Monday 29 September 2014

Simple Tips for Cutting Down your Electric Bill

Looking to save money? Who isn't! Here is an interesting article on how to save some pennies on your electric bill.

Simple tips for Cutting down your Electric Bill
Cutting down your electric bill each month is no doubt something that many people are interested in doing. After all, with energy prices higher than ever, it can be just another one of those things we don’t want to spend our hard earned money on.
We’ve come up with some really simple – and surprisingly easy – tips for cutting down on your electric bill to not only help save you money but also to help save the planet.

  • Upgrade your appliances to energy efficient onesswitching to energy star rated appliances may be a little pricier at first, but they will save you a lot of money in the long run. If you are updating some of your main appliances, you can even get energy efficient options online at Electric Shop which can help save money.
  • Ensure your appliances are well maintainedas well as investing in new ones, it’s really important to ensure that you’re looking after your appliances too in terms of keeping them clean and well maintained. Even simple things like removing lint from your washing machine can save you 5% energy and is important in terms of fire prevention, too.
  • Unplug items when you’re not using them even if they’re not switched on, if your appliances still use a small amount of energy if they’re plugged in. Therefore it’s just best to unplug them altogether to avoid using any energy when you don’t need to.
  • Only wash full loads of dishes or clothes in your big machines waiting until you have a full load of dishes or clothes to wash in either your dishwasher or washing machine will save you lots of money as well as time and hassle, too.
  • Turn down the temperature you’ll have no doubt heard the hype about certain washing detergent companies stating that their products can get the dirt out at lower temperatures, and it really is worth a go, especially if you spend a lot of money on washing stuff. Switching to 30 degrees should get most of the dirt out, and if you have particularly stubborn stains, 40 should definitely do it.
  • Turn off the lights and switch your bulbs switching off any lights when you’re not in the room is a given, but it’s still something that people forget or just ignore. Switching the bulbs in your overhead lighting and lamps to energy efficient ones is really useful for saving energy and money too as they last much longer than the original ones.
  • Air-dry your clothes where possible your dryer for your clothes is the appliance that uses the second most amount of energy in your home (second to your fridge). Therefore using it less will save you so much money and it won’t actually take much more time either. If you don’t have a garden to dry your clothes in, invest in a clothes horse that you can use indoors and position it by a window or radiator.   
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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Glossybox September 2014 - Review

The September Glossybox arrived recently and I was so excited to see it. This months box had been designed by Karen Millen and after seeing a little sneak preview I was eager to see the design and the items sent this month. 

Once I had removed the outer cardboard box it arrived in I was not disappointed, the box was beautiful, the London design on the front of the box was classy and slick and the colour scheme inside was a beautiful pale green and silver, the muted and pretty colour scheme I felt was also reflected with the products nestled inside.

I took a fair few pictures this month to capture all the elements of the box. There were a couple of slight differences I felt in this months box, no glossy magazine again and the product guide reflected the style of the box. Also included was a Karen Millen discount card which if I lived nearer a store would have been great but will sadly go to waste, also there was a little spoiler card featuring a product that will definitely be included in the October box, I'm not sure whether I think this is a good thing as it takes away some of the element of surprise, however it whets the appetite and suggests that the next box will be a good one.

So what gaggle of goodies were we sent this month?

First up is a brand that I know and have used in the past, Origins Anti-Ageing Power Serum (RRP £48 for 30ml, received 15ml in Glossybox) I do love a Serum and I have already been using this for about 3 days and noticed a big difference in my skin, it looks and feels smoother and less blemished. With continued use Origins advise that it will help lift and firm the skin and reveal a more youthful appearance. I really like it, not so keen on the price tag though!

The next item we have is L'Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil (RRP £15.95 for 125ml, received in Glossybox 45ml) I do like a hair oil so pleased to receive this. This oil is lightweight and has been designed to pamper the hair and leave it feeling soft and shiny whilst at the same time nourishing it. The great thing about hair oil is it lasts ages and this was a decent size to be sent.

Third item was probably my least favourite to receive, this was a ModelCo More Brows Fibre Gel (RRP £14.95 for 3.5ml full size received). I'm just not a huge fan of eyebrow products, plus I'm sure we received a similar product in another box a little while ago. This is designed to give the appearance of fuller and thicker brows.

The fourth item I was over the moon to see included! One of my all time favourite nail brands! Nails Inc Westminster Bridge Matte Top Coat (RRP £12.00 for 10ml full size received) you cannot beat a Nails Inc product and I've tested this out and it's great! A nice alternative to a shiny top coat and as with most other Nails Inc products dries quickly and lasts well. 

The final items to be included were three little sachets by a company I hadn't heard of. SkinPep Enzyme and Acid Peel and Peeling Gel and Eye Cream (various prices for full size items ranging from £44.99 to £89.99). Clearly these items full size have a hefty price tag hence the sachets! I'm yet to try them out but they promise alot so it will be interesting to see the results! 

So there we have the September box and I have to say this is one of my favourite boxes to date, the quality of products, the beautiful box design and the way Glossybox have upped there game in the last couple of months I'm really looking forward to seeing the next few months boxes. 

What did everyone think? Did anyone receive anything different?

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Monday 22 September 2014

The Perfect Maternity Shot

Capturing The Perfect Maternity Photography

Expecting a baby? Here is a great article about capturing those special moments with Venture Photography.

The photographs you get taken at that special time of your life when you are expecting a baby will be images that you will cherish forever. This handy guide will help you get your maternity photography right. I hope these pointers will give your pictures unique qualities and you will benefit from some tricks of the trade.

Capture the Right Time
Conventional wisdom dictates that the best period of your pregnancy to have your photo shoot is seven months. At this time your bump is nice and prominent but you hopefully won’t be too uncomfortable when striking the different poses necessary.

Get the Family Involved
If you are bringing siblings into the world, get your youngest children around for the maternity shots. It might help them to understand what is going to happen in a few months time and they will make for some really cute snaps. The shoot should capture your loving family relationships as well as your bump.

Get back to Nature
Having your photo shoot outside will make a lovely natural image. If you do decide on an outdoor shoot bear in mind factors like light and weather. A field or beach are perfect or you might want to go a bit more edgy and get some urban-style pictures.

Find the correct angle that makes you feel most comfortable. Shooting from straight on is not likely to highlight the pregnancy in the slightest whereas high angles can be a more flattering way of displaying the bump. A far-off shot can take in a beautiful setting and make the subject feel the glare of the spotlight less.

Focussing on a subject in the background and distorting the mother-to-be can give the picture a unique quality and be an unexpected way of taking a maternity shot. A silhouette of your pregnant form is another way to reduce the spotlight – literally.

Shoot in Black and White
Monochrome images will ease the worry of blemishes and stretch marks showing up on your photographs. Black and white images also tend to age better so when you look back at the pictures they will not look as dated.

Use a Professional
A professional photographer will have plenty of experience in getting the personality of the mother-to-be to shine through. A good photographer will also put the subject at ease and have fun during the shoot. The professional shoot can be in addition to those taken by your partner and friends.

Wear Comfortable Clothing
The aim is to show off your beautiful pregnant form but for you to remain comfortable so tight stretchy clothes are the best attire.

Have Fun
Have FunThe pictures are a celebration of a special period of your life so try and relax and have fun. The more loose you feel the better the pictures will turn out.

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Friday 19 September 2014

Planning for the Future - Care Home or Assisted Living?

Here is a great article about planning for the future, something that we will all have to think about at some point in the future.

Is Assisted Living or a Care Home the Best Option for your Loved One?

There may come a time in an elderly loved one’s life when you will have to consider assisted living or a care home. They may no longer be safe living on their own, they may need extra help looking after themselves or benefit from more companionship. Either option will offer these advantages but making the choice can be difficult. Using a reputable and professional company like can really help make these choices clearer and therefore the decision a lot easier. Here are some considerations for when you are deciding whether to make the move to a care home or make arrangement for assisted living.

Benefits of Assisted Living and Care at Home
Assisted Living facilities provides more care for your elderly loved one but in a homely environment. They may need help getting up in a morning, their washing routine or medication. Assisted living will provide help with these aspects without the emotional trauma of moving into a more institutional setting.
Care at Home also means your relative will get all the help they need personally and around the house. Care at home carers can help with looking after houseplants or keeping appointments. There are also errands beyond the home which carers can assist with such as shopping and picking up prescriptions.

Benefits of a Care Home
A care home will deliver more focussed round the clock care to their residents. This will be of more benefit for those suffering from ill health and having increasing cognitive and mobility problems. Skilled staff will be able to give a higher level of attention to your loved one. Residents of care homes also get the opportunity to form friendships with people who are going through similar experiences. This companionship can be invaluable to their health and wellbeing. Many care homes also provide activities to make for an enjoyable life style in the residents’ advancing years.

Making the Decision

It is important to look into all the facilities which are available in your local area when making this life-changing decision. Factors such as cost and accessibility to other family members will play a part in the choice but it is vital you make the elderly relative central to any decision. Arrange meetings with representatives from all the services you are considering. If you can, speak to residents, service users and their families. If your loved one’s home is very important to them and they are able to live relatively autonomously care at home may be the answer. On the other hand, if you feel they require more focussed care in practically all areas of living, a care home may be appropriate. Quality of life should be a key factor: will they enjoy living with others or would they find it a wrench leaving home? Explore all aspects of your relatives life before coming to a conclusion and the move should improve their situation.

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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Get Crafty this Halloween!

Well it's really not long till Halloween, the months are soon going by and October will be here before we know it. I actually don't mind Halloween, I like seeing the children dressed up and think as long as they're polite and courteous I have no problem giving a few treats out. With Alfie being a little more aware about what Halloween is about this article gives some really great ideas about what you can do with your children to get them in the mood for this spooky season.

Get Crafty This Halloween

Carving a Jack-o’-Lantern from an oversized pumpkin is not the only arts and crafts activity you can do with your little ones this Halloween. It’s a perfect opportunity to create weird and wonderful characters using a whole host of materials. Here are some alternative craft ideas to get your creative juices flowing and hopefully give trick-or-treaters a little fright.

Create a Comic Strip
There are plenty of ghostly characters that can appear in your Halloween comic. Just come up with a simple story involving a vampire, werewolf or witch and get creating. If you don’t know what story to tell look up some kid friendly ghost stories online.

Scary Statues
There’s a variety of materials you can purchase from arts and crafts suppliers such as George Weil to make statues to accompany the lonely jack-o’-lantern on your door step. Air-drying clay witches could hang from your kitchen ceiling or papier mache Frankensteins might patrol your window sills.

Your child could have the most original costume on the street if you use your creative skills to produce it yourselves. An old white bed sheet is enough to turn your smallest into a terrifying ghost but with a little imagination (and face paint) you could have a convincing zombie. If you have some white tape and black clothing you can also make your own skeleton costume.

With some old black socks and toilet roll tubes you can have your own bats hanging in the garden. Pipe cleaner spiders are another creepy way to welcome trick-or-treaters.

Paint a Halloweeny Scene
Get them to practice their painting skills with a scene of a haunted house or ghost ship. Alternatively, paint ghostly portraits to frame and put up around the house.

Halloween Cards
It may not a traditional greetings card holiday but why let that stop you making a few spooky ones to send to family and friends. You could use old birthday cards and give them a creep twist or create your own from scratch using sugar paper.

Alternative jack-o’-lanterns
If you are not a fan of scooping out gooey pumpkin, try a novel way of making a halloweeny lantern. Alternative jack-o’-lanterns include painted jars, Japanese paper lanterns or our old friend paper mache.

There’s a number of different types of puppets you can make for a frightening show. Finger puppets can easily be made from pipe cleaners. Felt lends itself will to hand puppets or you could even put on a spooky shadow puppet show by making shapes out of card and putting them together using split pins.

Potato Stamps

Carve popular Halloween shapes such as skulls or Dracula faces into potatoes to create stamps to decorate trick or treat bags. Potato stamps are an activity that can be rolled out at any time of year.

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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Back to School Hair with H&A

To be honest it's going to be a little while before I get Alfie ready for school but it's never too early to think about it and I do have to get him ready for Nursery three times a week and morning's can be a little rushed getting him there on time! 

Alfie's hair at the moment is a nightmare, it's so long and fine and has a life of it's own, quite often he gets sent to Nursery with it sticking in various directions, I like to call it designer bed head! Thankfully he is due to get it cut this Friday so it should be a whole lot more manageable. 

When H&A kindly sent us some items to help with unruly hair I have to admit I was pleased, anything to help tame his fly away tresses are welcome. 

As you can see we were sent a whole variety of goodies from the Jake and the Neverland Pirate range. Alfie wasn't sure where to begin! 

Alfie was very excited to get in the bath and test out the items. Included in our haircare hamper was a couple of bottles of zingy shampoo, 2 compressed flannels, a towel and some interesting looking doubloons (bath tints), I was very intrigued by these and couldn't wait to see them in the bath, they also smelt delicious!

This particular shampoo has a lovely citrus fragrance, is mild and gentle and shampoos and conditions at the same time, it leaves Alfie's hair feeling really soft and smelling delicious. 

The compressed flannels are great simply pop them into water and they expand to show off their designs in all their glory. The towel we were sent was also very useful, a generous size and soft to the touch, Alfie very much enjoyed snuggling up in this after finishing in the bath. It was particularly useful for drying his hair too. 

The most exciting thing that we received was a little packet of bath tints, aptly named doubloons. They were designed to look like little pieces of pirate treasure and as I mentioned earlier they smelt delicious, I couldn't stop sniffing them! I particularly liked the gold ones as they were sparkly! 

As you can see in the pictures we used a blue tint first and they really do make the water very blue, simply crumble it into the water and it becomes transformed into a blue lagoon. Alfie absolutely loved it! We've only a couple of the doubloons left now so these will definitely be finding their way into my shopping trolley next time.  They make bathtime alot more fun!

I tried to style Alfie's hair into a mohawk during bath time but he was having none of it and decided the only hair style he wanted to model was the flannel on head style! 

My top tips to help with your children's hair would be keep it simple and don't try and do anything too extravagant before nursery or school!

H&A are running a Twitter Party at 1pm on Thursday 18th September centred around back to school hair styles and by using the hashtag #kidshaircare you too can join in the fun.

Have you got any top tips for back to school hair? Any tips or hints to make things easier in the morning?

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* Please note as part of the H&A Bathtime Buddies crew we are kindly sent products in exchange for reviews or general chatter. All the views and opinions are that of my own. 

Monday 8 September 2014

Glossybox August 3rd Birthday Edition - Review

My very belated August Glossybox review! So we've reached August and along comes the next Glossybox. Celebrating their 3rd birthday the box promised lots of treats this month. I had read no spoilers so had no idea what was going to be included this month.

As always the Glossybox arrived beautifully packaged and elegantly presented. The box seemed slightly different this month but I couldn't put my finger on it as to why?!

The usual information card was included, but again we were missing the Glossy magazine which I do think is such a shame, I enjoyed flicking through the mini mag with a coffee! 

On first impressions the contents looked great! I was pretty pleased with what was sent and was looking forward to having a closer look at the items.

So what was in the box this month?

First up, Lalique L'amour Perfume Sample (Vial received RRP £67 for 50ml) described as a soft, sensual fragrance with delicate top notes of rosebuds laced with fresh bergamont, white floral heart notes and a musk base note. It smells divine, it's exactly the sort of scent I would usually choose it's just a shame a vial lasts me one go! 

Next up is something I have heard alot about but never tried. Philip Kinglsey Elasticizer (40ml tube receivedm RRP for 250ml £38.00) . Initially I was quite excited by this anything that is designed to help maintain the hairs manageability, bounce and shine and I'm there! However this is a pre-shampoo treatment that is advised to be applied 20 minutes prior to washing your hair and I just don't have time to do that, maybe I'll give it a go on a weekend if I can sweet talk my husband into looking after the little man!

The next item that caught my attention was a little pot with the Glossybox emblem on the lid, I was intrigued, initially I thought it looked like a little pot of eyeshadow similar to the ELF pots, in actual fact it was Kryolan for Glossybox Higlighter Cashmere (full size 4.5g received RRP £12.95) . I love a highlighter and this is nice, I'm always a bit unsure of cream highlighters but this is nice and versatile too I would use this as a primer on my eyelids too so a pretty good item to receive.

The next item that stood out was a mini Figs and Rouge Hand Cream 20ml received (RRP £6.95 for full size 80ml). I love Figs & Rouge, everything from the packaging, the scent and the efficacy of the items. Such a great item, it won't last long though the way I slather hand cream on!

The next item to be included was a large full size item, Comfort Zone Essentials Cleansing Milk, RRP £20 for 250ml. designed to help remove make up and pollution and leave the skin feeling refreshed and softer. I'll be interested in giving this a go as my skin is terrible at the moment.

Last but not least was a Glossybox birthday treat, a very cute mini Yves Rocher Mini Nail Polish in the shade Rose, RRP £3.60 for full size 3ml. This is a very cute little gift and a lovely colour, the brushes in these mini bottles are quite small but it applied lovely and dried super fast.

Overall a lovely box with some very nice items, one of the nicer boxes I've received to date. Bring back the mini mag though Glossybox! 

Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription costing £10.00 + p&p, for more information visit the website.

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