Monthly Archives:

March 2019

March Monthly Update – Slimming World Results –

My March monthly update isn’t great, to be honest. I didn’t get off to a very good start, but I did manage to get back into it halfway through the month. I had started secret eating during the first 2 weeks. By week 3, and […]

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Give Yourself the Best Chances of a Long and Happy Life

family at the beach - happy life
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There are, of course, certain things that can happen in life that can compromise our health or wellbeing. However, generally speaking, there are steps that you can take to take control of certain aspects of your own health and vastly improve your chances of living a long life. This is often a priority for those of us who have had children, as we want to be around for them as long as possible! So, what can you do to keep things on track? Here are a few ideas to consider!


Evaluate Your Current Lifestyle


First things first, you should take a long, hard look at your current lifestyle. Consider any current bad habits that you have and do your utmost to kick them to the curb. Look into stopping smoking. Reduce the units of alcohol you consume on a weekly basis. If you find yourself struggling to kick addictive behavioural patterns, you should reach out for support from help4addiction. This isn’t something you have to face yourself. You are much more likely to experience success with guidance and help along the way.


Attend Routine Health Appointments


There are routine health appointments that almost everybody needs to attend. Women generally have to attend cervical screening examinations. Men should generally have regular prostate exams after a certain age. We should all attend the dentist once a year and have our eyes tested at least once every two years. These exams can help to highlight problems that could potentially harm us in the long run. If problems are identified, medical professionals will be able to recommend treatment or prescribe medications that will help to improve your quality of life!


Eat More Superfoods


Superfoods are foods that have been found to hold superior nutritional content to other foods. Sure, you need to eat a balanced diet in general to live a long and happy life. But incorporating superfoods into your meals could hold the potential to make your life even longer. Do a little research, try a few out, and reap the health benefits!


Start Wearing Sunscreen


The majority of us will only wear sunscreen or other forms of sun protection when we are away on holiday. Sure, you may face higher chances of becoming sunburnt or experiencing sun damage when you are in places with higher sun exposure than you are used to. But it’s important to remember that you are exposed to the sun whenever you head outside in the daytime. Wearing sun protection on a daily basis can help you to maintain healthier skin and reduce your exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays.


There are, of course, various other ways that you can give yourself a better chance of leading a long and happy life and you should embrace as many as possible. But these pointers should really help you to get off to a good start. Look after yourself!

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Garden Design Process

The key to a stunning garden landscape always lies within a thorough and effective garden design plan. When finding a company to offer you garden design services, you should make sure that they talk you through the process of how they are going to design the perfect garden for you. If not, then how do you know they are going to create a masterpiece? They could merely plant a few plants and say job done.

Garden Design Process - wooden bridge


This article will enlighten you to the standard processed followed by most companies in order to give you an idea of how the garden design planning process should take place so that you can ensure that you have the perfect garden to complement your home.


The first thing any good landscaping company needs to do is understand your wants. They should have a thorough consultation with you whereby they gain a full understanding of your requirements and your vision.


First and foremost, they should uncover your budget and then they will be able to tell you whether it is realistic or not for the work that you want doing.


After this, they should gain as much information as possible about the vision you have for your garden. They will find out what structures you want to incorporate, whether you want to go for a modern or conventional feel, and what colours you want to utilise throughout. You should also discuss whether you want features like a pond so that the company can price up pond liners and filters. The only way a company can fulfil all of your expectations is by soaking up as much knowledge about you as feasible.


Once they have done this they will begin to put a few ideas together. They will draw up plans for you to look at too. It is important to make sure the landscapers consult you with their ideas along the way so that you can say yes or no to the suggestions they have. After all, they shouldn’t go ahead with plans without seeking your opinion as this would be a recipe for disaster.


The company will come up with their ideas based on several considerations. Obviously, beauty will be one of the main ones. When investing in a garden design you want to ensure your outside area experiences a revitalisation. It needs fresh impetus and energy.


Not only is beauty an important incorporation, but landscapers also need to consider practically too. This is an important point that tends to be overlooked when people do their garden on their own. After all, you need to ensure that your garden is easy to manoeuvre around and enjoy time in. Not only this but most people will want plants and furniture that is easy to maintain and care for.


Aside from this, the company will consider the unique features of your garden, such as the size and the shape of it. For example, if you have a small garden then the landscapers will come up with different ways to make it appear bigger than it is.


Once everything has been agreed on, final plans will be drawn up before the green light for landscaping is given. Remember if you don’t like something then it is always better to say it during the design process. After all, a piece of paper with pencil drawn on it is a lot easier to fix than an entire garden structure.

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Control The Light Ambience In Your Home With These Simple Tips

light ambience in the bedroom

Nasa, ‘A Meeting With The Universe’ tells us: “Nothing is more important to us on Earth than the Sun. Without the Sun’s heat and light, the Earth would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock. The Sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life on Earth.”


The sun is incredibly important to us, and natural light serves many, many purposes, not least giving us warmth and letting us know the day has begun. It isn’t just sunlight that acts as in important light to us. When early man discovered fire, it was revolutionary. To cook with and to provide warmth, but in the evenings, to illuminate the area with soft gentle flickering and to ward off wild animals and danger, keeping the camp safe.


The fact is, we evolved to need light and in the modern world, light makes many of our most up to date conveniences possible; take the blue light from phones or laptops for example. Light creates atmosphere, it influences our emotions, it turns a mere aesthetic into a complete experience. Light is exceptionally important and so, it makes sense that the way you use light in your home sits at a high priority when it comes to making it a wonderful place to spend time in.

Oh, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth. – Roman Payne


To control the light ambience in your home, take a look at these simple tips:

Think Carefully About The Functionality Of Each Space

Different spaces will demand different lighting, and more often than not, different types of lighting at different times. The bathroom, for example, will need a bright light for brushing your teeth and hygiene, lowlights for relaxation time, possibly special mirror lighting for makeup application, and then floor lighting for safe bathroom visits in the night.


A kitchen may have bright practical lighting, display cabinet lighting, under cupboard low lighting, dimmer switches and different lighting for different ‘zones’. The functionality of each space will have a huge impact on the kind of light you use. Establishing how you want to use that space before you plan your lighting will help you to get the most out of that space when it comes to the light ambience.


If you want help creating a lighting plan, take a look at this handy guide to creating a lighting plan from BBC Homes Design.

Let The Shadows Add Texture

Shade can be just as important as light. Consider a starry sky, it becomes more illuminated the less light pollution there is. Try to create a contrast between the lit areas by using floor lamps, candles and other ambient lighting that doesn’t try to ‘fill all of the gaps’ instead it allows gentle shadows to be created, forming a pleasing visual texture and atmosphere in the room.

Get SAD Under Control

1 in 15 people have SAD in the winter months and, it can affect some people to the point they feel very depressed and struggle with day to day life. There are lots of ways to minimise the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder including opening your curtains and blinds and getting as much natural light as possible.


One of the most effective ways is to deal with SAD is to invest in a SAD lamp which is a special lamp that shines a bright light designed to improve your mood, replicating natural light. You can find a really great guide to buying a SAD lamp from WHICH here.

Make The Most Of Natural Light

Natural light is something we can take for granted in the home because it is always there for more than six hours every day. However, we can make more of it for a lighter, brighter home. The Scandinavian approach to life, Hygge, has a huge emphasis on making the most of natural light because it is deeply important to us as humans.


Try these simple changes in your home to make the most of natural daylight:


  • Clear ornaments from window ledges
  • Clean your windows
  • Get into a routine of opening your curtains across the house in the mornings
  • Cut away big trees and bushes outside that block natural light from your home
  • Utilise mirrors across the house to reflect light


It may be that you’ve fallen out of love with natural light in your home because it is either bright and harsh or not, with no in-between. Why not use beautiful window adornments like plantation shutters to control the ambience of the natural light that comes into your home?

Keep Your Eyes Out For Innovation

Always assume that the lighting you know, is not all there is. We can become very small-minded in what we think is available, forgetting the endless innovation around now, and that will continue to grow in the future. Visit decor centres and shops to see the latest designs in lighting. This kind of shopping trip works well if you’ve recently banished bad lighting and want a beautiful replacement.

I like to change. A new lamp, a piece of art, can transform a room. –  Madonna Ciccone

Once you see the potential in your home when it comes to lighting it, you will discover an entirely new area of decor to explore. There really are no limits to the creativity you can apply using light, and the power of good lighting in a home can be truly transformative. Why not try transforming your home with a new lighting plan, it could unleash the potential in your home in a way you didn’t realise was possible.

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Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

It’s very nearly here and if you’ve not bought anything for your mum yet, I have a few suggestions for last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – Gin!

First up we have something that I think will be on most mother’s wishlist this year – raspberry and rose flavour shimmer gin from Asda!

Last-minute mother's day gift ideas - Raspberry and rose flavour shimmer gin

We’ve got some raspberry and rose flavour lemonade and it’s delicious so I can imagine this gin will be even more so!

Rose Bush

If your mum is a keen gardener, there’s a rose by David Austin called Mum In A Million. Even if your local garden centre doesn’t stock this particular rose, they’re sure to have a Mother’s Day selection where you can find the perfect gift your special mum 🙂

pink rose

Cook For Her

As a last-minute gift, it probably won’t be possible to book a restaurant so why not invite her to your house and cook her a special Mother’s Day lunch or an afternoon tea with mini sandwiches and fancy cakes!

afternoon tea

Spa Day

Most gift vouchers can be ordered online and printed out these days so why not treat you both and spend the day getting pampered together.
There are a range of massage treatments in Hove, including full body, shoulder, neck and scalp, salt and oil scrub or even a hot stone massage.

lady getting a massage

Make Her Something Special

Are you a crafter? Pinterest has a multitude of ideas for making a special gift for Mother’s Day. As a mother, I know that homemade gifts are always my favourite (I really wouldn’t say no to that bottle of gin, however!!) and all mothers are being totally honest when they say, it’s the thought counts.

Mother's Day gift ideas on Pinterest
Find me on Pinterest – Shell Louise


Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

5 Tips for a Memorable Mother’s Day

Our mums give us so much of their time, energy and love that it can be hard to pay back all of the sacrifices they have made for us. Mother’s Day is the one day of the year where we can say ‘thank you.’

It can be a challenge to know what to do or buy for our mums each year, to the point where we just play it safe with our choices. Why not make the day extra special this year, by throwing in a few surprises that she’ll absolutely love? If you’re stuck for ideas, here are just a few that are bound to make her day memorable:

Send a thoughtful card in the post

If you don’t get to see your mum very often or won’t be seeing her on Mother’s Day this year, why not send her a pretty card in the post? Opting for handmade or custom cards over those which are shop-bought shows that you’ve put in time and effort to create something that is personalised to her. If you haven’t got time to create a card from scratch, there are downloadable custom cards online which can be printed off and customised to your own taste.

mother's day card sent in the post

Plan a mother and daughter date

Regardless of whether it’s actually on the actual date, or in the next few weeks or months, spending a quality day with your mum is something money can’t buy. Life gets so busy, that it can be hard to spend dedicated time together; especially if you live in different towns or cities. Although it’s always nice to send a text or have a phone call every now and again, there’s nothing quite like having a fun-filled day as part of your mother and daughter bonding time.


Make a donation to a charity she cares about

Your mum may not be someone who’s a huge fan of receiving gifts, therefore, why not surprise her by donating cash to a charity that she holds close to her heart, or believe she would support? Giving back is a lesson that many of our mothers have taught us growing up and this act of kindness is a meaningful act that she will no doubt, be touched by.


Cook her dinner

There’s nothing quite like a delicious homemade meal to show you, mum, that you love her! Whether it’s a catch-up dinner for just the two of you, or a larger gathering with your siblings or extended family, having a good old natter over food brings everyone together and creates another memory to cherish. If you’re not much of an expert in the kitchen, there are plenty of online recipes to browse through, to create a meal that she won’t forget, for the right reasons!

Mother's Day dinner place setting

Text her with ‘I love you.’


This is the simplest, quickest, but the most special thing you can do to show your mum that you care. Many of us don’t take enough time to tell our mums those three simple words, but taking the time to do so as soon as you wake up or at the end of the day when you have a few moments to yourself is bound to put a smile on her face.

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How To Make Every Room In Your House More Comfortable

Comfort and luxury are what everyone wants to come home to ideally, isn’t it? So what we are going to do here is look at ways in which to make each room in your house more comfortable to be in and also to relax in.

make your room more comfortable

Living Room


The living room, or family room, is easily the most sociable room in any family home and as such is the logical and perfect place to begin. So what is the most comfortable item of furniture in the living room? Well, it’s obviously the couch or sofa, but is it as comfortable as it should be? You should have a warm and inviting couch for family and visitors alike. You could opt for getting a brand new sofa, lush and inviting, such as the reclining sofa I’ve always dreamed of, giving a new and comfortable focal point in the living room. If this is out of your budget at the moment, and let’s face it with the cost of a new sofa it really is for so many of us, then maybe look at some throws or cushions, you can get some really comfy pillow cushions to create a great luxury experience.




After the living room, the bedroom is one area that you next associate with comfort and luxury as you sleep there you might spend a third of your life in there! So it goes without saying that comfort is a must for such an important area and with that in mind the logical place to look at is the bed. For one, it’s important to pick a good sturdy bed frame but also, in addition, make sure you have the correct mattress to go with it and I highly recommend a memory foam mattress like this one which is great for comfort and avoiding back pain.




It may not seem as obvious as the living room or the bedroom but most families spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen, especially if you have the dining table in there, this is the focal point of the family mealtime which is so important these days when time together is stretched and pressured due to activities, work and day to day life getting in the way so often. It’s important to make the kitchen comfortable and inviting and this can easily be done using a mixture of nice vibrant decorating style and comfortable chairs and stools. This will give the family dining experience a great setting to ensure it’s a pleasure and not a chore.



At the very end of a long, long day where do we end up for our final bit of relaxation? In the bathroom, taking a good, hard-earned soak in the bathtub. If you use a mixture of decorating, bath essentials and set the mood correctly with candles and scents then you’ll end up with the perfect setting for an easy end to the day.

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3 Must-Haves for New Homeowners

Buying a house is exciting and stressful too. Signing a pile of endless documents is only the beginning of a long, hectic journey. More goes into getting your home ready for occupation, and that starts right after the handover. You need to make the house habitable and personalize it to your taste.

House - first time home owner

For a first time homeowner, this can be overwhelming. The new space and setup might be completely different from what you were previously used to. This makes these tasks more difficult. To make this easier for you, here are three essentials you should not miss as you figure your way around your new spaces:

1)    Fixtures and Fixing Tools

A house might be new and complete but, occasionally, fixtures such as bathroom faucets need repairs once damaged. You might also need to upgrade them to fit your style, theme, and taste in case the ones fitted do not interest you. There are many types of faucets in the market. There is more information found here to help you make a more informed purchase decision. The fixtures can be interchanged to fit the changes you make regularly.

You can fix these fixtures on your own to reduce the costs. Go for easy and safe to use tools to reduce damages and risks they may pose to you. Incompatible tools can even ruin your fixtures.

For complex tools, ensure that they have a manual that clearly explains how one ought to handle them. Having the tools readily available helps you deal with repairs on time. This also helps reduce the damages the spoilt fixture might cause if left unattended for long.

2)    Cleaning and Disposal Tools

A new house with clean looking fittings requires a thorough scrub before settling in. This removes dust, stains, and disinfects the space. Cleaning reduces dirt and germ transfer to your furniture, fittings, and other items. You should also clean the house while living in it to improve your living standards and reduce infections and bacteria growth. To achieve this, you need cleaning tools and appliances. You should also have disposal tools to ensure you can safely dispose of your dirt and garbage. Garbage from your house starts piling up as soon as you move in. It starts with the disposal of unwanted items from your old house, packing paper, cartons, tapes, and strings used while moving. Garbage also accumulates as you continue to use and dispose of items while staying in your new home. Get quality disposal options that are safe to use and are environmentally friendly.

sponge and cloth to clean your home

3)    Emergency Preparedness Items

There are many emergencies at home. Power outages, cuts, burns and other unexpected calamities due to weather changes. It would be best if you prepared for this as it might help save lives. Have a fully stocked first aid kit in your house all the time. The kit should be easily accessible to enable faster and easier use in case of serious accidents.

It would help if you also had a torch to light your house in case of power loss or bad lighting. This reduces the chances of hurting yourself or damaging items you might knock off. You can also stock up nonperishable and ready to eat foods in the kit before seasons that can disconnect you from the outside world. This increases the chances of survival before help comes your way.

Choosing the Perfect Pet for Your Family

White dog - perfect pet
Image source

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. It could be something as small as a hamster or as large as a horse. There are some things they all have in common. They need to be fed, kept clean and have their vaccinations and regular vet check-ups. Some will need more exercise than others and these are things you need to consider before deciding on the perfect pet for your family. Let’s start by looking at the two extremes mentioned above.


You cannot buy a horse, put it in a stable and just visit once a week. Horses need to have their stables cleaned every day. They should always have a good supply of fresh water and hay to eat.  They spend a lot of time in their stables and some toys to help occupy them could be good. They should have plenty of room to move around in and a bed that is comfy for them to sleep on. You will find all the things your horse may need, including brushes for grooming and blankets to keep them warm at Equi Supermarket, which as the name suggests is a great place to buy your horse supplies. Horses need to feel loved just like all animals, and if you cannot commit to the time needed a horse should not be an option for your family.

Image source


Hamsters are basically rats without tails. They were first discovered in Syria, although they are found in the wild in many parts of the world.  The two most common types in the UK include golden hamsters. These make great family pets, especially for young children. If you buy the hamster as a baby and give it love from the start, it will get used to being handled. Golden hamsters are fairly solitary creatures and are quite happy to live on their own. Unlike the Russian miniature hamsters, which are also popular in the UK.

These are very social hamsters and they like to live in groups. The problem is that unless you can guarantee they are all the same sex, you will end up with more hamsters than you bargained for.

Hamsters are a great way to teach young children how to care for pets, and for them to learn that it is a big responsibility.

Dogs And Cats

The UK is a nation of dog and cat lovers, although often one is favoured over the other.  If you are considering either a cat or dog as your family pet you have to think about several things to be fair to them. For instance, if they are going to be on their own all day, a cat will deal with that much better than a dog. If you want to be able to go for long country walks with your pet, then a dog should be your choice.

Your lifestyle should be the first thing you consider when deciding what will be the ideal family pet, as if they encroach on that too much and make things difficult for you, you may well start to resent them. Pets should become part of the family and be loved in the same way. Do not consider having one if that is not going to happen.

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Every Pretty Thing – Book Review #11

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have to read book series in order, just like I have to watch TV series in order.
You’ll understand how I felt then when I tell you that after reading Every Pretty Thing and going to Goodreads to update my list, I saw that somehow I’d read book 7 of the series instead of book 6.

I really have no idea how it happened; I always check Goodreads when I’m reading a series to make sure I get them in the right order.

Every Pretty Thing

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

She came to find her friend.
Instead she found a killer.

Serial killer expert Darby McCormick gets a call from FBI Agent Jackson Cooper, who has been contacted by a woman who’s been in hiding for twenty years.

She was one of the only survivors of a murderer who has been carving a dark path across America for decades. Cooper believes he may have tracked this psychopath to the wilds of Montana.

Now, he needs Darby’s help to bring him in. But when she arrives Cooper has vanished without a trace.

Something is very wrong – and as the trail goes cold, Darby is all alone in a strange town, stalked by an unseen predator who wants to add another victim to his collection…

My Thoughts

I was very glad to be back with Darby and Coop and I felt Darby’s pain when Coop went missing. There’s a twist near the end that I totally didn’t see coming, but it had me on the edge of my seat. I was really worried about Darby, but I knew she was going to be alright because there was another book, or so I thought!

This is one of my favourite books from the series and I hope Chris Mooney writes another book about Darby.

Every Pretty Thing by Chris Mooney

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 11 books read


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