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June 2017

Green Tips For An Eco-Friendly Home

Green Tips For An Eco-Friendly Home

green tips


For the most part, home renovations are all about the result. How you get there doesn’t seem to matter to the majority of homeowners, even if it ruins the environment. However, this mentality is pretty selfish because it is our grandkids and great grandchildren that will have to put up with our mistakes. How can we let it happen to people that we love? We can’t, which is why a green home is a good starting point. At the very least, the following tips will help you do your bit for the planet.

Turn Down Appliances

Okay, sometimes saving the environment and a modern family life don’t go hand in hand. Would it be better for the earth if we could all throw away our appliances? Of course! Is it realistic? Not in the slightest. Still, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make small changes for the better of the planet. The appliances might stay put, yet there is no need to waste energy. By simply turning them all down, you can cut your output in half and reduce the usage of fossil fuels. It’s a basic tip, but the most practical pieces of advice are never complicated.

Use More Wood

As far as materials go, wood isn’t very popular in modern homes. In the past, old homes used wood all the time because it was cheap and looked nice. Nowadays, there are newer, fancier materials available. The problem with these new supplies is that they aren’t as helpful to the environment. You might not believe it, but wood has a unique ability to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. Seen as your carbon footprint is a huge deal, this ability is cool and practical. Also, wood from a reputable supplier like George Hill Timber is durable and lasts longer. That means there is no need to throw it away and buy more.

Green tips for an eco friendly home


Go Online

Of course, cutting down trees isn’t good for the planet because they produce oxygen and release carbon. A steady amount of logging is fine, but too much is an issue. So, it’s time to cut down (no pun intended) on your paper usage by going online. All of the paper statements that you get from the bank or your energy suppliers are available online. Also, almost every major newspaper outlet has a website that you can use for free. Today, the internet makes going paperless a lot easier.

Open The Curtains

It’s summer, which means there is no need to turn the thermostat up any longer. The heat from outside can warm your home as long as you let it in. The trick is to open the curtains whenever the sun is shining. The sun’s UV rays should bathe your home in swathes of sunshine, which in turn should heat the entire house. Even if it only lasts for a short while, it’s a start. The more you do it, the less you will use the central heating.

Of course, that is music to the ears of the environment.

This is a collaborative post


Disney A Twisted Tale – 3 New Books

A Twisted Tale

I had a book token that was burning a hole in my purse. When we went on holiday I nipped into a WHSmith and bought three Disney A Twisted Tale books.
I’d seen them on some book haul YouTube videos and had to get them.

Of course, I should have checked GoodReads before I bought them because none of them seems to have very good reviews!

Here’s what Goodreads says about Disney’s A Twisted Tale series:

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed?

The first is A Whole New World.

A Twisted Tale A Whole New World

This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again

The second is Once Upon A Dream

A Twisted Tale Once Upon A Dream

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

It should be simple—a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

The third is As Old As Time

A Twisted Tale As Old As Time

What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns—a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.

But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind—images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

I’m hoping that lots of the reviewers are wrong because I really want to love this series. The idea of it really appeals to me.


A Knights’ Trail, Lincoln – The Girls’ Found Them All!

Lincoln Knights’ Trail

Kaycee, her friend Emma and my niece, Lily-May spent the day in Lincoln doing the Knights’ Trail.  If you don’t know what it is, here’s the blurb from the website:

Follow the Lincoln Knights’ Trail – 36 sculptures across Lincoln city centre – to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln and the sealing of the Charter of the Forest.

“The Battle of Lincoln, one of the most decisive in English history, meant that England would be ruled by the Angevin, not the Capetian dynasty.”
— Professor David Carpenter

Last year we had Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail that celebrated 800 years of the Magna Carter.

Museum Of Lincolnshire Life

36 Knights have been placed around Lincoln city centre and the aim is to find them all. A leaflet can be picked up from The Museum of Lincolnshire Life that shows where all the Knights’ are. When you find each Knight you will see a symbol on it somewhere. Once you’ve found the symbol, you check the code sheet and write the corresponding word in your leaflet.

When you’ve found them all, you return your leaflet (there are numerous places to hand them in) to receive a badge and a certificate.

It took them all day to find them. They had a great day even though they were shattered when they’d done! 🙂

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Finished Raised Bed – Finally! :o) – Garden Update

Finished Raised Bed


When I saw raised beds on Pinterest, I knew I had to have one. We had some in our old garden but they were quite small. I wanted a high one. The super wonderful husband built me one and I absolutely LOVE it 🙂

It’s taken about a month to build it, fill it and plant it. It’s had to be fitted in with the hundred other things we’ve had to do. We also had to work around the weather. You can’t be mixing sand and cement in the rain!

I think the part I enjoyed the most was going shopping on Thursday for the plants and stones. I’d saved my vouchers from Mother’s Day for just this occasion.
We also picked up a unicorn ornament. Ella loves unicorns and we’re planning on making little fairy gardens all over the garden when we’re done. Ella said unicorns are magical like fairies 🙂


Garden border before


Finished Raised Bed

Finished Raised Bed Finished Raised Bed Finished Raised Bed Finished Raised Bed Finished Raised Bed Finished Raised Bed Finished Raised Bed

We’ve left some holes in the brickwork at the front so we can put succulents in them and we’re going to get some more trailing plants to trail down down the front.

I love how rustic it looks. We didn’t want a perfectly built wall with new bricks. We’ve used realy old bricks from Ant’s mum’s garden.
I’m really happy with everything and I can’t wait until the plants start to fill out 🙂

A Garden Can Be A Lot More Than A Patch Of Grass

Not Just A Patch Of Grass

It’s a crisis that simply can’t be ignored! There’s an epidemic of underused gardens all over the country, and it’s a crying shame. A lot of people seem to believe that their garden is nothing more than a patch of grass and a place to occasionally enjoy the sun for a few minutes before going back inside. Well, that’s not something that’s going to stand. Here, we’re going to take a look at all the fantastic ideas you can use as a bit of inspiration to create a garden that’s worth the space it takes up.


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Your chance to connect to nature

It’s something that a lot of people bemoan from time to time. They feel like they’re surrounded by all the trappings of man and civilization and feel like they’re losing touch with the world of nature. It’s why so many people go hiking and camping. But you can lose that disconnect within the comfort of your own garden. Working on those green thumbs and cultivating your own bits of life is a big part of that. But even if you don’t want to, you can get closer to nature by creating a garden that serves as a great habitat for some local nature, too. Whether it’s installing a pond that provides a great place for frogs to spawn or a hedgehog house to give our spiky friends a winter home, there’s a lot you can do to invite nature into your garden.

A grocery store

You might like to get a little more use from your garden, yourself, never mind other creatures. It’s a habit that fell out of style big time, but now it’s coming back. More and more people are starting to grow their own food in their garden. There’s something to be said for the satisfaction of creating a meal that uses your own seasoning, never mind the money that can be saved on source truly the freshest ingredients on the market, plucking them straight from soil to pot.

fountain garden grass

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Your zen haven

Perhaps you don’t want to do all that work, however. There’s nothing wrong with that, some would prefer a place they can relax in. Although it’s outdoors, your garden could serve as one of the most relaxing places of the home, insulated from the outside world. Adding some hedges instead of fences can give you some great soundproofing for the garden, for instance. Meanwhile, the sound of water features has proven the perfect touch to make gardens all the more relaxing. You don’t need to go to the huge effort of creating a livable space, either. Having a tidy place to keep some deck chairs or even to hang a hammock can give you just the amount of space you need to lie back and relax.

A home away from home

When you have a rather full home or you’re used to having company, sometimes the house itself isn’t exactly the most relaxing space. If you want an area that’s a little more private, you don’t necessarily have to retreat to your bedroom. Instead, if you have space, why not consider the log cabins you can easily get fit in your garden? A summer house in your own garden can provide a great social hub when you have folks over, or it can be just the place to retreat to when you would like to do something like read a book or play some music without disturbing or being disturbed by the others in the house.

tea in the garden

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The perfect social spot

Of course, if socializing if your main objective, then doing it indoors isn’t always the best option. Especially in the heat of summer, you want a place where you can safely and cleanly enjoy the weather while making sure everyone has somewhere comfortable to sit and enjoy a drink or a meal. To that end, creating livable space in the garden isn’t all that difficult. If you’re willing to get hands-on, DIY raised decking can cost you a lot less than options like getting a patio installed. From there, it’s all about choosing the décor for your outdoor space. It’s as much of a “room” as anywhere inside the home. It’s a good idea to get an awning for the home so that the area’s a little more protected from the elements on most days as well.

A bit of brightness

Perhaps you’re not entirely bothered about how much time you actually spend in the garden. You might, however, see it as an opportunity to really show off your style to the world. Adding a bit of kerb appeal to the home isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, either. It can also add some genuine value to it, so if you were to ever consider selling, you might have a much easier time of it. Taking the time to add some vertical planters or to paint the front door and create a more welcoming entrance can really give the garden the look of the threshold of the home.


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A summer night spot

When you think of spending time in the garden, the chances are that you’re imagining sunny summer and spring days. But some of us are more nocturnal creatures and the garden can be just as good for that. For instance, you can choose flowers perfect for a night garden like irises and lilies that seem to glow under the moonlight and the stars. But you can also make it a much more pleasing spot to enjoy the night by adding some external heating a little extra lighting. A garden can be the perfect place to spend on those clear, chilly nights just as summer’s starting to lead into autumn, enjoying earlier nights without having to go in earlier.

Whether you love gardening, having a place to spend some time, or the idea of creating your own little ecosystem, the garden is the best place for it. Hopefully, the tips above help you fall in love with what your garden can be, not what it is right now.


Buddy Band 2 – Activ8rlives – Review

Buddy Band 2


I reviewed the Activ8rlives app recently and loved the food diary features.  The people at Activ8rlives got in touch and asked if I’d like to review a Buddy Band 2. Of course, I said yes.

The Buddy Band tracks your steps, quality of sleep, calories used, daily distance and active minutes. I haven’t managed to hit my daily target of 10,000 steps yet but I will get there!

It comes with 3 different coloured straps, a USB magnetised charger and a belt clip. I chose the pink wristband 🙂


I love the charger. The wire is a great size for me as it sits next to my laptop on my laptop table and doesn’t get in the way.

Buddy Band 2

It connects to the Activ8rlives app on your smartphone and transfers the data via Bluetooth.

Tracking Sleep

At the moment, I’m most interested in the sleep data because I’ve been waking with a headache most mornings. I put it down to poor sleep but it seems my sleep quality is quite high.
You can set the band to go into sleep mode and come out of sleep mode at set times. I didn’t set mine because I don’t go to bed at the same time every night.

To set it to sleep mode manually, you just have to hold your finger on the button on the front for 5 seconds. You do the same to take it out of sleep mode in the morning. I just need to remember to do it when I wake up!

Buddy Band 2

The dashboard shows you all the data at a glance

Buddy Band 2

Tracking Steps

I like that it compares your steps to the previous day and tells you whether you’ve done more or less.  I can’t wait to hit 10,000 steps for the first time. The band buzzed at me the other day so I checked it to find out why and it turns out I’d hit the halfway mark for the first time. It spurred me on to do more steps!

Buddy Band 2


There are a couple of downsides to mention. I had a cheap band before (cost less than £20) and it connected easily to my phone and showed text messages when they came in. It also buzzed when my phone rang.

I tried to set it up on the Buddy Band but it hasn’t worked (I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S6) which is a bit disappointing. I often miss calls, especially when I’m in the supermarket. The phone is in my bag and I’m so busy concentrating on shopping (!) that I don’t hear it. It was great to be buzzed on the wrist when it rang!

The other thing is the sensitive button on the front. My other band worked by tapping the screen and wasn’t as sensitive as this button.
I keep catching it on other parts of my body. The other morning, at just gone 6 am, it was set to sleep mode and while I was asleep, I put my head on my arm. It woke me up because it buzzed and was taken out of sleep mode!

Apart from that, I do prefer it to my old band (which now belongs to Kaycee!).

Please Note: I was sent the product in return for an honest for review.

Bathroom Improvement Tips

When you move into a new place, you can instantly see the decorating potential for each room as you start to unpack. However, the bathroom seems to be the undisputed exception to this rule. While you might find yourself routinely rearranging furniture in the living room, reorganising your kitchen, and making little changes to the bedroom, the bathroom looks exactly the same as when you moved in. This might be because you feel that, being such a small space, there’s not much you can do with the bathroom. But believe it or not, the bathroom has just as much decorating potential as the rest of the house. Keep reading for some simple bathroom makeover tips.

Bathroom Improvement

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Most bathrooms are decorated with tiles because they are easier to clean and maintain than paint or wallpaper, particularly when you factor in the excessive steam that will come from the shower. However, this means that changing the colour scheme in your bathroom will be really time consuming and expensive, or so you think. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on taking them down and putting up new ones. Removable adhesive tiles are quick and easy to put up, and they don’t damage the walls when you take them down. This is a great feature when you’re renting, or when you want to redecorate again.

Towel radiator

If you have a particularly small bathroom, a towel radiator is the perfect way to keep the space warm, especially during the winter months. They fit tightly on the wall, can squeeze into those awkward corners and do not sit on the floor taking up essential space like a standard radiator would. The design of radiators has come a long way, so look on websites like Warmehaus for a contemporary design that complements the style you’re going for. You’ll enjoy taking baths a lot more once you know you won’t be cold getting out of the tub.


A new lampshade can dramatically alter the look of the room for the better. Glass lampshades are a great place to start with this. They won’t get damaged by steam, and are fantastically easy to wipe down if they become dirty, unlike a standard fabric lampshade. Whilst it’s easy to think of glass lampshades as plain, there are hundreds of different styles available to you: from minimalistic black and white, to bold, powerful colours, and even nautical designs.


Updating the countertops can change the whole appearance of the bathroom in just one step. Rather than plain old white, which easily shows up the dirt, there are many other options available. Despite being expensive, granite countertops are worth considering. A quick wipe-down with warm water is all it needs to stay clean, and they are so durable and low-maintenance that you’ll never need to replace them. Each granite worktop has patterns and whirls that are as unique as someone’s signature. Laminate glass is also easy to clean, and it can give your bathroom and sleek, modern look.

This is a collaborative post

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