Thursday 27 June 2019

No More Nursery.

As of about 5pm(ish) today there will be no more nursery runs, no more cute little pre school productions and scribbly bits of nursery art and suspicious looking cakes/biscuits baked with love and sticky fingers. Back when Elarna was a tiny baby I wrote about the end of having babies, I still don't know if I will ever have a third but reflecting on this now makes me realise just how quickly time has gone. I know it's a total cliche but it really has. Here I am four years down the line and my youngest, my princess will be off to school in September. It barely seems real.

We have had the most wonderful nursery that both children have been to, Alfie spent only a few months in the pre school room before he started school where as Elarna has been in the same nursery since about 10 months of age working her way through the rooms so we have developed quite a relationship with the place! From the moment we stepped into the nursery we just knew it was the right one to choose, from the warmth and natural wooden toys in the baby room to the fab sensory room to the friendly staff in all rooms. We have never regretted our choice and I can honestly say they have brought the best out of my little girl and she will be leaving a confident, friendly and happy girly who can't wait to start school. She is starting to write, is enjoying reading and is an active little bean that loves role playing with her friends. I can't wait to see her develop as the months go on but I really am sad that she is growing up so quickly. In fact I'm sad that both my kids seem to be growing up at an alarming rate. It's certainly true what they say that children make the years fly by.

It really does feel the end of a big, no huge milestone. I have been doing the nursery run twice a week for a good couple of years ago while my husband takes Alfie to school, it works better for me to take her and then go straight to work, I can't believe I won't be doing it ever again. Of course, there will be some benefits like not having to pay the extortionate nursery fees and not having to pay these even when she isn't it (i.e bank holidays!) but it's going to feel very strange not taking her to nursery.

As of September I will have TWO school children, eek! SO much to look forward to of course and I know Elarna is going to love school, she had her first settling in afternoon last week and although there were a few tears she came out beaming which was reassuring but I still have that familiar feeling of the unknown and the anxiety of sending my littlest of on her next adventure. I just hope her big bro looks out for her! 

I always said to Adi (even though he is adamant for no more children) that maybe when Elarna goes to school we might consider a third? I feel my mind might go into overdrive as I'm going to have a bit of spare time on my hands when she starts school. I currently have Wednesdays and Fridays off which is lovely and has been wonderful to be able to do this after going back to work full time after I had Alfie. I plan to try and pick up a few extra hours at work when possible and embark on a new course to keep me busy! We will see I guess. 

So this is it, the end of nursery. For the next few weeks she will be at home with us and the grandparents, as needed, having a lovely little rest (lucky her haha) before starting at school. So thankyou Kiddi Caru (her current nursery) for giving her the confidence and stepping stones to get her ready for school. Wahhhh!!! Mixed emotions from me right now!

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Four Benefits of Yoga to get you onto the Mat

{collaborative content} Are you a yoga avoider? Do you feel like you might like to give yoga a try but suspect you’ll look funny with your hands and feet on the ground and your tail in the air? Or lying on your back with your feet in the air? Do you find it hard to sign up for yoga when it doesn’t look like those slow movements would help you lose weight?

Yoga can be quite intimidating if you’ve never tried it before. And if you’re someone who doesn’t like to follow the crowd, the fact that fifteen million other people in the world are doing yoga won’t be enough to get you to sign up for your first class. If you’re someone who likes to choose things for yourself, understanding the benefits of yoga might be the push you need to get your feet above your head and your elbows under your knees. Here are four benefits to tempt you onto the mat.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Beat Stress And Enhance Your Mood
Most versions of yoga integrate the practice of certain meditation techniques, which help you calm the mind. Focusing on your own breath works to quieten the incessant chatter that goes on in your head all day. The sense of stillness in the mind helps you relax. While many people choose to do yoga postures without focusing on the breath, performing the breathing along with the postures changes the practice from a beneficial physical exercise into a powerful way to calm down and reconnect with yourself. The breathing also boosts your brain’s oxygen levels, which can make you feel more content in your day-to-day life.

Mega Body Confidence Booster
Yoga is often referred to as a moving form of meditation because of the focus on stilling the mind. Performed in a meditative state, yoga can boost your confidence dramatically. Rather than criticising your body for what it can’t do, or how it looks, in yoga you are encouraged to focus on the here and now, which means accepting what your body is like in the moment. This mindset helps relieve tension in the mind as you practice. You stop worrying about what your body looks like in favour of experiencing the body as it is. This allows you to feel more content and confident in your body. The resulting sense of wellbeing enables you to forge a meaningful connection with your body. You will stop seeing it for what it is not, and start seeing it as it is.

Kicking Bad Habits
Overeating is an unhealthy habit that many people struggle with. While our image-obsessed society might encourage you to think that the main reason you should lose weight is the way you look, yoga practitioners know that there are many more subtle issues at play when the body is carrying too much weight. If your weight is cause for concern, you may be experiencing profound imbalances in your daily life, which could be primarily stress-related. Regular yoga practice will enable you to relax deeply and connect to your body. A state of heightened awareness of your body and mind creates the perfect conditions for giving what your body needs and avoiding things that will cause it harm, like overeating, drinking alcohol, or smoking. If you’re trying to to stop smoking, yoga is a brilliant companion to the other measures you are trying to put in place to help you towards that goal. Whatever bad habit you are trying to kick, a closer relationship with your body will help you stop obsessing about your bad habits and naturally move toward more healthy practices.

Reduced Injury Risk
Yoga is one of the best companion exercises for other sports, and can be gentle enough to practice on your days off. If you’re a runner, for example, you know that there is a risk of injury if you do not stretch adequately, or if your body is imbalanced in some way, or if you do not have sufficient strength in the muscles that support the joints. In fact, running may be causing many of these imbalances, rather than improving them. One of the focuses of yoga is balancing opposing muscle groups. The idea is to remove imbalances from the body by stretching and strengthening the whole body equally. What could be better for a runner? Another way yoga helps avoid injury is that it is a low impact exercise. If you’re playing impact sport all the time, you’re more likely to injure your joints over time than if you switch out one of your training days for yoga.
Whether you’re afraid of looking weird, or you’re dubious about the culture surrounding yoga, remembering these benefits will encourage you to give it a try.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

3 Steps to Success in Home Renovation

Ad {collbaorative} No matter what sort of budget you have available, when it comes to renovating your home, costs can quickly spiral out of control. Often on starting building works, unexpected problems can be encountered that raise the project cost. Or quite often, you'll decide in the moment not to economise on things and end up blowing the budget. Whether you're planning a full Grand Designs style project or simply giving your garden a bit of a makeover, if you don't watch the budget carefully it can quickly get left behind. However, with some careful planning, it is possible to create the home of your dreams and not get sunk into debt.

Set Your Budget

You'd be amazed how many people go into a project with only a hazy idea of what the budget is and this is a recipe for disaster. Whether you have a few hundred to spend on freshening up one room, or you're going big and splashing tens of thousands, you need to know exactly what you have to spend. Start with a fixed amount in mind and let that guide the choices you have to make in terms of design. It's a much better option than falling in love with some home inspiration boards on Pinterest only to find you won't be able to afford that option without racking up huge amounts of debt. Your budget gives you a framework to contain and channel your ideas so that you get something you won't come to regret in the future. Use a home renovation budget planner tool to get started and think through all the costs that you may encounter along the way. From flooring to cabinet hardware, countertops, appliances, contractor costs and more, list it all out. Having a budget allows you to compare costs and make adjustments- in some areas you may decide to compromise and find a more cost effective option, others it may be worth going all out - but if you don't have a categorised budget then it it's hard to really make choices. With money arrangements in place, you can gather inspiration for your project.  Remember to factor in some contingency money to cover unexpected expenses - this should be from 10 to 20 per cent of the total.

Take It Slow

Try not to rush into anything when it comes to projects around the home. It's often a good idea to wait and save up rather than relying on a loan to pay for your works, as this can both save a lot of wasted money in interest payments and give you much-needed breathing space to sense-check your decisions before carrying anything out. Making many great, cohesive design decisions at once can be hard, and often you get the feel and flow of a space much better once you've lived in it for a while.

Get Inspired

With money arrangements in place, you can gather inspiration for your project. Say you're planning a garden makeover. It would be a great idea to curate a Pinterest board full of garden design ideas that speak to you, visit public gardens to see ideas which could be translated to your own outdoor space, and go to sites like to see what you could do with the right materials.  

Monday 17 June 2019

Hatchimals Pixies! *Review*

 Ad {gifted} Hatchimals are back but this time with a very sparkly and glittery twist in the form of pixies (RRP £7.99)!! My youngest absolutely loves these surprise toys, anything that is bright, colourful and sparky is also an added bonus. We have liked Hatchimals right from the very beginning, if you cast your mind back to about 2016 these toys were selling like hot cakes and many parents struggled to get hold of them, since then the brand has become one of the market leaders of blind bagged/surprise toys and the ever growing collection of Hatchimals continues to excite and enthrall children. 

These gorgeous, glittery eggs hide the pixies inside and as with all the other Hatchimals range the heart on the egg is gently rubbed until it turns pink and the egg can then be broken into using your thumbs to reveal what's inside. There are 8 pixies that can be found at the moment, I expect there will be more added to the range at some point very soon. There are four different coloured eggs to choose from and you catch hatch a pixie from four different lands which are glittering garden, polar paradise, crystal canyon or wishing star waterfall. 

 The eggs are easy to hatch and once the egg is cracked you can see your pixie sitting proudly within. Each pixie has sparkly, colourful hair and glamorous outfits, they have poseable heads and adorable little wings that actually flutter. They are so cute! 

The pixies are not just the only thing you'll find inside the egg. The base of the eggs also transforms into a little pixie bed shaped with a pillow and pretend cover, there are also 3 other accessories to discover inside. These range from hairbands that attach to the head of the pixie and assortment of other accessories depending on the pixie received. 

Also you receive a collector sheet featuring the pixies you can find inside the eggs and a little bit about what they like. The pixies discovered where Polar Penelope and Crystal Cassie. Both pixies came with little headbands which attach to their heads, Polar Penelope also came with some little boots and a snow cone and Crystal Cassie also had a little treasure chest and drink. They also come with little clear stands for the pixies that attach on their feet so they can stand up supported.

 Elarna absolutely loves them, I think she's played with them more than certain other brands of surprise toys, they really appeal to her and it's encouraged her to do little role plays and being able to stare the little accessories under the bed is also a bonus.

 What did we like?

- We loved how bright and sparkly the pixies are, they are great addition to the already fab Hatchimals range

- What a great price (RRP £7.99), these are the perfect pocket money/little treat gifts and absolutely worth the cost, I don't think I would pay much more that this so personally for me I think the costing is just right, they would make a lovely birthday gift also

- The little accessories that come with the pixies are brilliant and so cute - The bottom of the egg transforming into a bed and storage area is such a good idea, especially as I hate to see toys with so much waste so being able to reuse the base is great

- They bring a smile to a childs face and encourage role play and imaginative play

Was there anything we weren't so keen on?

- Overall we loved everything about the pixies, however it's worth mentioning the accessories are very small so these are not suitable for anyone younger than 4 I would say

- I loved being able to use the base but I think what would make it even better would be having a clip or some way of the bed being able to attach to the base of the egg to keep the spare bits safe

- At the moment there are only 8 varieties available so being able to find each pixie to collect them all is going to be slim, however I believe there will be more coming to the range very soon which is great

We would absolutely recommend Hatchimals pixies, they have been a big hit with my daughter and I will definitely be purchasing more for her at some point. Overall a fab little toy and they are available from leading retailers right now so don't miss out! I will leave you with a few more pictures of the sparkly little pixies! 

I would love to hear what you guys think? Have you ever had any Hatchimals? What did you think?

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

Sunday 16 June 2019

Lingerie Trends Through the Years.

{collaborative} I have always loved historical fashion, I can remember years and years ago my Mum taking me to the costume museum in Bath and I loved it and have since spent years loving costume drama's and historical dress. If I hadn't gone down nursing route I would have really liked to delve more into the history of fashion for sure. Looking at how fashion has evolved is amazing, I mean can you imagine all those years ago having to such big dresses with corsets and all that skirt....crazy or what?! However they did look so elaborate and beautiful. Not only has historical fashion evolved but what is worn underneath, lingerie has moved on a long way from what it used to be.....

These days underwear is commonly worn as 'outer wear' and the variety of lingerie available these days is tremendous with the underwear industry catering for all shapes, sizes and women. As a bigger busted lady myself it is refreshing to see companies finally providing us with pretty, lacy lingerie rather than drab and boring undies which quite frankly was depressing! 

Can you imagine wearing a corset these says? Although I say that, corsets have started to come back into fashion again, I have heard although they are not overly comfortable to wear they do wonders for your waist and posture when worn in short doses. Back when corsets were worn it was to pull you in and manipulate the female body into an unnatural shape that would potentially damage internal organs and cause other lasting effects to the women's body. Fashion trends did move on though and bloomers and bra's did soon make an appearance thankfully! 

As women stepped away from the corsets and hiding their bodies in the 50's and 60's it was all about embracing womanly curves and highlighting the women's shape and body, it was a much more sexy vibe and I think now lingerie takes a bit influence from these years. Push up bra's, baby dolls and lace started to take centre stage and things just started to move on. Thongs are out and bigger knickers and high waisted items are much more in these days.

So, would you fancy or a corset or are you more a bloomers type of woman? Do share!

Thursday 13 June 2019

How to Create a Beautiful Family Garden

Ad {collaborative} As summer fast approaches, the time is coming to dig out your flip flops and get your garden ready to some great fun in the sun with your family. After a long period without care and attention, tackling your garden may be a daunting task. However, there are many ways you can get it looking ship shape and ready for BBQ season to get well under way! With a little bit of hard work and creativity, a garden of any condition can be converted into an outdoor haven that has the same comfortable feeling as the inside of your home.

Tackle The Greenery

When you finally wave goodbye to winter, you begin to see the damage that the bad weather has done to your garden. Overgrown grass that’s turning brown, an excess of weeds popping up left, right and centre, and any hope of colour or beauty out of sight. One of the first things to do is switch on your lawn mover and remove everything that stands in your way. Cut your grass down as low as you can (as it will grow back very fast) and use a strimmer to rid your garden of any pesky weeds or overgrown shrubs or bushes. It’s a great idea to buy some flowers to plant or some seeds to grow yourself, as the pop of colour can brighten up the whole garden and make it feel more homely immediately.

Invest In Some Accessories  

When you’ve managed to find the floor, it’s time to invest in some suitable accessories if you don't have them already. Find the BBQ and put it back where it belongs, and get a table and chairs or a picnic bench of some kind to eat meals outside. If you’re planning to eat in the garden regularly, it may be an idea to get some citronella candles to keep away any bugs and flies. Install some lighting such as solar powered lanterns or fairy lights so you can enjoy your garden in the later hours too. If your family take an interest in gardening or perhaps want to try and grow some fruit and vegetables of their own, visit Greenhouse Stores to find some beautiful potting sheds that make a great addition to any garden.

Invite The Whole Family

When you’ve got everything set up and ready, it’s time to invite the whole family around! Add a few extra chairs and cover them with some blankets for the kids as the night draws in, and get the designated ‘griller’ to assume their position. A garden party or summer BBQ is a great way to fully enjoy your garden whilst making the most of the sun with your family and friends around you.

It’s easier than you might think to create a beautiful garden for your whole family to enjoy. Dedicate a day or 2 to get it back to its former glory, and you will all be able to reap the benefits for many months afterwards.  

Monday 10 June 2019

How to Become a Sensible Spender

How to become a sensible spender
Ad {collaborative content} When it comes to spending money, we could all do with being a bit savvier. Whether it’s the little regular purchases that quickly add up or buying things on our credit cards when we don’t have enough in the bank, many of us have bad spending habits. If you find yourself worrying about money, or you regularly overspend, it’s time to take control of your financesA few simple changes might be all you need to go from constantly worrying about money to a money-savvy saver. For instance, instead of taking out a credit card and purchasing unnecessary items on it until you max it out, you could instead consider using a credit card that will help you save, invest and pay down debt. One small change, but a very different mentality that will help you to be in a much better position financially. By following these top tips, you’ll be a sensible spender in no time.
Set a monthly budget
First things first: you need to set yourself a realistic budget. The thought of this task fills many with dread, but it really doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. Start by looking at your essential expenditure each month. This will include your mortgage or rent, household bills, food shopping, car finance, etc. Total these up to work out your monthly outgoings. Then simply take this away from your income to work out what’s left over. Whilst you’re looking through your statement, this might be the time to cancel those direct debits you’d forgotten about, like the subscription for the magazine you never have time to read.

Once you’ve worked out what you’ve got left over from your essential outgoings, you can set a realistic budget for any other spending, such as meals out, clothes or socialising. The key to a successful budget is to make it achievable. Saying you’re only going to spend £10 a week on entertainment is unrealistic. You’re likely to overspend, making your budget go out the window. Set a figure that is low enough that you can save, but high enough to live your life.
Buy what you need…
…not what you want. If you tend to splurge on things that you don’t really need, cut them out. This could be anything from your morning coffee run, to random treats such as a new item of clothing. Sure, if your jacket’s broken beyond repair, invest in a new one. But do you really need a tenth pair of jeans? Maybe not. Stop spending on unnecessary items and your bank balance will see the benefit.
Shop around
Don’t be tempted by the first thing you see. To be a sensible spender, you need to put time into finding the best deals. For instance, if you need a new vacuum cleaner, don’t walk into the closest electrical store and buy the first model the assistant recommends. Do some homework, read reviews online and make sure you’re investing in an item that’s right for you. Once you’ve found the perfect product, shop around to find the best price. Browse online or check out a price comparison site — it could save you a lot of cash!