Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Blogger's Best Linky!

Welcome back to the Blogger's Bests linky. We can't wait to read your posts and see what you've been sharing this week. 

So Sarah from RunJumpScrap and I would like to introduce you to the Blogger's Best linky. A place for any post, whatever the post, the best post of your week or simply a post you are proud of and want to shout about it. This is the place to share it and we can't wait to read them. The linky will open at 05:30 on a Wednesday and remain open until Friday 23:55.

There aren't many rules because lets face it, rules are boring right? However, linkys only work if you share the love and support your fellow bloggers so what we do ask is.....
  • You comment on the host posts and at least a couple of others, of course if you want to comment on more  then please do!
We would also love if you could .....

  • Tweet us over on Twitter (I'm @helsy_1983) and Sarah is (@runjumpscrap) so we know you're joining in ( and please do use #bloggersbest) and we can give you a retweet

  • Join us over on Instagram with the hashtag #bloggersbest and tag us in, we both love a bit of Insta! You can find me here @helsy_1983) and Sarah is @runjumpscrap

  • Add the badge at the bottom of your post so we know which post you've added to the linky
But these are pretty much all the rules. Sarah and I will continue to have featured posts each week and will of course be retweeting your links when you link up. We're really looking forward to hosting a fresh and vibrant new linky and hope you'll enjoy linking up too! Spread the word, Blogger's Best is the place to be!


Run Jump Scrap






    

Monday, 23 July 2018

To the end of Year 1!

It's nearly the end of the Summer term, the end of year 1 how is this even so? I'm feeling pretty emotional tonight, I've done my last school runs as a Mum of a child in Year 1 and it makes me sad, my boy is growing up each day before my eyes. The months have flown by, it barely feels 5 minutes since Christmas but yet here we are less than 2 days away from the end of term AND the end of year 1. As I wrote a letter to my little man last year I thought I would do the same this year. 


Alfie, 


My darling boy. As you finish Year 1 you certainly end on a high. It's been a mixed year, you started off strong and then you dipped a bit and then you picked yourself back up again. You are a hard worker, perhaps more than we give you credit for and I do think we push you hard but it has certainly paid off. Throughout the year we've seen you ace phonics, become a bookworm, improve your writing and become a bit of a mathematician. Your end of year report was amazing, achieving highly in everything and your teacher and head teacher had such lovely words to say about you which has made us so proud. We do however still need to work on your listening skills which was echoed by your teacher!


You are a sponge for information, everyone who meets you tells me they are amazed at your knowledge on dinosaurs, reptiles and trains and it makes quite the talking point. We've seen you emerge from the chrysalis from a shy boy to a confident and chatty 6 year old. I absolutely love the little circle of friends that you have and adore seeing you socialising with them, there are several you speak about with such passion and this reassures me that all is ok when you're at school. 


You're quite the comedian at times, some of your jokes have me howling.....not because they're funny but because they are terrible but you find yourself hilarious which then makes us laugh, we don't have the heart to tell you that the jokes are bad as you think they're funny so we go with that. It's all part of your crazy personality that makes you the person you are.


We continue to love your school, it's amazing and has truly brought you out of your shell. The year has been packed full of excitement and fun amongst the learning. We had all the Christmas fun, a trip to the Peterborough museum, the raptor foundation, swimming lessons, snowball fights, water fights, sports day, may day and so many more memorable times. You're certainly creating memories that will stay with you for a very long time.


I'm so excited to see where the next school year will take you and how you'll develop. I don't want to push you too hard but I do want to help you flourish, we definitely need to work on those listening skills and your concentration however!


You've also had a big growth spurt in the last few months, don't get me wrong you're still not the tallest lad but then your Dad and I aren't really blessed in the height department..... I've seen those little legs get a bit longer, your shorts and trousers slowly becoming shorter and your feet getting bigger and you look alot more like a gangly 6 year old now! We've managed to stretch out your uniform however which I'm pleased about, all fresh uniform for starting year 2 though.....


So you've got 6 whole weeks off from school and boy you deserve it. Use this time wisely, enjoy it because before you know it you'll be all grown up and in the world of work! I think back to my school days and I remember wishing for the summer hols to come around and now I'd give anything to be living my best life at school and enjoying the holidays, in between all that hard work. 



Here's to year 2, let us see what the next school year brings! I can't believe you are going to be in year 2 AND I can't believe that this time next year I'll be preparing for Elarna to start school. Arghhh!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

My Sunday Photo - 22/07/18


Our sunflower is still growing and is yet to flower, you may have seen me share this on Instagram earlier this week but currently it's standing tall at 244cm! So tall!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Blogger's Best Linky!

Welcome back to the Blogger's Bests linky. We can't wait to read your posts and see what you've been sharing this week. 

So Sarah from RunJumpScrap and I would like to introduce you to the Blogger's Best linky. A place for any post, whatever the post, the best post of your week or simply a post you are proud of and want to shout about it. This is the place to share it and we can't wait to read them. The linky will open at 05:30 on a Wednesday and remain open until Friday 23:55.

There aren't many rules because lets face it, rules are boring right? However, linkys only work if you share the love and support your fellow bloggers so what we do ask is.....
  • You comment on the host posts and at least a couple of others, of course if you want to comment on more  then please do!
We would also love if you could .....

  • Tweet us over on Twitter (I'm @helsy_1983) and Sarah is (@runjumpscrap) so we know you're joining in ( and please do use #bloggersbest) and we can give you a retweet

  • Join us over on Instagram with the hashtag #bloggersbest and tag us in, we both love a bit of Insta! You can find me here @helsy_1983) and Sarah is @runjumpscrap

  • Add the badge at the bottom of your post so we know which post you've added to the linky
But these are pretty much all the rules. Sarah and I will continue to have featured posts each week and will of course be retweeting your links when you link up. We're really looking forward to hosting a fresh and vibrant new linky and hope you'll enjoy linking up too! Spread the word, Blogger's Best is the place to be!


Run Jump Scrap






    

Monday, 16 July 2018

Anniversary Gift Ideas!

In around 4 weeks time it will be my 8th wedding anniversary, I can't flipping believe it! 8 years of marriage have flown by and what a crazy and wonderful few years it's been. Each year that goes by I try and get my husband something special, after all making it another year or marriage deserves celebrating surely? So I've compiled a gift selection list with a few ideas of what you could get the man in your life to celebrate a special day, be it birthday, anniversary or just to simply say thanks. 

First up, how about a track days experience..... with driving experience's from Audi, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and more this is such a fab gift for a petrol head or someone with a need for speed. Varying in price and with a wide variety of locations there will be something for everyone. I know my husband would absolutely love the Aston Martin experience and considering he hired one for the weekend of our wedding it would be very apt. 

Driving Experience Days


If you don't fancy an exhilirating experience how about a brewery tour? The Adnams tour in Southwold is great an the perfect gift for a lover of beer or gin, the brewery and distillery priovide a fascintating insight into the processes involved in making these things and then are followed by a tasting, what's not to like!

The 8th wedding anniversary is the bronze one (according to Google!) so it would be appropriate to get something related to this. Not on the High Street has a brilliant selection of quirky and unusual gifts that would be perfect for an anniversary. Such a great selection, I'm loving the martini glasses and the mugs, they would be well used in our house!

Finally, my husband has a bit of a sweet tooth so something like personalised sweets from Prezzybox would be such a cute idea, although I'd probably end up eating them aswell but then sharing is caring, right!


So these are just a small selection of ideas but you may decide on something else like a weekend away or a day at the spa, whatever you do make it a reason to celebrate and enjoy. 

* Collaborative content 


Sunday, 15 July 2018

My Sunday Photo - 15/07/18


Having an absolute whale of a time in this hot weather, cooling down a treat in the new pool!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Maternal Instincts with My First Baby Annabell *review*

My daughter, Elarna is an incredibly caring girl, from a very young age she would stroke, cuddle and care for our cats and even today makes sure they are fed, looked after and regularly cuddled. Plus she utterly adores babies, especially newborns! It's adorable. I had a feeling when we started to introduce dollies and babies she would make a wonderful 'mother'. I haven't been wrong, she has several babies in her collection and she mothers them all. Her particular favourites are the Baby Annabell range and we were recently sent a 'My First Baby Annabell' for us to review and to continue to encourage Elarna to continue to nurture, love and care for them.


This gorgeous little baby is the perfect size for cuddling, is super soft and light weight. She comes dressed in a little pink sleepsuit, hat and comes with a little bottle, we were also sent another  outfit to change her into which has been well used already! She has the loveliest face and she is well loved in our house, I will often find Elarna putting her into her baby cot and covering her in kisses and telling us to shhhh when baby is asleep!



As mentioned above we were sent a lovely little dress, hat and bib to change Baby Annabell in to, Elarna loved being able to dress her, it really added to her role play  and mothering the baby, she took it all very seriously. We had her changed for bed in her sleep suit and then took her to bed with her and then changed her into her day clothes when she got dressed for the day. So cute!


At three years old I am aware that it is a crucial time for learning and developing, I love encouraging her nurturing side and I often hear from nursery that this is something she is great at, as well as building friendships. I have genuinely found that I haven't had to 'teach' her much in terms of caring, she really is such a loving girl, sometimes I have to gently remind her to not smother 'real' babies with too many kisses and to make sure she gently handles them but otherwise she is so lovely mothering them.


Quite often we find her having tea parties with all her babies, one in a high chair, one in a cot and one ready to be pushed around in the pushchair we get roped into playing aswell too! I don't mind at all, I love it.


This particular Baby Annabell retails for around £15.00 and although a basic doll it is absolutely great for a three year old or older. I would like to add that although this is all about Elarna playing, my eldest Alfie who is 6 occasionally shows interest and pushes babies around in the buggy, I am all for encouraging development of the modern man so love seeing him showing his caring side. It's not very often however as he'd much rather play with Lego or trains!


Baby Annabell (Zapf Creation) is a great brand and what I like is that there is a variety of items available that you can purchase to enhance the role play element and play. There are also other dolls that can be bought that are more interactive and these are also fab (we also have a Baby Annabell that wets her nappy, sucks a dummy and makes baby noises). I can honestly say that these are some of our most played with toys.


What did we love?


  • The price, such a good retail price for a toy that is played with over and over and will last the test of time
  • Just how cuddly she is, she's so soft and easy to hold
  • A perfect size for a child to hold, although not necessarily true to real life in a small childs eyes they are the perfect size
  • Ideal for encouraging role play and building relationships, also for introducing the concept of responsibility 



Anything we weren't so keen on?


  • I think it's a shame that the doll only comes with the outfit worn, it would be great to include another outfit instead of having to buy separately
  • Other than the above we loved everything about My First Baby Annabell.




If you are looking for a baby to purchase for your child I can highly recommend this one, it's an ideal starter and I think any child would love being a parent to My First Baby Annabell. Available from leading retailers and online there shouldn't be an issue trying to purchase one. Have you got a Baby Annabell? What are your thoughts?

* Please note we were kindly sent this free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Blogger's Best Linky!

Welcome back to the Blogger's Bests linky. We can't wait to read your posts and see what you've been sharing this week. 

So Sarah from RunJumpScrap and I would like to introduce you to the Blogger's Best linky. A place for any post, whatever the post, the best post of your week or simply a post you are proud of and want to shout about it. This is the place to share it and we can't wait to read them. The linky will open at 05:30 on a Wednesday and remain open until Friday 23:55.

There aren't many rules because lets face it, rules are boring right? However, linkys only work if you share the love and support your fellow bloggers so what we do ask is.....
  • You comment on the host posts and at least a couple of others, of course if you want to comment on more  then please do!
We would also love if you could .....

  • Tweet us over on Twitter (I'm @helsy_1983) and Sarah is (@runjumpscrap) so we know you're joining in ( and please do use #bloggersbest) and we can give you a retweet

  • Join us over on Instagram with the hashtag #bloggersbest and tag us in, we both love a bit of Insta! You can find me here @helsy_1983) and Sarah is @runjumpscrap

  • Add the badge at the bottom of your post so we know which post you've added to the linky
But these are pretty much all the rules. Sarah and I will continue to have featured posts each week and will of course be retweeting your links when you link up. We're really looking forward to hosting a fresh and vibrant new linky and hope you'll enjoy linking up too! Spread the word, Blogger's Best is the place to be!


Run Jump Scrap





    

Monday, 9 July 2018

Twisty Petz *review*

Sometimes a toy comes around that I/we absolutely love. Even 3 years down the line with having a daughter I get excited when I receive something that is cute, sparkly, fun and unique. Don't get me wrong I LOVE playing Lego with Alfie, don't mind his dinosaurs and animals nor do I mind trains (at times) but it is nice to inject a bit girlyness into the mix, sometimes even Lego can become a bit dull!

We were recently sent a selection of Twisty Pets (available from a variety leading retailers) and as soon I saw these I knew myself and my jewellery loving daughter were going to love these. Elarna is constantly trying to pinch my bracelets (expensive ones at that!) and I often find her draped in my necklace's so these couldn't have arrived at a better time, what better way to distract my magpie of a daughter than with her very own glitsy, jewelled petz!


What are Twisty Petz?

Well they are beautiful, bejewelled petz that transform into the cutest little bracelets, necklace's or even bag charms, the possibilities are endless. Simply twist to make into petz and then untwist to make it glitzy jewellery.



There are loads to collect and we received a great selection, amongst ours we had a kitty, bunny, pony and several more. What I love about Twisty Petz is how easy they are to use. It really is simply a case of untwisting the pet and snapping the ends into each other to turn into jewellery. Once snapped into place they are secure but pretty easy to unsnap. To turn back into pets you simply twist again to turn then back. Brilliant! I spent quite alot of time playing around with these on my own, ha!


You can purchase Twisty Petz individually or as a three set or as a baby four pack which includes a jewelled storage case and some super cute little charms. This was our favourite out of the bunch I would say, Elarna loves the little jewelled case which she can store a couple of the bracelets in it and the added charms are adorable.


Priced between £5.00 - £13.00 these really don't break the bank and would make fabulous birthday gifts or reward presents. Elarna really was absolutely delighted with them and loves wearing them and twisting them into little creatures when she pleases and can turn then back with a little help. 


So what did we like?


  • They are cute, sparkly and appealing, we love the unique nature of Twisty Petz
  • Easy to turn into bracelets and then back into petz!
  • Affordable, great price for a multi functioning toy
  • Lots of different varieties so you can add more to the Twisty Petz gang
  • Aimed at 4 years plus, although Elarna is only 3 she played with these brilliantly and I think she will continue to do so for a while longer


Anything we were not so keen on?
  • Overall we loved everything about Twisty Petz, I guess the only thing I would say is they are made of small beads so could pose a choking risk should they snap, however ours have been tugged and pulled a fair bit and they do seem fairly robust. I would keep them out of reach of very little ones though.

Elarna had so much fun posing with them I have decided to include several of the pictures as I couldn't choose! So please check them out.





Below are the little mini petz, you can choose to join these together to make a large necklace or a bracelet, they possibilities are endless really! We just love them!




As mentioned previously in the post, Twisty Petz are available from leading retailers and range in price. Please do go and check them out, they would make fab gifts!

* Please note we were kindly sent a selection of Twisty Petz in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

My Sunday Photo - 08/07/18


Enjoying the blooms in her favourite dress at the moment, gorgeous girl!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Make your Workplace more Productive!

Tips for Making Your Workplace More Conducive for Productivity

There are many things that affect a person’s productivity in the workplace, including their skill level and the resources they have access to. Another big contributor to productivity is the conduciveness of the space, both in the actual physical environment and the company’s culture. If employees are uncomfortable or unmotivated, then they won’t be as effective in performing their tasks.

Luckily, there are a lot of simple ways to boost productivity in the office. Here are a few that you can implement right away.


Create a Culture of Gratitude
Motivation is an important component of productivity, and one way of motivating your people is to make them feel appreciated. This not only contributes to their better performance, but also to their sense of loyalty to the company and their overall happiness with their work.

Encourage your team to practice a culture of gratitude. One of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to do this? Thank your team personally and sincerely. Of course, tokens of gratitude like small gifts or even a treat to lunch also don’t hurt.

Bring the Outside In
Studies have shown that workplaces with plants have higher productivity rates than those that don’t. Employees who work in spaces with plants and other mementos like photographs have also been found to have better focus, cognitive functioning, and psychological engagement. Another benefit of live plants in the office is that they can help improve indoor air quality.

Indoor water fixtures like fountains can also contribute to office productivity. Like plants, fountains can also help promote cleaner, healthier, indoor air; the sounds they produce can also create a more relaxing ambiance. If your office is located in a rather busy environment, the sound of flowing water can help drown out background noises, allowing people to concentrate better on their tasks.

Get Rid of Harsh Lighting
Sunlight is the best option when it comes to lighting in the office because of its scientifically proven health benefits and positive effects to alertness and motivation, and therefore productivity. However, not every office space have ideal locations and structural features to let in the most amount of natural light -- so how do you get around this obstacle? One way is to use bulbs with yellow or orange tones, instead of harsh, white fluorescents. Instead of traditional downward lighting, you can also try installing recessed light fixtures to provide more of a glow rather than a glare.

Give Some Sense of Privacy
A few years ago, an open-plan workspace is all the rage, with multi-billion dollar companies like Facebook and Google designing their offices this way. And while this layout does have some benefits, such as encouraging and facilitating better communication, recent studies have shown that it is not that conducive for productivity. This is because of, among other things, noise levels and the lack of privacy.

Provide a balance between collaborative and solo work. Allocate a couple of rooms where people can accomplish their work alone; this is especially valuable for knowledge workers like accountants and lawyers. You can also impose a “quiet hour” in the office and other simple rules that will allow people work in relative privacy even with an open layout.

Encourage Breaks
Vacations are important, obviously, as a way to de-stress and simply forget about work for a while. However, taking breaks within the work day is also crucial in ensuring daily productivity. In fact, research says that those who take short breaks -- 10 to 15 minutes after every 45 to 50 minutes of work -- are ultimately more productive than their counterparts who work for longer stretches.



Do whatever you need to do to “reset” during these breaks -- listen to music, take a walk outside, or simply check your social media newsfeed. The important thing is that you come back from your break mentally refreshed. A power nap of about 15 to 20 minutes may also be a good option especially in the afternoons.


With these minimal changes and investments on your part, you can transform your office into a place where people are happy, focused, and motivated, ready to achieve business goals.
*Collaborative content

Blogger's Best Linky!

Welcome back to the Blogger's Bests linky. We can't wait to read your posts and see what you've been sharing this week. 

So Sarah from RunJumpScrap and I would like to introduce you to the Blogger's Best linky. A place for any post, whatever the post, the best post of your week or simply a post you are proud of and want to shout about it. This is the place to share it and we can't wait to read them. The linky will open at 05:30 on a Wednesday and remain open until Friday 23:55.

There aren't many rules because lets face it, rules are boring right? However, linkys only work if you share the love and support your fellow bloggers so what we do ask is.....
  • You comment on the host posts and at least a couple of others, of course if you want to comment on more  then please do!
We would also love if you could .....

  • Tweet us over on Twitter (I'm @helsy_1983) and Sarah is (@runjumpscrap) so we know you're joining in ( and please do use #bloggersbest) and we can give you a retweet

  • Join us over on Instagram with the hashtag #bloggersbest and tag us in, we both love a bit of Insta! You can find me here @helsy_1983) and Sarah is @runjumpscrap

  • Add the badge at the bottom of your post so we know which post you've added to the linky
But these are pretty much all the rules. Sarah and I will continue to have featured posts each week and will of course be retweeting your links when you link up. We're really looking forward to hosting a fresh and vibrant new linky and hope you'll enjoy linking up too! Spread the word, Blogger's Best is the place to be!


Run Jump Scrap




    

Monday, 2 July 2018

Imaginative Play with Casdon

Elarna is very much into role playing at the moment, it's one of her favourite things to do. She will quite happily play with her toy kitchen and ice cream cart for ages and takes great delight in roping us in to play with her and be the customers serving us an array of food and drinks mmmm mmmm. We have had some questionable breakfasts made but all in the name of fun, right! We recently reviewed the Casdon Hetty Cleaning Trolley and have been lucky to be sent another few Casdon bits and pieces to enhance Elarna and Alfie's imaginations.


We were sent a Little Shopper trolley, a selection of plastic, pretend food (44 pieces included) and a Hetty mop and bucket. We loved this little bundle, Elarna could not wait to test out the trolley and of course the food had to be tipped out all over the floor (immediately) to be played with! 


There is very little required to set the items up to be played with. The mop and bucket you simply pop the squeegee bit onto the bucket and add the stickers, the play food cardboard items do need making up which can be a little time consuming and the trolley requires a couple of tools to be able to make it. I convinced my husband to make the trolley up, he is way quicker than I would be and had it up and ready within 15 minutes. The only issue we had with the trolley was one of the wheels kept popping off so we ended up gluing it to make it secure, this hasn't affected the trolley itself.


As you can see Elarna was absolutely delighted! Casdon really is the one stop shop for all your imaginative, role play items there is so much to choose from on the website. The items are also very reasonably priced, the mop and bucket is around £7.00, the pretend food is about £12.00 and the super little trolley is £14.99 and they are all available from leading retailers.  


We loved the selection of pretend food, there was tons of it and it couldn't have come at a better time as some of our old pretend play food had definitely seen better days. Also Elarna is very much into helping Daddy cook and it's helping her identify what ingredients he is using and she is pretend cooking along, so cute!



I think role playing is absolutely vital to child development and social development. I notice more when Elarna plays in this way that she is very interactive, at nursery she also enjoys role playing and I think this is so important for her in developing friendships. I also adore seeing her imagination run wild. Alfie never really used to be into pretend play as much as she is, he is much more inventive now but Elarna will quite happily pretend to be a shop keeper, cleaner or doctor/nurse.


If you have a child that enjoys pretend play please do check out the Casdon items, the imagination is endless.

* Please note we were kindly sent the items free of charge in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.