Sunday, 25 June 2017

Ideas for enjoying a girly night in

Sometimes you want to stay at home, get into some comfortable clothes or PJ’s and enjoy the comforts of home without having to go out that evening. This is especially the case when you have had a long day at work, or if you are a parent who has a rare occasion at home without the kids. Sometimes you might choose to go out and let your hair loose, but other times all you want to do is stay at home and have some down time! Here are some ideas for enjoying a girly night in....


Have a relaxing bath

There is nothing quite like a relaxing bath after a long day, except perhaps, a relaxing bath with a glass of wine and a good book or some music. If you feel like going the whole hog, then dim the lights of your bathroom and light some candles around your bathtub. If you are feeling especially decadent and want to feel like you are in a spa, then buy yourself some face masks and bath bombs and anything else you fancy!

Invite your friends over

Arrange for your friends to come over for a nice meal, watch a film, or even an old-school sleepover! It isn’t what you do necessarily that makes this an enjoyable night in, but the fact that you are spending time with you friends. You can make this as fun as you like, however, by hosting a murder mystery dinner night, or having a cocktail tasting party! You will know more than anyone else, the kinds of things that you and your friends enjoy.

Order in some food and drink

Having a take away with your friend or by yourself is a fantastic way to unwind as you don’t have to cook and will limit the washing up you have to do that evening or the next day! You might be a fan of Indian, Chinese, Thai or Mexican food and with the increase in demand for delivery, so many restaurants and takeaway now offer delivery options. Don’t just stop at food, however, treat yourself to some gorgeous wine without the bother of having to go to the store as Just Eat partnering with O'Briens Wine means that you can get it delivered to the comfort of your own home.

Invest in a Karaoke Machine

Yes, this is a great idea! Let go of any inhibitions you might have and invite your friends to a karaoke night! You can combine three of the things from this list by inviting your friends over for the takeaway and having a themed Karaoke night for an old-school girly night that you will all enjoy. There is something about letting loose and singing into a microphone that acts as an ultimate de-stresser! Just make sure you aren’t too loud, or the neighbours may start knocking on your door! The good thing about investing in a Karaoke machine is that you can whip it out at various events or holidays and repeat the fun all over again!

5 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Their Veggies

Most parents will have to deal with picky eaters, children who will flat out refuse to eat certain foods or even entire food groups! As a parent, you want to provide your children with optimum nutrition and make sure that they are eating a balanced, healthy diet. It can, therefore, be incredibly frustrating and costly when your children simply refuse to eat their vegetables.

As well as being draining, spending hours trying to convince your child to eat a piece of broccoli is time consuming which understandably leads many people to simply give up. As a parent, there are many other things that you will have to think of which can make you feel that you always have to juggle your responsibilities. Take a look at these great home and family tips from Tesco and see if they can help make your life a little easier! 

There are several solutions to this particular problem, however, and several tips and tricks that you can use to ensure that your children are getting in their five a day.


Set an example

This means sitting with them and eating the same food (or a very similar dish) as them. When they see that you are eating the food and enjoying it, they will be more likely to want to eat it as well. Surround your children with fresh fruit and vegetables that they can choose to snack on. Exposing them to an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies will mean that they are more likely to ask for a healthy snack if they can see it.

Make your food fun

While many of us were raised being told not to play with our food, there is now much more awareness regarding the benefits of food play. Yes, it can get messy, but exploring shape, smell and taste through food is an important way for children to discover the world around them.

Get them cooking

There are many ways that your children can get involved in the kitchen in an age-appropriate way. Peeling carrots, stirring soup, or even decorating a salad dish will allow children to feel part of the process that goes into making a meal and will get encourage them to try their creation. Consider spiralizing, or creating artistic shapes from fruits and veggies and let them have a go.

Hide their veggies

There are heaps of ways you can sneak veggies into your children's diet. One of the best ways is to blend them into smoothies and soups! You can hide so many vegetables in smoothies without your children even noticing! Try blending berries and bananas with beetroot, kale, and even lettuce into smoothies. Another excellent way to add vegetables to their diet is to make homemade sauces for pasta using tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and any other vegetable you can get away with!

Grow your own

Have a plot in your garden where you can grow potatoes, tomatoes, runner beans, courgettes as well as many other garden-friendly veggies. An excellent idea to get your kids involved is to give them the responsibility of looking after a plant which they can grow. The result is that they will see where their food comes from and have an interest in eating something that came from their hard work.

Friday, 16 June 2017

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY // Meg Heath Bespoke Leads, Harnesses and Collars

If you're a fellow Pug owner then you will know too well the struggles of trying to find anything that fits their tiny yet chunky build! Collars are an absolute no go when it comes to Pugs, the strength of their broad shoulders combined with their wilfulness often means a whole lot of pulling when it comes to walkies! They are so much stronger than you would think too! I know that I wouldn't want to risk my dog hurting herself when we're out and about so we always go for a good quality and well fitted harness.... something that is pretty hard to come by, let me tell you!

Recently I was very kindly contacted by the lovely folk at Meg Heath to see if Elsie would like to try out a few items from their website. This opportunity came precisely at the right time because her current harness is rather bulky and warm.... not great for the summer weather we've been experiencing recently!

Meg Heath offer a huge range of bespoke items on their website including head collars, training leads, car boot safety leads and much more! What impressed me when browsing through the products is that absolutely nothing is pre made. Every product comes with a range of options including colour, length and fittings meaning that you can choose a tailor made product created to fit your dog and your needs perfectly.


The two items that I picked out from the website were the Martingale adjustable dog harness and a traditional dog lead, both in a very fetching cerise colour. I usually opt for a black or tan colour when it comes to harness and lead combos so I was super excited to try something different! 

Getting the right size for these products was no trouble at all. The website has a handy guide when it comes to measuring dogs correctly. It couldn't have been more simple! 


Bearing in mind that all products are made to order, I was super impressed that these items were packed and sent within a few days. 

Such a good service!


So firstly, the colour. I did not regret going for the cerise, the pink suits Elsie so well! We've had so many lovely comments from passing walkers since we've been using this combo so i'm real pleased that both items have the Meg Heath label and contact details on!

Lets talk about the harness. The martingale harness (or the Marty!) is just gorgeous and is super comfortable on that chunky little body. It's lightweight, well made and is so easy to put on! What I especially love about it is that you don't need to lift any legs to get it on and fasten it up. This would be perfect for old or arthritic dogs but it's also super for Elsie here because she's rather reluctant to get up for walkies in the morning.... haha!


Both the breast and girth sections of the harness are completely adjustable so you'll have no problems getting it to fit perfectly. The rings at the top of this product are also sturdy but small, perfect for slipping through the lead hole when your dog is wearing a coat or jumper. 

I really love the simplicity of this product. It's no fuss and super lightweight so it's perfect for small breeds such as pugs who are prone to getting overheated quickly. As I've mentioned before, Elsie does pull when walking (especially when she can smell food!) but I have complete trust in this harness and there's no way she can wriggle out of it whatsoever. 


The dog lead I picked is the perfect partner to the harness. I went for a slightly longer length than we usually use which gives Elsie a little more freedom when it comes to walking on lead. It's worth noting that you can get this lead as long as 4 metres in length should you require this! 

The lead is super soft to the touch and again, feels very durable even though it is super lightweight. It's extremely comfortable to hold, the handle loop is nice and big and I love the addition of the O ring attached to the handle. This makes it ideal for putting over your shoulder whilst your dog is off lead. 


Honestly, doesn't Elsie look cute in pink?! 

I am so pleased with these products. They have instantly become the combo we reach for every day when it comes to walkies. Simplistic in design yet incredibly well made and so comfortable for both pup and owner too! I'd highly recommend Meg Heath if you are looking for a well made, comfortable and bespoke product for your dog!

Win a Meg Heath lead and collar/harness of your choice! 

Meg Heath have very kindly offered a lead and collar/harness of your choice to one lucky reader so if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning then here are a few things you need to know: 

This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
A winner will be drawn at random on Friday 14th July 2017.
Please enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!



Note: We were set the dog lead and harness from Meg Heath for reviewing purposes. All images and words are my own.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Things I've Loved This Week // 036

A little Sunday round-up, some of the little things that I've been loving this week!

A new tattoo

It's a little Mickey Mouse. What more do I need to say? I love him!


The Cath Kidston x 101 Dalmations collection

I am a huge fan of the collaborations between Cath Kidston and Disney and I am just loving the latest collection! I dare say I even prefer it to the last one, everything is just so cute! As soon as I received the catalogue in the post I knew I had to buy *something* and so it wasn't long before I placed an order for both the t-shirt dress and the matching drop waist dress for kiddo. Twinning is winning, ay?! They will both be perfect for pottering around Walt Disney World later this year!


Redecorating

Our home is a bit of a nightmare in that it needs *so much* doing to it and I often feel so overwhelmed by all the big jobs, not knowing where to begin. This week we decided to redecorate the living room in the hope that it will give me a bit of enthusiasm for tackling some of the bigger jobs over the next few months! We're going for a grey/neutral colour scheme and keeping it super minimal, clearing out any excess clutter to make it a peaceful space to relax. 


Malibu

As much as I love non-mainstream music, I am also rather partial to a bit of pop. Miley Cyrus is one of my favourites initially because of her Disney roots but now also because she is genuinely an incredible singer and role model. I've had this song on nonstop for a few weeks now.... I just can't get enough! It's a BEAUT.


This little face

Always! This week she's wanted me to curl her hair, sang along to many Disney songs with me, given the best cuddles, asked her daddy if we can have 100 pugs (in addition to the "spare" one we already have... her words!), played endlessly with her Duplo, read countless books and has generally been all round super cute!


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

GIVEAWAY // Win a copy of "Stitch and Sew Home" by Eline Pellinkhof

Time for another giveaway!


Today I am really excited to have a copy of "Stitch and Sew Home" by Eline Pellinkhof to give away to one lucky blog reader. This book contains a gorgeous collection of over 45 craft projects for the home which have all been designed by the author. It's a shabby chic wonderland packed full of bright colours, vintage patterned fabrics and beautiful, usable designs. Inside you'll find everything from cross stitch and embroidery to projects to create your own lampshades, brooches, garlands and much more!


Each page is beautifully constructed with full colour photos to accompany each project... a real feast for the eyes!


Recently I've been trying to make more time for crafts, drawing and general sprucing up around the house so if you're in the same boat and would like a little boost of inspiration then this book is just perfect for you!


If you'd like to enter for a chance to win a copy of "Stitch and Sew Home" here are a couple of things you need to know: 

This giveaway is open to UK & European residents only
A winner will be drawn at random on Friday July 7th 2017
Please enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below.

 Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Take Control Of Shopping Costs With These Top Tips

We all love shopping! Or even if we don’t love the activity itself, we certainly enjoy the positivity that those items bring to our lives. For many of us, though, that enjoyment soon fades once we look at our bank balances.

You can’t just stop shopping, especially as many items are needed for everyday life. Thankfully, you can at least take away some of the financial strains with a few very simple tricks. By reducing those costs, it’s just one less worry on your mind. If nothing else, it’ll allow you to enjoy your new products!

So what are you waiting for? Let’s start saving a little money!


Be Organized

There’s nothing worse than hitting the shops without knowing what you need. Not only does it create unnecessary stress as you question yourself over every decision. But it additionally makes you more vulnerable to the possibility of wasting money on items that you don’t need.

In addition to managing your wish list, you should plan ahead for the trip itself. This is especially true when shopping with the family. Having a plan of action in place will enable everyone to enjoy the experience. Moreover, it should ensure that you end up leaving with the items that you want and very little waste.

From a financial and emotional viewpoint, this should be top of the agenda at all times.

Know Your Needs

As well as knowing the products needed, you also need to think about the quantities. When it comes to groceries, buying bulk may generate a saving. However, this won’t be the case if you end up throwing half of it away. Calculating those decisions one way or the other is your only option.

Perhaps more importantly, you must consider the services you pay for too. Most people overspend on their mobile phones and home entertainment packages. Trimming the fat from those bills will make a noticeable difference to your life. Best of all, they won’t bring any negative influence whatsoever. After all, the new service will satisfy your needs with equal efficiency.


Those stricter approaches can be extended to a variety of other issues including insurances. Paying more than you need to would be a waste.

Take Advantage Of Deals

Getting value for money often depends on making the most of the opportunities at any given time. In some situations, it may be worth temporarily switching brands of food, particularly when an item is on special offer.

Furthermore, you can use all these coupons to secure big savings on purchases covering a spectrum of categories. From daily essentials to luxury goods, saving money in this way will inevitably work wonders. Those savings can then be used to buy more or to grow your bank balance. 

It’s important to be wary of certain deals, though. Spending more money to grab a bigger saving can be stick territory, especially when you might not need some of them. Likewise, wasting an extra £50 to acquire free delivery is rarely advised!

Think Beyond Purchases

Ultimately, the purpose of shopping is to surround yourself with the necessary products for a better life. However, buying them outright isn’t the only possible solution. Frankly, opening your mind to the alternatives could make a noticeable difference to your spending.


Car purchases are the big one to consider here. The steep depreciation of value means that you will lose big money on your vehicle. Therefore, it may be a better option to simply lease a car instead. It saves you the need for a big deposit and can be cheaper than making repayments too. You might not own it, but then you won’t need to worry about selling it either. There are pros and cons to both options. Weighing them up is key.

Rentals can be a useful option for a host of other assets too. Again, as long as you take the necessary steps to make a calculated decision, you should be just fine.

Prolong Product Lifespans

It’s one thing to save money on purchases, but long-term savings are another altogether. The best way to encourage long-term stability is to ensure that products last longer.

From a shopping perspective, that can often mean buying a better quality product. Paying an extra 10% is well worth it if it lasts twice as long. Those ideas are most significant for furniture, appliances and expensive goods that have frequent use. However, it can ring true in many other areas.

Of course, you need to take greater responsibility too. Treat the items with care, and they will offer a far longer lifespan. In turn, that should mean increase value for money and reduced expenses for the long haul. Sometimes, simply embracing the big picture is the best thing you can do.

Know When To Take Insurance

Even the most careful person cannot avoid all mistakes and accidents. While small assets won’t require it, the big ones should be covered by suitable protection. Let’s face it; problems always occur at the very worst times. Being prepared for those situations will serve you well.

Most companies and salespeople will try to sell you insurance, and it’s not always the right option. So, it may be worth doing some research into contents insurance and other packages before completing the product purchase. After all, there’s a chance that you’ll never need to use it. With this in mind, spending money unnecessarily would be a major problem.

Nonetheless, having protection when required will have a telling influence. Likewise, knowing when to say no could prevent your shopping spend from increasing too. As with anything, finding the right balance is vital!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Professional Thinking For Your Personal Finances

We all have different skills and, for some of us, looking after money and finances certainly isn’t one of them. All those numbers and figures can be enough to give anybody a headache! As a result, many of us are turned off by the mere thought of planning our personal finances. 

Even though it may not sound like the best way to spend a couple of hours, sitting down and working out your financial situation really is a very important task. By doing so, you can plan for your future better and create a nice little safety net so that you have something saved for a rainy day. 

If you haven’t really thought about your finances before, you will find that the best way to do so is with a professional mindset. Why not pretend that you are your boss? All company leaders are very adept when it comes to money, and taking a leaf out of your boss’s book will certainly help you with all that planning. Here are some tips on how you can do just that!


Liaise With Others

Your boss will have lots of people helping him with his finances behind the scenes. For instance, he will have an accountant who takes care of all his taxes and bookkeeping. So, why not think about enlisting the help of others? Sure, you could find your own accountant, but that can work out quite expensive. Instead, take a look at money saving websites like http://selectra.co.uk/. You’ll find lots of tips and ideas that can help you save some cash! It’s also a good idea to turn to friends and family who are financially stable - they could have a lot more tips for you!

Negotiate Well

If there is one skill that all entrepreneurs and business owners share, it is the ability to negotiate well. You should always be prepared to negotiate whenever you sign up to a new tariff or contract. For instance, most energy and electric companies are often willing to reduce their prices whenever any tough customers try and haggle them down. One tip to help you achieve a lower price is to say that one of their competitor companies is offering a much better deal. They will then feel compelled to beat their competitors so that they get your custom!

Set Up A Budget

In order to see how much money you need to live off each month, you should create a budget. This budget will also help you figure out how much you can realistically save every month. These are crucial for all businesses, and they should also play an important part in your family life too. Make sure you enter in all of your monthly expenses and income so that you get a clear picture. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be too in-depth, though. You might just want to add a few figures to your calendar so that you don’t ever overspend. Take a look at these great calendars: http://carouselcalendars.co.uk.

Once you start to think professionally, money won’t be so tricky to manage!