Wednesday, 20 November 2019

What's Knocking your Confidence?

{Collaborative} Ah, confidence. It’s oh so important for our happiness and overall well-being, yet also so elusive. We can feel on top of the world some days, and then, during others, feel like we’re on the lowest rung of the ladder. While it’s important to do things that’ll push your confidence in the right direction, it’s always worth keeping an eye on the things in your life that might have a negative impact. Below, we take a look at four things that have been known to decrease a person’s confidence level.



Your Job

We all need to work to make a living; that’s just the way the world is, we're afraid. While you’ll always be grateful for the paycheck, there are aspects of our jobs that can have a negative impact on our confidence. If you don’t like your job or you’re not proud to tell people what you do, then you’ll be hitting your confidence virtually every day. The secret about work is that it should be enjoyable and fulfilling. Rightly or wrongly, we tie so much of our identity to what we do for a living. If you’re not finding any positive meaning in your work, then look at changing your job, or setting up a side-project that will allow you to express yourself fully.

Receiving Criticism

Some people seem to be born with natural confidence; it just seems to be in their inner being. But for most people, their confidence is conditional, and it can be easily knocked. Nobody likes to receive criticism or to be mocked, but some people hear things constructively, others last out, and others take things to heart. It’s worthwhile building up that fortress of confidence so that you withstand the harsh words of other people. Remember, it’s just their opinion, it doesn’t mean anything -- and it nearly always says more about them than it does about you.

Appearance Matters

Everyone can relate to the confidence that they feel when they step out of their home, knowing that they look fantastic. But similarly, we can all relate to the dip in confidence when we just don’t look our best. If that feeling goes on too long, then we’ll need to do something to get our confidence up. Fortunately, there are always things that we can do! If you don’t like your hair, visit a hairdresser, and get it professionally styled. If you don’t like your smile, then work with a dentist to get one that you do. There are shops for clothes, gyms for the physique. You can always do things!

Comparing Yourself to Others

Perhaps the biggest cause of low-confidence is comparing ourselves to others. We take other people’s highlights, and compare them to our lowlights. But here’s the thing: virtually everyone does this! So that should tell you that it’s probably just your mind playing tricks on you. Just focus on yourself, not other people, and you’ll see that your confidence and happiness both shoot up. Comparison really is the thief of joy.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Coffee Recipe's you'll Never Find in Starbucks!

{Collaboration} Coffee is one of the world’s favourite flavours, and yet most of the time we drink it in the same old-fashioned way. There’s not a tremendous amount of experimentation going on, especially by leading coffee chains.

Fortunately, there are lots of people out there working away feverishly on coffee recipes, trying to come up with new ideas to excite the taste buds.

Here are some coffee recipes you’ll never find in your favourite coffee shop.

Hazelnut Latte Cake




Lattes are moreish, decadent coffee drinks made of milk and a shot of espresso or two.
Hazelnut latte cakes are cakes that take the spirit of a latte and make them so much better.

A typical hazelnut latte cake is the ultimate coffee cake. Not only does it pair nicely with coffee, but it contains a fair amount of the stuff too.

The cake is made of layers of alternating chocolate and hazelnut sponge topped off with a beautiful hazelnut frosting. Some pros like to add chopped, roasted hazelnuts to the top for a little extra flavour. There is a recipe for this cake online at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/.

Turkish Sour Coffee



If you’ve never tried Turkish sour coffee, you need to give it a go, especially in the run-up to the festive season.

Turkish sour coffees are simple to make and include coffee, cloves, cinnamon, rum, cardamom, egg whites, lemon juice and lemon peel.

As you might guess from that ingredient list, these drinks tend to be a little on the sour side, but that shouldn’t put you off. It’s refreshing and provides a welcome change from the usual sickly sweet drinks you tend to encounter around Christmas time.

Mocha Milkshake

Do you sometimes wish you could have a good old-fashioned milkshake with a coffee twist? Well, with a mocha milkshake, you can.

First, source some coffee granules. Sites like https://twochimpscoffee.com/single-origin-coffee-beans/ provide more details on how to find beans that taste great.

Next, grab your favourite milk or plant-based alternative and some ice cream. Finally, get your favourite chocolate and then mix it all up in a high-powered blender. The result is a creamy, chocolate-infused, coffee-based milkshake that tastes divine.

Chocolate Coffee Bomb Cake

The cakes that you can get in most coffee shops tend to lack theatre. There’s a good reason for this: keeping things fresh on a shelf all day is challenging to do. Coffee shops play it safe. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever find a chocolate-coffee bomb in the store.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t make one though.

Chocolate coffee bomb cake is unique and delicious. The outside is made of regular chocolate-coffee sponge, but the inside is a warm, thick goo of chocolatey goodness.

Making these cakes requires an expert touch as well as the right ingredients, but if you pull it off, you can bring your love of coffee to your desserts. There’s no need to fall back on tiramisu.

So there you have it: coffee recipes that you won’t find in Starbucks any time soon.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Luvabella Newborn *Review*

{Ad/Gifted}  My daughter just adores playing with dollies, babies and anything that she can take care of, cuddle, pretend play! Elarna was absolutely delighted to receive a Luvabella Newborn interactive toy (RRP £39.99), you may remember last year that Luvabella was one of THE top toys to have for Christmas and I think this newborn version may be at the top of some wish lists this year also!


So what does Luvabella newborn promise to be? The sweetest, most interactive baby doll you will ever see, she has natural facial expressions, realistic baby noises and movements you will fall in love her. Feed her, comfort her, soothe and cuddle her. Newborn Luvabella will communicate her needs with you so hers  can be seen to. She coo's, gurgles, giggles and so very realistic. I tell you what she reminds me of....the sim manakins that we used to train with when I was doing my nurse training! 


On first impressions Elarna was delighted, Luvabella was swiftly introduced to Elarna's room, she found her a toy cot, a pram and took great care of making sure Luvabella was comfortable in her room, so cute! I find her a bit creepy, she is really quite realistic and the way she moves is crazy is it so life like! 


What did we love about Newborn Luvabella?

- She is so realistic, the technology used to make her mouth move and the facial expressions is pretty cool. 

- Ideal for role play, introducing responsibility, encouraging a caring and mature behaviour with children.

- A good price for the level of what the doll does, the accessories included also enhance the playability too

- It is a toy that will be played with over and over, my daughter just loves her and is at an ideal of of 4 1/2 to really make the most of the toy.

- There is a volume button on the back and an off switch which is also an added bonus!


Anything we weren't so keen on?

- There was very little we weren't keen on to be honest, I always wish that they came with a change of clothes so that they can outfits changed but it isn't a massive issue. I guess the only thing I would say from an adult point of view is that if you're creeped out by dolls in any way shape or form this perhaps isn't the toy to bring in to the house!



I think the Luvabella Newborn is going to be top on the Christmas wish list of many children this year, it is definitely going to be a toy of choice for some children, especially if they are like my Elarna! She just loves her. I will leave you with a few more images of her playing with her and even sleeping with her! Adorable.












* Please note we were kindly sent Luvabella in exchange for review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Clever Tricks that Turn your Garden into a Creature Magnet.

{Partenered} With agriculture destroying so much of the countryside, it’s often up to city dwellers to do their bit to provide a habitat for wildlife. Gardens are, in many ways, a bastion of tranquillity for creatures, away from all the herbicides, pesticides, and traps. How you manage yours can make a big difference to the level of wildlife in your local area.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at what you can do to attract wildlife to your garden and make it an oasis.

Put Some Holes In The Garden Fence


The primary purpose of your garden fence is to mark out your property so that there is no confusion among the neighbours. However, you don’t need to put it on lockdown, plugging every single hole. Leaving the odd hole here and there is extremely helpful for creatures, especially hedgehogs. During the night, they’re free to move around looking for food and don’t have to confine themselves to one particular area.

Make Your Own Compost

There’s no reason to throw out your old vegetable clippings or leaves. By throwing them on the compost heap, you give them a chance to break down into soil that you can then use to supercharge the growth of plant species in your garden.

Compost is also a valuable habitat all by itself. Worms, slugs, beetles and even snakes all love it. Just be careful you only throw out raw vegetable clippings. Anything else will attract rats.

Add A Pond

Water is essential for all life on Earth, so it should come as no surprise that adding a pond to your garden can help make it infinitely more hospitable.




Ponds don’t have to be large or expensive - they just need to be accessible. Make sure that yours has a shallow gradient so that newts, frogs and voles can hop in and out. If possible, connect the pond to a stream so that the water circulates regularly and remains fresh.

Start A Meadow

A wildflower meadow can be a beautiful addition to your garden, as well as a haven for animals.

The great thing about meadows is that they’re incredibly easy to create. You just let your grass grow. Before long, seeds will arrive, populate the grass and send up new shoots. If you follow the right management practices, you’ll have dozens of different species of flower popping up, providing ideal conditions for insects, butterflies and some birds.

Buy A Squirrel-Proof Bird Box

Birds have a high metabolic rate. They need it. Their small size means that they lose heat rapidly in the winter.

Bird boxes and feeders are a great solution. They contain fat-rich seed mixes that provide the fuel that the birds need to stay warm. Without them, they might struggle to make it through the winter.

Unfortunately, squirrels are fond of these foods too, so make sure you buy bird feeders which offer specific anti-squirrel tampering. They can perfectly well live on all the acorns they bury in the ground.

Take A More Relaxed Approach To Weeds

Dandelions, buttercups, and nettles weren’t always seen as weeds. In fact, some of these species were once prized as a source of food. (Dandelion and burdock, anyone? )

What’s more, so-called weeds are also crucial for attracting wildlife. They provide a source of both food and shelter - something that is in short supply on a regular lawn.

Weeds also have a habit of flowering, whatever the weather. Thus they provide a reliable year-round source of food if times get leaner.

Create An Insect Habitat

Insects might not be the most exciting creatures to visit your garden, but they’re among the most impactful. Insects provide your garden with a host of critical behind-the-scenes services that help to make it a more livable place for other wildlife.

Making an insect shelter is easy. Often just a pile of twigs and leaves will do the trick. Just be warned: spiders might decide to move in!

Add Climbing Plants To Your Walls



Climbing plants are essential in the garden for numerous reasons. Not only do they make all your walls look attractive, but they can also provide a source of pollen to other plants.

Ivy, for instance, is a particularly important climber and found practically everywhere in the world. It’s pollen and flowers complement other species in your garden while, at the same time, providing necessary shelter from the weather.

Would you like your garden to be more friendly to nature? If so, then try out some of the ideas we’ve discussed here.

Why Mums Need to Prioritise their Sleep!

Picture courtesy of Pixabay License

{Ad} Hey mums, when did you last get a good night's sleep?

If you can't remember the last time, then you need to turn things around. Cut out your screen time before you go to bed. Meditate or journal before bedtime to rest your mind. And try those natural remedies that will soothe you into a sleep state, such as a cup of Chamomile tea, a glass of warm milk, or a quick infusion of CBD oil. You see, as a mum, there are some very good reasons why you should attempt to get a better night's sleep, as you can read below.


#1: You will be a less grumpy mum

The fewer hours of sleep you receive, the more tired you will be when you wake. And the more tired you are? The more susceptible to grumpiness and impatience you will be. Your kids will feel the brunt of this, especially when you are faced with getting them ready for the morning school run. And you will feel the brunt of this when you later feel guilty for acting in ways that caused your children upset for little or no reason. So, give your children a break, and be that calm and tolerant mum you always wanted to be by getting more hours of sleep a night.

#2: You will get more done in the day

A good night's sleep will give you the energy to cope with and accomplish the many activities you have to take part in during the day. So, the school run will no longer become a source of stress to you. You will be less likely to give up on your household chores. You will be more productive at work. And you might have the energy to finally catch up on your reading list when the children are in bed. In short, you will become Wonder Woman and all thanks to that good night's sleep you had!

#3: Your children will learn from your good example

Of course, your children could be the reason why you don't sleep well anyway, especially if they are prone to the occasional excuse as to why they shouldn't hit the pillow. Read these bedtime tips if so, as you might finally have the opportunity to get some shut-eye when your kids do the same. However, know too that your nightly habits could be to blame for your children's lack of sleep. If they know you stay up long after what might be considered normal for bedtime, they might be tempted to follow suit. So, they might try to squeeze more screen time in secret, especially if they know you are doing the same. And they might pester you while you're up and about, in fear that they are missing out on something. So, get into good habits by prioritising sleep over your smartphone and TV, as your children might then learn to do the same.


So, if you have been feeling tired and grumpy recently, and if your energy levels have been flagging, try to get into better bedtime habits. You will feel better if you do, and your children will benefit from the good night's sleep you had to!

Take care, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Revamping Wall Space with Desenio *Review*

{Ad/Collaboration} Whenever I am looking to revamp a room or a wall space I always consider adding some unique art work or pictures into the room. It can make such a difference to a wall and a room, there are a couple of places in our house recently that have been crying out for something on them and I knew just the place to head to online for inspiration. Desenio is your one stop shop for fantastic, affordable wall art, I cannot begin to tell you how much choice there is available and I always struggle to choose! The rooms that I have chosen art work for were Alfie and Elarna's room and our hallway. The kids rooms needed something more mature and the hallway needed a little lift. I did manage to make a selection and I am showcasing these below! You must let me know what you think. 

First up, I chose this gorgeous and minimalist Hakuna Matata print, Alfie is a huge fan of The Lion King and all animals in general and I loved this one. 


Also for Alfie's room he chose these two lions and a giraffe, I love the side profile lion, so cool. I was impressed with his choices and they look fantastic on the wall, the green paint needed something to make it pop and these are wonderful choices. Alfie loves them, he was so pleased to have something animal related taking pride on his wall.  


 For Elarna's room we of course went Flamingo themed to go with her wallpaper and I loved this rainbow print, they both look fantastic against her glittery, candyfloss pink paint. They look like they were always meant to be in her room, we both just love them so much.


The final print I chose was one of a larger size of this city scene, I just loved the image, I find myself walking by it and thinking about the girl in it, is she happy or sad? What is she thinking about? Also about how much I love her shoes! It is a great image to have in our hallway, it adds a bit of a focal piece in a minimal way.


What I love about Desenio is the huge amount of choice that is available. There is literally something for everyone, it would be my first choice to go for any art work that I need, also they have a huge amount of frames available to accompany your choice of print. Delivery is fast, efficient and the items are securely packed and you can track the item once dispatched so you know when it is going to arrive. I cannot recommend Desenio highly enough and I am very excited to be able to offer my readers a discount code so you can treat yourself to some lovely art work too. Please see below for further details. 

“My code “HELENG” gives 25% off prints* on all Desenio sites until midnight 8th of November (UK time). Follow @desenio for more inspiration!
*Except for frames and handpicked/personalised prints".
 

Friday, 1 November 2019

Scruff a Luvs Families! *Review*

{Gifted} We were recently sent the new Scruff a Luvs Families (RRP £29.99) to test out, after the success of the Blossom Buddies Scruff a Luvs which Elarna loved she was delighted to receive another to add to the family. 

If you're not sure who or what the Scruff a Luvs are all about have a read of my previous review otherwise, in a nutshell the Scruff a Luvs are abandoned and lost looking for her babies. 


The box is a blind box so you don't know who you're going to find....is it a dog? Is it a cat? How many babies?Are they boys or girls.....? Warm their hearts to find out their gender. Who knows until you get them out of the box! Elarna loved her Scruff a Luv previously so she couldn't wait to discover the family she would receive.


Within the brightly coloured box are several hidden numbered areas that the child can undo and discover the little accessories that accompany the Scruff a Luv, these range from coloured bottles to feed your family, a comb, little items of clothes, a collar with tag and birth certificates. So cute!  


We loved the little hidden element, it's a really nice touch and children these type of things at the moment don't they! It's a surprise touch and personally I feel it enhances this type of toy. Also within the box is the Scruff a Luv, now don't alarmed when you first see the rolled up, matted ball as it looks a bit odd! The thing you have to do is give this scruffy, rolled up thing a good wash, add some soap and water to make it extra fun! Elarna loves this bit! You can actually put the toy in the washing machine if you want to speed up the process, however I think it's alot more fun for the child to get involved and give it wash!


As you begin to wash and clean the toy it will unroll and reveal the family it has been hiding, we received gorgeous little triplets!! The Scruff a Luv we revealed as you can see if a sort of pinky/lilac colour with glittery ears - very sweet!


Make sure while washing that the soapy suds are washed thoroughly out of the Scruff a Luv, it's advisable to get an adult to help with this bit and the drying. You can either leave it to air dry but if your children are like mine they cannot possibly wait for this so using a hair dryer on a low heat helps speed up the process!


Once washed and dried the Scruff a Luv does look a bit scruffy still, no matter how much we try and brush it never seems to look a bit scruffy but to be honest Elarna doesn't seem to mind she just thinks it's adorable, lots of 'ohhs' and 'ahhs' from her!



What did we like?

- A lovely addition to the Scruff a Luvs family, the hidden and blind elements are great! The accessories are nice and enhance the playability of the item.

- They are really cute, especially the little babies!

- Being able to wash and dry the Sruff a Luv is lovely, Elarna took full responsibility and the role very seriously! 

- Would make a lovely gift, I think it's a great way of introducing children to role play and pretending to take care of an animal and the responsibility of looking after them.

- The Scruff a Luv and her babies are great companions to keep close by





Anything we weren't so keen on?

- The price of £29.99 is steep for what it is, I think it should be priced lower for sure. 

- The Scruff a Luv can look bedraggled once dried, we haven't been able to make them look any better than in the photos but that doesn't matter too much.

- I would say that this is not a toy or cuddly toy that Elarna has constantly returned to, it gave her lots of pleasure at the time but after a few days it was in her toy box.









Aimed at age 36 months to 8 years which is a huge age range! I would say the ideal age range would be between 3 - 5 years to enjoy the Scruff a Luvs. Overall, we like this toy, the added accessories are great and that added a special touch to the product. Available from leading retailers and would perhaps make a lovely Christmas gift!




*Please note we were kindly sent the item in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

Monday, 28 October 2019

Six Time Saving Natural Hair Care Tips

{Written in collaboration with NUYU}The team at NUYU are continually searching for ways to care for hair in the shortest amount of time. But, in this age of sustainability and care for our world, we are also aware of the need for natural solutions. We all need to be careful of the chemicals we are putting out into the world. With all this whirling around our minds, we thought we would come up with the best six natural hair care tips that could also save you time – and still make sure you look fabulous.


Tip #1: One product many jobs

To save time and to respect nature, find products that can accomplish more than one thing. If you buy a natural haircare coconut shea shampoo, you can detangle and cleanse at the same time.
Therefore, job number one is to check through your bathroom cabinet. How many products do you have that only achieve one thing? Can you research and find the best product to streamline your hair care routines? Remember that each time you buy a product, you also buy a plastic bottle. Therefore, finding something with natural ingredients that can offer shine, hold and body would be the perfect solution to multiple problems.

Tip #2: Minimal deep conditioning

Deep conditioning need not be a time-consuming chore. In fact, it has been proven that deep conditioning done quickly is as productive as hours upon hours of care. Most deep conditioners are formulated to work within 30 minutes, as producers know you don't have time to sit for hours waiting for a miracle. Check out the package of deep conditioners when you are next browsing the aisle and notice how many quality companies suggest only 30 minutes in the instructions

Tip #3: Find a quick style for speedy moments

When under pressure you need one hairstyle you can go to that will work every time. You know that look that makes you look outwardly together, even in moments when you have 10 minutes to leave the house. This is the style that needs minimal product usage and only a quick twist or ruffle here and there. When you next have a few minutes free, experiment with different styles and find the one you can fall back on in times of emergency.

Tip #4: Wash less

In the summer, when you are out in the pool or sweating a little more, you likely feel you need to wash your hair regularly. When you have quite the mane, this can hack away at your free time. With the autumn months, you can afford to reduce the number of times you wash your hair without the possibility of harming your hair. You can save time and money – as well as water.

Tip #5: Organise yourself

We often go out and buy things that we don't need because we didn't realise that we already owned it. We have a host of concoctions and devices that are bundled away, and it is difficult to work out what you do and don't need – so you just buy more. If you want the ultimate way to save time and money – and the environment – you can put your hair care products into some sort of order. If you have a zip bag for your scrunchies, another for your pins, rods and clips – and so on. You can cluster all your wash products together, then your cleansers and conditioners and more.
The point is to visibly be able to see what you have and be able to reach for it quickly. Not only will you save time going to the shops, but also in the morning when trying to find what you need.
This organisation works best if it is carefully maintained. You will need to put things back where you found them if you are to be successful in saving time here.

Tip #6: Natural products that last longer

Finally, and maybe most logically, you need to use the most natural products that offer the most prolonged results. If you are using a natural product that needs daily application, then it is counterproductive. You are going to need more to achieve the effect you want – and although natural ingredients are brilliant – they still come in packaging and are part of a supply chain filled with petrol-guzzling vehicles. Therefore, you want products that promise to last throughout a week or longer. Do your research and find products like shea yoghurt moisturiser, which is brilliant for the longer-lasting condition for dry hair.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Choosing the right ring!

{Ad} Oh it is the most important ring you will receive without a doubt. The engagement ring, ahhhh I remember lusting after the ring I was keen on for such a long time and then out of the blue when the question was popped I had the most stunning and beautiful pink sapphire and diamond ring on my finger. Not to everyone's taste but for me it was my perfect ring. There are several things to look out for when choosing a ring. Here is a little list of them......taken note fellas! 


- Ring size! Try and find out the size required, using a handy ring sizer such as the Pomegrante London ring size guide could be invaluable so as not to get the incorrect size. 



- What sort of ring design and stone? Diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies? It's always good to get an idea of what the lady would like! Don't forget to try and find out about stone cut also.

- If planning a surprise engagement it is a good idea to try and get ring size, a few ideas of this could be to discreetly take a ring to the jewellers, or draw around an existing ring or even try and take an imprint using play doh or similar to to take to the jewellers. 

- Try not to stress too much about it, remember this is supposed to be the best and most exciting step so try and embrace the hunting and searching for the right ring!

Has anyone else got any tips to share on choosing a ring?

Getting the interior design right for a restaurant.

{Ad} I don't know about you but when I am eating out the interior design of the restaurant or bar are something that I look out for. Give me a sleek, smooth and inviting restaurant any day. I mean I love rustic charm, I adore shabby chic but I really enjoy a modern and sleek design too. I think the food needs to match the interior and the atmosphere also needs to reflect this too. To achieve the most out of your restaurant or hospitality venture a reputable company who will listen to your needs and requirements, a company such as Object Space Place who will be there for all your unique and bespoke interior architecture needs. 

Image courtesy of pixabay

The guys at Object Space Place want to spend their time with you, developing the interior at the client request making a place that staff will want to work in and customers will want to return back to again and again. No easy feat in reality, the hospitality trade is tough, it's one of the hardest industries to crack but if you've got the interior spot on then this is great start. Before meeting with the team it would be a great idea to prepare your thoughts about what you'd like to see within the space. 

- What design features would you like to see within?

- The budget, what sort of cash injection did you have in mind?

- What would you like to achieve from the space? What customers would you like to attract? What food are you serving?

- What are the main priorities?

Obviously there are lots of things to take into account and factor in but having a few ideas and thoughts written down will be a starting point. Head on over to the website for further information and creative ideas.