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January 2019

Holiday Purchases – Ideas On How To Get Them Home

Taking a holiday abroad can be a shopper’s idea of heaven. Currency exchange rates may be in your favour, depending on the country you’re visiting and you may be tempted to buy lots of new things without thinking about how you’re going to get it all home.
Here are some tips to help get your holiday purchases home without spending too much money.

Pack An Extra Bag For New Clothes

Packing a foldable duffle bag inside your regular luggage can be a great way to get your holiday buys, home.
If you travel light with the intention of purchasing new clothes while on holiday, you could find many bargains and refresh your wardrobe for a fraction of the cost.

Be aware of your luggage allowance, however, or you may end up making a loss rather than bagging bargains if you’re hit with excess baggage charges.

man at airport with his feet on oh his luggage - holiday purchases

What About Bigger Purchases?

If the item you want to buy won’t fit in your duffle bag, for instance, you spy two gorgeous end tables and a rug that would fit in with your living room decor perfectly and you just have to have them, you’ll need to plan another way to get them home.

Some hotels offer a packing and shipping service, however, be sure to check all the costs involved because it can be more expensive than finding your own solution.

box with Fragile stickers on

Check with the vendor first to see if they offer shipping services and at what price. They may have deals with a local courier if they’re regularly selling to tourists.

One way to ensure the safe delivery of your new furniture would be to use a shipping company like Parcel2Go which is an International Courier with very competitive rates.
Online tracking is available and for a few pence, you can cover your parcel against damage or loss.

Enjoy Your Shopping, But Stay In Budget

One final thought to share with you; when on holiday we’re much more relaxed about spending and the prices we’re willing to pay, with this in mind, make sure your purchases are actually bargains. You don’t want to end up regretting all the money you’ve spent when you get back home!


This is a collaborative post

Friend Request – Book Review #1

Well, my Goodreads challenge is not off to the flying start I was hoping for! I seem to be having trouble finding any time to sit and read at the moment which means I’m already 1 week behind.
It was really annoying only being able to read Friend Request for about 10 minutes a night because I was itching to find out what really happened back at the school leavers party!

Hopefully, things will start calming down again and I’ll be able to catch up soon 🙂

Friend Request

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

My Thoughts

I’ve had this book for a while. I knew it was going to be the first on my list for my 2019 Goodreads challenge.
Any books with social media at the heart are for me. I do love being able to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away from me, but I also know it can be a dangerous place.
Anyone can get any Facebook profile they like. It’s always being used in ways it was not designed for and it can be a powerful tool for the bullies out there.

Friend Request is about bullying in school, but where we are usually told the story from the victim’s point of view, this time we’re hearing from one of the bullies.
I wouldn’t have thought I’d have much sympathy for a bully, but I did feel for Louise and liked the person she had grown into.

She was full of remorse for her actions and her behaviour back in school has had a negative impact on the rest of her life, just like it can with the victim and I found it refreshing to see it from this angle.

I’ll be on the lookout for more Laura Marshall books.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall book cover

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 1 book read


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5 Things You Can Do In Your Garden During Winter

At this time of year, we can start to feel a little down; the pretty, sparkling lights of December have been packed away for another year and the cold, drab days of January feel like they’ll never end.
For the green-fingered people amongst us, however, January can be an exciting time. Spring is just around the corner and the evidence of this is all around the Winter garden.

It’s the perfect time to be out there doing those jobs that get put off during the busier Summer and Autumn months and for the bargain hunters, the January sales can be a great time to replace any old tools and equipment you might need.
Places like SGS Engineering have an excellent selection of garden power tools should any of yours need replacing.

Snowdrop in a WInter garden

Things To Do In The Winter Garden

Plant bare-root plants

Bare-root plants are plants that are sold without any soil around the roots. During Winter these plants are dormant and planting them in Winter means they should establish well.
The tops of the plants often look dead, but beneath the soil, the roots are still doing their thing!

The kind of plants that are ideal for planting at this time of year are:

  • Shrubs
  • Trees including fruit trees
  • Roses
  • Hedge plants like box and privet

Plant Winter Containers

There are lots of plants that flower and look great during Winter. Using containers means you can change them out each season.

Good plants for Winter containers include:

  • Hellebores
  • Crocus
  • Snowdrops
  • Wintergreen
  • Winter-flowering pansy
  • Cyclamen

Lots of grasses and heathers can also be used with great effect in Winter containers.

Winter flowers container

Organize Seeds

Unless you’re super organised throughout the year, half-empty seed packets can end up everywhere.
A quick Google search will bring up many different ways to get your seed packets in order ready for Spring.

Deadhead And Prune

Many plants and trees are dormant in Winter so it’s a great time to deadhead and prune them. Pruning encourages growth and pruning fruit trees means you’ll be rewarded with better quality fruits.

pruning a tree

Start Planting Seeds

There are lots of seeds you can plant now which will give you beautiful flowers and flavourful herbs further on in the year. Here are just a few:

  • Sweet peas
  • Dahlias
  • Basil
  • Chillis
  • Aubergines
  • Delphinium

Be aware, however, that seeds planted in January will need more time and care spent on them if they’re to survive and flourish.

Plenty More To Be Getting On With!

There are plenty more jobs you can be doing in the garden during these colder months, such as giving your greenhouse a good sort out and clean.

It may seem like a long time until Spring, but it will be here before we know it!


This is a collaborative post.

How To Relax On Holiday

It’s not always easy to relax properly at home; knowing what is still to be done can make it difficult. Taking a break and going away on holiday can be the ideal way to ensure that we feel better and can be more productive when we return. Here are some of the best ways to relax when we’re away from home so that we can be our best selves when we get back.

planning a holiday - sunglasses, camera, book, coconut with a straw in it, sunhat

Choose The Right Accommodation

Some people find that they can relax best in their own space where they can be completely at ease. They like to be in control of the food they eat and how it is prepared, and they like to be able to do as much or as little as they choose. If this is the case, try to find the right type of accommodation in order to be as free as possible. Booking villa holidays in Cyprus could suit you perfectly, as you won’t be as restricted as you might be in a hotel, for example. Cyprus as a holiday destination can provide sun, sea, and fun for the entire family, so you can catch some rays in your own private space and really give yourself the chance to relax. Spend your days in your villa or exploring attractions such as Aphrodite’s rock or the Troodos mountains.

Don’t Be Too Organised

Being organised is a good thing in many cases, and planning ahead of time can be the ideal way to ensure that everything goes well. However, when it comes to relaxing on your holiday, it can sometimes be better just to ‘go with the flow’ and allow your plans to happen naturally and organically. Too much planning ahead of time can mean that you don’t enjoy yourself as much as you should because you are too focused on making sure everything goes well.

Plan the beginning and end of your holiday so that you can relax regarding travel arrangements, and leave most other things until you arrive and even then, make sure your plans are flexible.

books on a table by the beach - a good way to relax on holiday

Be Careful In The Sun

Heading off on a hot holiday in the sun where you can lie on the beach or perhaps around the pool in your hotel or villa is a wonderful thing, and getting away from work and home stresses can be the best way to relax. However, if you aren’t careful in the sun, then you might find that you become unwell through sunstroke or sunburn. If this happens you won’t feel relaxed – you will be ill or in pain.

To be safe in the sun and be sure of a relaxing time on holiday, you should:

  • Wear suitable sun scream
  • Re-apply your sun cream every three to four hours, and more often if you go swimming
  • Stay out of the sun when it is at its hottest
  • Wear a hat and protective clothing where possible

Have A Social Media Break

No matter how much time you currently spend on social media, try to have a complete break when you are on holiday. Not constantly trying to take the ideal picture for Instagram, or attempting to keep up with what family and friends are doing on Facebook will make your holiday much more enjoyable.

When you are on a break, you should enjoy the moment, especially if you are with your family. Leave social media for when you get back, and enjoy your time without it.

reax on holiday by taking a social media break - laptop with 'On vacation' written on the screen

Try Somewhere New

Of course, a holiday should be about relaxing, but it also should be a time to find out more about yourself, if you can. For instance, try a new activity, or immerse yourself into a new culture by trying different cuisines and getting to know the locals. For some, relaxing on a beach is enough, but for others, finding peace often comes with exploring the new and unknown and building more memories. You could attempt to learn the basics of a new language, or spend your time learning about the history of the area you are visiting. These are great ways to expand your mind and feel fulfilled and refreshed from your holiday.

If you are looking for ways to try something new on holiday, consider a new destination you haven’t yet experienced and test your fears by taking on an activity such as a water sport, or skiing. Sometimes the best memories to be made are through trial and error. This can give you the confidence to reset and be your best self when you return.

This is a collaborative post

3 Ways To Decrease The Hair On Your Body

Excessive hair growth on the body or face is normal as a result of male hormones called androgens. If you want to decrease the hair on your body, you can either use natural methods at home or hire a professional to do it for you.

hair removal electric shaver

While some might consider weight loss as an effective way of reducing the amount of hair on their body, sometimes this is not the best solution, especially if you have no issue with your body size. But, there are other ways that you can decrease the hair on your body. Below are 3 ways.

Use laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is a great way of reducing the hair on your body though it isn’t permanent. However, you should be ready to go for several treatments before you notice any results. The procedure can also be quite costly due to the repeated sessions, but you can be sure to get long-lasting results if you find the right practitioner.

The procedure is quick and a single treatment can decrease many hair follicles. Find a certified laser hair removal practitioner at Body Detail; consult about the treatments, cost as well as the results for the best experience.

Use simple home hair removal methods

There are simple ways that you can decrease the amount of hair in the comfort of your home, which includes shaving using a razor or electric shaver, waxing, tweezing or threading. Though you don’t need an expert when using a razor, you may need to shave frequently. Use a soothing cream to smoothen your skin.

Tweezing or threading involves plucking the hair out at the root. You can either use tweezers or find someone to do the threading. But, these methods can cause pain and redness so be extra careful when using them. Waxing uses melted wax and is normally done in salons, but it can cause pain and redness.

hair removal wax

Opt for electrolysis

Electrolysis is a non-invasive procedure which entails the use of a needle which is inserted into the body part you intend to remove hairs and releasing an electric current which destroys its growth. When going for electrolysis, look for an electrologist who is licensed and certified. This will ensure that you undergo a safe and right treatment. Electrolysis is relatively non-invasive, but there are some risks involved.

Electrolysis can be quite pricey, so pick out the right electrologist to ensure that you get the best service. Consider checking online reviews for the best electrologist within your locality and then further inquire about their procedures. If they use electronic tweezers or photo epilators, then look for an alternative since these methods are not permanent. Avoid methods like shaving, waxing or plucking the hair you intend to be removed before going for the procedure.

Since hair growth is often caused by hormones, genes or medication, you need to be cautious of what you are taking. Certain drugs, mostly those containing hormones like anabolic steroids have the ability to change the hormone levels in your system which promotes grow unwanted hair on body parts such as your face. These spurs hair growth so be careful to avoid taking anything that will promote its growth.

This is a collaborative post

Hot Android Apps for Slot Machine Enthusiasts

If you love playing the slot machines whenever you head out to gambling meccas like Las Vegas, you can still enjoy the fun of slot machines on your smartphone when you head home. There are a growing number of Android apps for gambling enthusiasts who […]

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I Know You’ve Heard It Before, But….

It really is a new start for me this year on my Slimming World journey. I kept 7 and a half stone off for the best part of 4 years but over the last 2 years, I’ve gained 4 and a half stones back.

In November last year, I was very disheartened with it all and I took target to allow me to relax a bit and not be focused on failing to lose weight every week.
I really enjoyed Christmas and the New Year, so much so that over 5-6 weeks (not totally sure and not focusing on it either!) I put 1 and a half stone on.
When I weighed last week my total loss was only 3 stones and 1.5lbs.

We had new packs this year because there have been a few changes to the plan and also because Slimming World is 50 this year.
It seems to have spurred us all on to really go for it this year and I’m happy to say I lost 6.5lbs today. This gave me my 3 and a half stone award back.

I’m planning on losing 3lb this week and next week so I can get my 4 stone award back 🙂

I’ve got myself a notebook so I can record my syns and my body magic efforts; I used to do a lot more walking when I first joined SW so I want to get my exercise levels back up.

Slimming World - my notebook to record syns and exercise


Sunday Photo – Nearly Packed Christmas Away

13 Christmas storage boxes- nearly packed Christmas away

I’m on day 2 of getting Christmas packed away and I’m still not done! Good job I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow because the whole house looks like a bomb has hit it!

I usually like to get it all packed away on the 2nd, but this year I’ve just kept putting it off because it’s such a big job. We have around 20 storage boxes and everything has to be packed in the correct numbered box to make it easier next Christmas when it’s time to get them all down again.

Doing it this way means we only get down the boxes we need at the right time of the month. The boxes that hold all the Christmas Eve buffet things and the ones that hold the Christmas dinner sets etc can be left in the loft until just before Christmas Eve. This means we don’t have them hanging around all month.

Sunday Photos 

1 Day 12 Pics January 2019

Well, I failed my first 1 day 12 pics of January 2019! I’ve been trying to pack away Christmas all day and because I was so busy and because I was doing much the same job all day, sometimes I forgot to take a photo and sometimes I didn’t really have anything to photograph!

I managed 10 photos I think and I’ll add them to the post tomorrow because right now, I’m just too tired!

1 Day 12 Pics January 2019 – 1

1 day 12 pics January 2019 - first coffee of the day
First coffee of the morning and I’m trying not to think about the huge task I have ahead of me. It usually takes a couple of days to pack Christmas away and I can’t be bothered to start!


excel spreadsheet for my boxes of Christmas decorations
My excel spreadsheet to help me keep my Christmas boxes organised


Christmas storage boxes
Some of our Christmas storage boxes


Watching Who wants to be a millionaire
Taking a break while we have lunch and watch Who wants to be a millionaire?


another coffee, this time in my winnie the pooh mug
Another coffee, this time in my Winnie the Pooh mug


candles burning
These candles I had for Christmas smell wonderful


Christmas decorations made by the children
I found a tin of Christmas decorations that the children have made over the years. I’m keeping them safe because they’re all too old to be making things like this in school and college anymore!


the Christmas tree is still up
I didn’t get around to the tree. I did manage to pack all the kitchen Christmas things away, though 🙂


starting a new cross stitch kit
Going to do the rest tomorrow and tonight, to help me relax, I’m starting a new cross stitch kit. This is a stamped kit and it’s the first time I’ve tried a stamped one. It takes a little getting used to but I think I’m going to enjoy doing it.

A Short History of Air Conditioning and Air Conditioners

ceiling fan

How many air conditioning units do you have installed in the various facets of your everyday life? Do you have one in your car? How many are there in your home? How many in your office space or, just in general, in the place you work at?

Chances are that there is a handful. We all depend on our AC systems to keep our brains from boiling over and out through our ears when the suffocating heat of summer rolls along. But how much do you actually know about these ingenious devices? We did a little digging and put together this interesting overview of their history. Jump right in!

In the ancient days

The oldest thing that was any little bit similar to the modern solution has been found in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing lots of stuff we use today – even perfume, which you can read about in this article.

They would moisten some reeds by trickling water into them and then hang them over the windows. The breeze going through these moist reeds would be nicely cooled, plus it kept the air in their homes humid, which you can imagine was a lifesaver for these folks living in the desert.

If you boil the idea of air conditioning down to its barest essentials, however, you will find that it has been applied even in the prehistoric age – our cave-dwelling ancestors did have enough brains about them to come up with the concept of using snow, ice, and cold water to cool off. Gathering ice in the winter and then storing it in a cold place to save for use in the summertime became a legit business in the late seventeenth century, and then sometime later the “ice harvest” was replaced by mechanics, i.e. by the ice-making machines.

In our own times

The first electrical air conditioning unit is credited to an American engineer and inventor called Willis Haviland Carrier. He was hired by a printing plant from Brooklyn, NY to solve an application problem, and for this job, he started playing around with different ways of humidity control.

He developed the cold water coils system in 1902, and in the 1920s the air conditioner became adapted and marketed for home use. About a decade later, in 1933 to be precise, his business, the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, revised this model and significantly improved it.

They introduced a condensing unit, driven by belt mechanics, with an associated “blower”, added an evaporator coil to the system, and enabled it for mechanical controls.

To read more about Willis Haviland Carrier and his famous invention, check out this link:

air conditioning units

The modern AC solutions still follow this model and its basic science, although, admittedly, with much more sophisticated mechanization and many more physical and electronic components.

Nowadays, the elements that have become mandatory considerations include factors such as quieter performance, energy efficiency, more environmentally friendly materials, sophisticated electronic sensors, advanced vapor compression systems, delicate diagnostics, and more seamless, more convenient controls.

In order to improve the quality of air conditioning services and make them more environmentally conscious in our severely polluted twenty-first-century reality, the U.S. Department of Energy and other equivalent legal bodies throughout the world have consistently been setting progressively more demanding efficiency standards, driving a significant decrease in meaningless consumption of energy.

As a consequence, many of the biggest manufacturers of air conditioning systems have really put their heads, wallets, and resources together, and have increased their SEER rates (i.e. their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) to significantly above the latest standards. This let them achieve the quadruple goal of making their business better for the environment, helping their customers save on energy costs, building their own reputation, and ultimately getting better sales.

The new wave: smart air conditioning

Aiming for even better efficiency rates and even greater convenience, developers and manufacturers have turned their attention to the thermostat. The traditional mechanical contraption that our grandparents had mounted on their walls has been replaced by the sleek diagnostic and control tools that we see in modern homes.

These neat gadgets render the adjustments of the air flow systems and compressors automatic, using microprocessors. This allows us to change our air conditioners’ settings and adjust their various functions remotely, be it from another room or from the other side of town or state. All we need is a computer connected to a stable internet signal, or a web-enabled mobile phone (which basically everyone has these days, one or the other, in some shape or form). You can even arrange to get alerts via email or text message when you need to replace a filter or arrange a routine inspection.

One ambitious possible plan for the future is to make the smart AC units and their related thermostats connect to the electric grid on the local or even national level. This would allow each unit to adjust its functions according to the relevant geography, and homeowners could regulate their systems in real time, in accordance with the changing weather conditions.

The wide-scale significance of AC units in homes

Air conditioners make more of an impact than just making our lives more comfortable in the summer heat. We already covered some of those above, in terms of energy efficiency and increased environmental awareness on the part of the manufacturing companies. But there is more.

According to the Energy Information Administration of America, about eighty per cent of American homes have an air conditioner installed, and these are, for the most part, “central system” unit types. This is actually an enormous number and a very important trend: it changed even the prevalent architectural design in the modern world.

Thanks to air conditioners, we can have a house without a porch, terrace, or balcony, or an office without any windows. They also enable people to settle, live, and work in areas with a terribly hot climate and uncomfortably humid atmosphere.


This is a collaborative post

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