Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Knowlegde Is Power // The Facts You Need To Know Before Travelling


There are a number of things that make travelling as good as it can be. A sturdy raincoat if you’re heading somewhere a tad wet, for example. A suitcase big enough for all the wares you decide to buy! But do you know what else makes travelling a heck of a lot better? Knowledge! First of all, knowing the best time to visit. Or where you will be safest. Then, once you arrive, knowing what to expect when the plane touches down. Understanding that taxi driver when he asks you a questions. Knowing which mannerisms are considered warm, and which are considered rude.

So, what is the most important knowledge you need for a fantastic, successful trip? Here is a list of the topics you’ll want to brush up on....

Where the safe areas are

There is pretty much nowhere in the world where you will be 100% safe, 100% of the time. It’s a shame, but it’s the reality. However, there are some places where you are safer than others. Say, for example, you are a solo female wanting to have a backpacking adventure on your own! While South America might seem very tempting, Scandinavia could prove a better choice. Knowing things like kidnap rates and crime rates in different countries you are considering isn't so you get scared. It’s so you have the knowledge. It also means that if you do decide to go to a place where crime rates are high, you can be as best prepared as possible. So, you might decide to hire one driver for the entire trip, rather than using taxis and public transport.

When the best time to visit is

Visiting at a place at the wrong time can be detrimental to your experience in all sorts of ways. Firstly, cost. Going in peak season if you could go out of peak season is going to cause more damage to your precious savings. Flights, hotels, and even ad-hoc taxi journeys might cost more. Secondly, on the topic of peak season, if you go then, the place could be overrun with tourists. As travellers to Venice will tell you, too many tourists can ruin the feel of a place. Furthermore, events and sights. There will be nothing more anything than arriving at a place, only to find that an incredible local festival is due to start the day that you leave. And what about the main thing you are travelling for? If you are going to see a particular spectacle, do your research. When is the best time for the Northern Lights? When is the best time to see Machu Picchu? When are the parades at Disneyland? Knowing these things will make all the difference!

What the local consider 'rude'

The last thing you want during your holiday or adventure is to offend or upset the locals. Of course, you would never do this intentionally. However, there are some things that are considered rude in other countries, that are totally acceptable in your own. Be sure to research local customs before you travel to avoid any offence or misunderstandings.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Things I've loved this week // 011

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

A new camera
My old camera has been slowing down recently so this week I decided that it was time to take the plunge and upgrade it! I decided upon the Nikon 1 J5 as not only was it super affordable, it is also lightweight and completely versatile. Perfect for our upcoming holidays and adventures! I am really looking forwards to seeing what it can do over the next few weeks.

Family time
Always, always! This girl's smile and happiness mean absolutely everything to me and I love all of our adventures together.

New jewellery
I have really cut down on buying things for myself over the past 3 years. Long gone are the days of spending my spare pennies on candles, magazine, jewellery and shoes! I must add that this was by choice and honestly, it makes the times that I do buy/receive these things all the more special.
I received this gorgeous multi chain necklace from JOY recently and I'm so in love with it. I am super obsessed with geometric shapes at the moment and this necklace is just so easy to wear too, I'm finding that it goes well with almost everything. JOY are often one of my first stops when it comes to gift shopping so it's nice to have a little treat for myself too!

Deer spotting
I've been told about the deer in our local cemetery so many times and this week, finally, we saw it. It was only a few footsteps away from us and seeing it was a bit of magic, especially considering the urban location of the cemetery. Emilia has been talking about "Bambi" ever since! 

I must apologise for the rubbish photo, my cold hands were not co-operating with my phone camera!

Hot Chocolate
Like pretty much everyone out there at the moment, I've been feeling pretty fed up with the unusually cold weather we've been experiencing recently. This weekend we packed up a lovely picnic and headed out into the Peak District only to be caught out in yet more rain and sleet. There was only one thing for it.... a steaming hot mug of hot chocolate with all the trimmings. I enjoyed this at Matlock Meadows whilst sheltering from the rain. It was so, so good and just what I needed! 

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

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Blue skies and fun times

It's been a pretty quiet week but a fun one nonetheless! Lots of outdoor time, enjoying the weather and making the most of having lots of extra time now Emilia has stopped taking afternoon naps. We've all been getting over a round of colds and viruses and I think I'm still on a post concert high after seeing Adam Lambert in Manchester last weekend. It was a blummin' amazing night out and I won't be forgetting it in a hurry (#crazyadamlambertfan).

I've been catching up on work, listing loads of things on eBay, sorting stuff out around the house and enjoying lunch outside in the garden for the first time this year. In the sun (yes, it was still fairly chilly though!).

I hope you've had a wonderful week too. Let me know what you've been up to in a comment below!



Friday, 22 April 2016

Entertaining At Home: Get Your Garden Ready

Summer is almost here, and that means there’ll be plenty of long summer nights when you can hold garden parties and barbecues. Of yourself, your garden will have to be fit for hosting all your friends and family. You can’t invite everyone over if it is full of weeds and looks very overgrown! As there are only a couple of months left until summer officially begins, here is a guide to what you need to do to make your garden fit for guests.

Separate Your Flowers And Veggies

No one wants to sit in a vegetable patch. So, if you do grow your own vegetables, make sure they are set away from a section of the garden where you plan to have garden furniture. If you keep your vegetables separate, you will also be less likely to be bothered by insects while you are sitting outside. As they will all be busy hanging out around your vegetable patch! One of the best ways to keep your vegetables out of the way is to buy a greenhouse to keep them in.


Create A Seating Area

Whether you get all your close ones round for a barbeque or garden party, your guests will want somewhere to sit! The best way to create a seating area is to cover part of your garden in decking or a patio. New Tech Wood composite decking has a natural look and comes with a 25-year warranty. If you don’t have space for adding a seating area, you can always plant a lawn. Keep it mowed and level so you can bring out garden furniture onto it.


Outdoor Lighting

If you and your guests will be sitting out chatting until well after the sun goes down, think about investing in some outdoor lighting. If you want, you can run electric cables out into your garden. However, one of the best ways to get lighting for your garden is to buy lamps and lights that are battery powered. Some lights will react to the natural sunlight. They will be able to sense when the sun is going down and can start to get brighter. Early in the morning, the will become dimmer when the sun comes back up. Alternatively, you can always just buy a light that you can flip on whenever you like.

Garden Furniture
At some point, your guests will want to have a sit-down. So you’ll need to buy some garden furniture! It doesn't have to be anything too fancy. Some simple wooden chairs and a table should do. If you have the budget, you could buy some cool items like hammocks and swing chairs to make your garden super cosy. If you also have kids, think about buying some children’s play items. Things like a cute Wendy house or a trampoline can go down very well if you invite lots of families over.

So don’t invite any friends over until your garden is in the best possible condition. Time to get ready for some gardening now!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Ultimate Do's and Don't's Of Bedroom Renovation


Has the time arrived to renovate a bedroom in your home? If so, read on for a list of do’s and don’t to make it all run smoothly.

DO make a list of priorities
Before you begin renovating a bedroom, make a physical list of things that matter the most to you. It could be that you’ve always wanted a four poster bed. Or maybe that you really want more light in the room. If you are investing time and money in renovating, you might as well get what you want. Once you know your priorities, you can plan other things accordingly. You can also have a better idea of your budget for each item. So, if you are splashing out on an expensive headboard, you’ll know that you need to cut back on new curtains, for example.

DON’T think carpets are the only option
Because we like our bedrooms to be warm and cosy, many think that the only option for flooring is carpet. But wooden flooring can work well too. This is due to the fact that underfloor heating is now far more accessible and affordable. Wood floorings can look sleeker, and depending on the type of cleaning machines you already own, they might be quicker and easier to clean. Carpets are also easier to stain. If you want to go with hard floors but don’t want to splash out on underfloor heating, find a warm and cosy rug instead.

DO invest in a comfortable bed
Many would argue that your bed is the most important piece of furniture in the bedroom, and for good reason. Ensure that all components are the best you can afford. You’re investing in your nightly rest, so it will always be worth the cost. If you just want to focus on one thing, go for the mattress. Have the science behind Tempur mattresses explained to you, so you fully understand the benefits. Look online for advice to save you time and hassle of having to travel to a store.

DON’T waste money on fancy furnishings
Spending money on comfortable bedding that looks after your back, neck and spine is a good idea. But buying designer furnishings might be unnecessary if you can get the exact same thing for half the price.  

DO learn some handy home hacks
If you haven’t heard of home hacks before, you need to! Browse online videos and tutorials for the best ones. This article from Buzzfeed has 41 different ideas. They range from making polka dots on your wall with an old laundry basket, to using wine racks as towel holders.

DON’T underestimate the time you’ll need
When it comes to making renovations, it can be hard to gauge how long it might take. But it is always wise to overestimate, rather than underestimate. If you can, do the work over a weekend. This means that you can focus all of your time on it, without having to leave for work. However, be prepared for it to run over somewhat.

DO consider if you’re sleeping in the best room available
If you’ve been sleeping in the same room for ages, it might seem like the only option. But if you’re renovating, consider if it would be a good idea to move into a different room. If you sleep at the front of the house and are regularly disturbed by noises from outside, how about moving into a room near the back.

DON’T disregard the principles of feng shui entirely
Even if you don’t believe that feng shui is entirely effective, there are still some principles that you might want to adhere too. Use warm and welcoming colors, and avoid having electronics in the room if you can. This goes for things like TVs and laptops. Keep your phone outside of the bedroom overnight as well. Be sure to open the window often as well.

DO prepare for disturbed nights for a while
If you move your bed or furniture around, it could take a while to adjust. You might find yourself waking up during the night wondering where you are. Give it time; you’ll get back to normal soon.

DON’T give clutter a role in the new room
If you’ve been meaning to stop letting clutter be a part of your life for a while, a room renovation is a great moment to do this!

DO consider adding a walk-in wardrobe or bathroom
Walk-in wardrobes and bathrooms are both capable of adding value to your home. If these are things on the top of a potential future buyers priority list, having them already installed could make all the difference.


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A Visit to Wentworth Garden Centre's Family Farm

Wentworth Garden Centre in Rotherham is one of those places we used to visit pretty much on the regular but then for some reason we kinda forgot that it existed. So when we were out driving the other day, we were reminded of it and the next day we had off together we made sure we visited. It's been too long!

Wentworth Garden Centre is not just a garden centre. Sure, it's amazing if you want to buy anything for your garden and the gift shop there is the perfect place to drop by if you want to pick up presents. What we love most of all though are the historic walled gardens, family farm and superb restaurant..... all of which are worth a visit.

None of us have visited the family farm since its redevelopment and I was excited to see the changes.

Admission prices remain low with adults costing just £2.50 and both children and senior citizens £2.25 (April 2016). We also loved the addition of a gift shop at the entrance/exit which was stocked with farm themed souvenirs and a good range of Playmobil toys. The perfect place to spend that pocked money! 

Our visit was wonderful and Emilia hasn't stopped talking about it since we came home. The farm is home to a huge range of animals including the usual sheep, pigs and chickens as well as more unusual creatures such as foxes, meerkats and much more! 
In particular we loved the guinea pig handling session, I think Emilia might have fallen in love with the guinea pig she had on her lap! She was also particularly impressed with the playgrounds, especially the toddler area which is undercover.

Our day was complete with a delicious meal in the restaurant and finished off with a particularly yummy strawberry tart (my guilty pleasure, I always have one there!). We really enjoyed our visit and hope to not leave it so long until the next time! 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Things I've loved this week // 010

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

All the eBay
Still decluttering, still finding stuff to sell. I'm amazed that over 2 years later that I am still making money from clearing out our unwanted possessions. I'm incredibly thankful as I know none of it is ever guaranteed to sell! This week I've had another huge purge, listing as much as I can. It's tedious, yes but my motivation is a clear house.... we're still very much on that journey!

Spring walks
I love, love, love being able to leave the house without wrestling tiny toddler fingers into gloves. It might still be a little cold out but the days are increasingly longer, the skies bluer and our morning walks filled with spring flowers and new life. Last week I saw my first ever baby pigeon whilst we were out walking.... it was Emilia who pointed it out. They are just as strange looking as you would imagine too!

This week Emilia has gained so much confidence. It's been wonderful to see her head for the swings at the park or repeatedly go down slides.... things she rarely takes much notice of! I hope that we can encourage it so that her independence continues to blossom over the coming months.

Like A Boy
This song. is. amazing. Nick Pitera was one of the first people I came across on youtube a few years ago and I am still such a fan today! You can't not like this song, it's strangely addictive....

Ugly Bug Ball
The other evening we bundled Emilia up and took her out to see the lantern carnival which is a local event that takes place once a year. The theme this year was Ugly Bug Ball which was just perfect as Emilia is forever crazy for beetles, bugs and butterflies! She had a blast spotting caterpillars, bees and other favourite creatures in the form of beautifully made lanterns. There is always something happening in our city and mostly I feel very thankful to live here! 

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