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January 2019

How To Wind Down After A Super-Stressful Day

girl relaxing on the bed - wind down after a stressful day


Life Is Stressful!!!


There, we said it, not that you needed reminding. And some days are more stressful than others. Your boss can be a pain, your work colleagues can be a drain, and there may be other stresses that are causing you feelings of anxiety and aggravation.


Just what are you supposed to do with all of the pent-up feelings you have inside of you at the end of the day? We haven’t got all of the answers, but we do have some suggestions.


#1: Do something before you go home


Assuming your stresses were caused by work or something else outside of your home life, do something before you step back through your front door. You might only be worrying and fretting at home otherwise, and that will scupper your relaxation time. Instead, go for a walk or head to the gym, and engage in some light exercise to release those feel-good chemicals into your brain. Or visit a friend, have a cuppa, and offload your stresses if you need to, or just have a good laugh, and release your negative feelings.  By doing both of these things (or something else if you prefer), you might be able to get some perspective on your stress and start the unwinding process.


#2: Distract yourself at home


Do something, anything, that will take your mind off your stress and onto something else. So, you might get out in the garden to check on your plants and perennials. Or you might want to pick up a book or a magazine and fill your mind with something other than your worries. You might even do the housework, as not only will this burn off your pent-up energy as you exercise your body, but you will also achieve a cleaner house, which should go some way towards helping you relax. By distracting yourself, even for only a few minutes, you can step away from your stresses and into a better mindset.


#3: Do something that will totally relax you


It’s not easy to relax, especially if your stresses are playing on your mind, but it is possible. So, after starting the unwinding process as mentioned, you might then want to do something that will help you escape the day. You could take a detoxifying bath, as an example, filling it with your favourite bath salts, and surrounding yourself with aromatherapy candles to relax all of your senses. Alternatively, you might want to invest in a floatation tank. Commonly used in commercial premises, such as at your local spa, they can also be installed at home. By entering into sensory deprivation, you can enter that meditative state without any sight or sound to distract you, and with the warm water gently lifting your body, your stresses should melt away. For more, check out this guide to floatation tanks. And if there is anything else that you know will relax you, then go for it! Provided you are able to escape from the stresses of the day, use any means necessary to relax your body and mind, even if that’s sitting in front of the television with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates!


What do you do to unwind after a stressful day? Let us know your ideas, for the benefit of all of our readers looking to relax. We can’t escape stress, but we can manage it, so follow our advice, and then share your thoughts with us.

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Prawn Jambalaya – Slimming World Recipe

I love prawns. Ella loves prawns. I don’t think anyone else in the house likes prawns and this is a spicy prawn recipe so I don’t think even Ella will like this one. Which can only mean 1 thing – more prawn jambalaya for me!!

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Tips For Starting Your Gardening Adventure

potting up plants - starting your gardening adventure

Photo by rawpixel from Pixabay


Spending time in your garden is one of the best ways to get your daily dose of daylight and to keep active. There are many things that you can do once you’re out there, so with that in mind, we are going to take a look at what your garden wants you to do and how you can go about doing those things. These are some recommendations for you as well ideas on how to make the most of your outside space.




For starters, let’s take a look at some of the food options that you can grow at home with relative ease. There will be some of you out there who are experts at planting and nurturing crops, but here we are mostly focussed on some of the easier parts of growing your own fruit and vegetables.


You’re going to need to start with the seeds with particular attention to their individual requirements. This could range from needing to be pot planted first before being transported to the ground, to requiring a certain type of soil or exposure to sunlight. It is important to take heed of this instructions so that you get the most out of your food growing experience. The types of food that we are talking about here include strawberries, potatoes, peas, runner beans, and salad leaves. These are all reasonably straightforward to grow in the back garden.


Before you do set off on the adventure of growing your own fruits and vegetables, you might want to ask yourself if you have the right equipment? You will likely need to have general garden tools and possibly even a place to start the growing process – wooden greenhouses and the like are helpful for this process.


colourful vegetablesPhoto by jill111 from Pixabay




In addition to growing fruits and vegetables in your garden, you should be looking to add lots of different colours and smells. One of the great joys of having your own outside space is the ability to make it look how you want it to. If you’re a fan of a certain type of flower then find different variants of it or other styles that will complement it. For example, poppy lovers can have colours ranging from red to white and even purple.


If it is smells you are after then you might not want to look much further than lavender. It is a reasonably straightforward plant to grow and can be surrounded by echinacea, aster, and sedum to create a beautiful arrangement. And that really is the aim of any gardener, to create something that isn’t only practical but also enjoyable. While you will have a sense of accomplishment when you are tucking into your homegrown potatoes, you are going to want to be able to have a walk around the garden to enjoy your plants.


Whatever you decide to do with your garden, make sure it meets your requirements. We can all be a little bit guilty of trying to think for someone else, but when it comes to your garden only your opinion matters – that is unless you are sharing it with someone else of course then you should probably consider them too!

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Alternative Holiday Destinations For 2019

It’s the time of year when we start thinking about the Summer holiday and wondering where to go this year.
While it’s nice to return to the same holiday destination year after year, sometimes it’s nicer to try something new.
Below are some alternative holiday destinations you may not have thought about.

Tours To India

If you’re the kind of person who wants more from a holiday than just a great tan, you might like a touring holiday.

Whether you want to visit iconic landmarks, marvel at the wonderful wildlife or cruise down the river Hoogly, with escorted tours to India from Jules Verne, you’ll be shown places you never knew existed.


Taj Mahal India

Fairy Pools – Isle of Skye

These magical pools on the Isle of Skye are becoming more and more popular as people share their holiday snaps online.
The walk to the pools is rated as a short length, medium difficulty walk that takes about 40 minutes with no stops.

Whether you want to go camping, stay at a B&B or go self-catering, there is plenty of choice on the Isle of Skye.

Alternative holiday destinations - The Fairy Pools Isle of Skye


For a more adventurous holiday, Belize is an excellent choice. You can go caving, check out Mayan temples or seek out the wildlife in one of the many nature reserves.

Snorkelling or scuba diving will take you to see the delightful underwater world in the second longest barrier reef in the world.

turtle in the sea


Formentera is the smallest of the Balearic islands and only half an hour ferry ride away from Ibiza. However, unlike Ibiza, Formentera is a quiet holiday destination and the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Take a leisurely bike ride over the flat terrain before heading off to laze away the afternoon reading a book on the beach.



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Turning Your Living Room into an Inviting Space

It doesn’t matter what shape or size your living room may be, there are so many ways in which you can turn the space into a warm and welcoming area for you and your family to enjoy.  Living rooms are often one of the most used rooms within the home, with constant activity, so it’s essential that the space feels inviting and homely. The way you decorate and furnish a room play huge parts in achieving this, so it’s always worth taking a step back and figuring out exactly what you need to do to make it work for your home.

Create a Bold Focal Point

Get the conversation flowing from the moment you enter the room with a bold focal point. By creating a focal point within a room, you are able to draw the space together to meet at one point, which instantly helps the room to flow and feel complete. There are different ways in which you can create a focal point, with the most popular being with a piece of furniture. You often find that the television is a great focal point, as it’s more often than not the largest piece of furniture within the room. By introducing a chic oak TV stand, you can position your TV pride of place in the centre of the room and there you have your bold focal point. Another great way to create a focal point is with artwork. Art is a feature that can bring a room to life, and with a bold display of artwork, you can create an aesthetic that will pop with character. By introducing art to your home, you are also able to express your own personal style and create an atmosphere within your home that reflects your personality.

tv in living room

Dress the Coffee Table

Every living room needs a coffee table. The coffee table is a concrete feature within the living room that provides you with essential storage space, as well as a surface area to display specific items. Dress your coffee table with items that you feel your living room needs. From a place to position the TV remotes, to a bowl of nuts or a box of chocolates. You could even add some of your favourite magazines to the coffee table to provide some casual reading, or simply add a little character to the area.

coffee table

Focus on Lighting

The lighting is the most important thing to consider when it comes to how a room feels. If you get the lighting balance right, you can create the perfect atmosphere for your home. In order to create an inviting feel, you want your living room to have a soft lighting tone that encourages you to relax and wind down. Unlike a room such as the kitchen, which would require bright, white lighting, the living room lighting can be more of a yellow tone to really achieve the right feel. Introduce a few smaller lamps to your living room to keep the atmosphere soft and ensure the room feels warm and welcoming.

indoor lamps

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How to Take Care of Your Boiler in Winter

The cold season is never fun especially if your boiler is not working. Therefore when approaching Winter, it is essential that you make sure that your boiler is in good working condition. While there are people who cover their boilers and are privileged to receive help within 24 hours, there are some people who don’t have the opportunity hence an emergency boiler repair services can take longer than 24hours.

If you are such a person, here is how to avoid suffering under cold during winter;

Test it before winter

The only way to find out if your boiler has a problem is when you will turn it on. You will, therefore, want to turn on your boiler a few days to winter. When testing your boiler, you will want to let it run long enough to heat the radiator. You might want to do this several times before winter to be sure that no breakdowns will come up when you most need your boiler.

snowy street - boiler care in Winter

Get it inspected early enough

You can always have expert engineers to check your boiler when approaching winter. That is one of the principal advantages of having a boiler insurance cover. When you cover your boiler, you are entitled to regular maintenance and inspection services. You should know that there are different insurance plans for boilers and you can always find the most suitable one for you through Corgi Homeplan Boiler Cover. Insuring your boiler also saves you a lot of extra costs that you might incur anytime your boiler has a problem.

Insulate your boiler pipes

Water expands when it freezes hence the possibility of your boiler pipes getting damaged during winter is high. It is therefore advisable that you insulate your boiler pipes to avoid future problems. When you insulate your boiler pipes, you will reduce the rate at which they conduct heat hence the temperature outside the pipes will not be able to affect the still water in your boiler pipes.

Consider replacing your boiler

When a boiler has been used for many years, it tends to develop recurrent breakdown problems. That means that even if you have it inspected and serviced, it is more likely to breakdown during winter when you need it most. Instead of waiting to see that, you might want to get a new boiler. Note that winter is the coldest season and you wouldn’t want your family to suffer the winter cold.

little girl on a sofa, reading a book

Clean your boiler

Having your boiler cleaned in preparation is another way of ensuring that it functions efficiently during winter. Cleaning your boiler reduces energy costs and reduces the chances of your boiler developing problems when turned on for long hours.


Preparing your boiler for winter is something that you cannot afford to forget doing. The cold season usually is very severe and can make everything in your house freeze. Not only is the cold risky to your health but it can also be destructive to your property especially pipes carrying water. By having enough heat in the house, you will avoid such problems.



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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 purchases 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!


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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.

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