I want to invest in some shelving so that I can file my important paper work away (and be able to relocate it when needed), and ultimately keep my work place tidy. 

As you will gather from this post, there are still aspects that I need to address in my own personal office space, and the next thing on my list is the seating, then I will be in a much better position to address the storage space.

How have you got your home office?

















Thursday, 15 June 2017

6 Tips For Picking A White Dress


When we think of formal white dresses, the first image that usually comes to mind is a wedding dress. If it’s a white, long dress, we usually picture bridal gowns. So, how do you wear a formal white dress without looking bridal? How do you defy fashion’s expectations and just go for it? Here are our top tips to embracing beautiful white gowns without looking like you are about to walk down the aisle.

1.    Stay Away from Bridal Makeup

If you have your heart set on elegant white homecoming dresses, you need to be careful with our makeup. We don’t mean avoiding getting it all over your dress (that’s pretty obvious), but rather, when you choose your makeup, you should avoid that clean and classic bridal look. Big lashes, glowing skin, and pale pink lips are the stereotypical bridal standard, so go in a totally different direction. White is the number one neutral colour, so you can really spend time making your makeup look work!

2.    Complement with Textures and Colours Instead of Sparkle

Chances are, you have seen Say Yes to the Dress at least a dozen times, so you know how many brides set out to be a sparkling princess on their wedding day. Instead of going with that flow, pick a texture and colour that will accentuate your look instead of making you sparkle. In fact, aim for a natural colour palette and even complement your white dress with a tan belt and tan heels.

3.    Make Your Dress Trendy

The trendier your look, the less you will look like a quintessential bride. Pick a formal white dress that has a trendy pattern, texture, or shape, to keep it from looking dull and to help you look modern. If you choose a classic white frock, pick trendy accessories so that you look more red-carpet ready and less like it’s time to head to the chapel.

4.    Concentrate on the Dress’s Structure and Shape

The ultimate thing that separates a formal white dress from a wedding dress is the shape. Try to avoid those classic wedding dress giveaways such as sweetheart necklines, voluminous skirts, and a sparkly, ruching, or belted waist. You’ll want to avoid a train, too. Instead, aim for non-traditional traits such as a two-set piece, cut outs, or a thigh split.

5.    It’s Okay to be an Anti-Bride

Another way to avoid looking like the cliched bride is to be the anti-bride. It sounds a bit ominous, but what we mean is when you create your look with your white dress, pair it with non-traditional bridal pieces such as messy hair, studs, a leather accessory, or strong cat eyes.

6.    Choose Strong Details

What about a long-sleeve, ruffled number? While long sleeves may be “in” for wedding dresses thanks to Pippa and Kate Middleton, a sharp-angled corset layer complete with a bodice can turn a snow-white gown into something very un-wedding like indeed.

Use these six tips to help you choose the perfect white dress for your formal event and avoid looking like a classic bride!