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Designing t-shirts

The girls were sent a Fruit of the Loom t-shirt each from buytshirtsonline, a t-shirt transfer each and some fabric paints for them to use to design their own shirts. They love designing t-shirts so it was a great activity for them to do in half term. They really enjoyed it 🙂

Designing T-Shirts

The t-shirts are excellent quality and the transfers were really easy to use. Kaycee did hers on her own but I helped Ella because she’s not known for her ability to concentrate on the task at hand!

designing t-shirts - fairy transfer

 

designing t-shirts - Hello Kitty transfer

 

designing t-shirts - t-shirts, transfers and fabric paints

 

designing t-shirts - ironing on the transfer

 

designing t-shirts - after ironing

 

designing t-shirts - peeling off the backing paper

 

designing t-shirts - Ella and her shirt

 

designing t-shirts - Kaycee ironing on her transfer

 

designing t-shirts - Kaycee peeling off her backing paper

 

designing t-shirts - Kaycee's t-shirt

 

designing t-shirts - using the fabric paints to add more decoration

 

designing t-shirts - Ella using the fabric paints to add more decoration

 

designing t-shirts - Kaycee's finished design

 

designing t-shirts - Ella's finished design

Please note: We were sent the t-shirts, transfers and fabric paints in return for a review of the t-shirts. All opinions are my own.

 

Planting summer bulbs

We’ve got lots of plans for the garden this year and we’re very eager to get started so the other morning, the girls and I decided to plant the summer bulbs Spalding Bulb & Plant Co sent us.

It was cold and frosty but we didn’t let it put us off, the girls even still had their night clothes on when we ventured out!

We were sent 5 different types of summer bulbs. I can’t remember what they are and I’m not going to check because I like surprises!

Kaycee planting summer bulbs

 

 

Kaycee and Ella planting summer bulbs

 

summer bulbs in the pot

 

Ella planting summer bulbs

 

Kaycee planting summer bulbs

 

Kaycee planting summer bulbs

 

Ella covering the summer bulbs with compost

 

Ella adding more compost to the pot

 

5 pots all planted up with summer bulbs

Kaycee labelled all the pots without me telling her, in fact, I hadn’t even thought of it because I always forget to label them!

All we need now is the summer. I hope it comes soon because although I love winter, I’m over it now and long for some warmth so that being out in the garden doesn’t leave me chilled to the bone!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

5 Ways to Banish the Winter Blues

Winter is a beautiful season but a lot of us tend to feel a little ‘blue’ during these cold months. This could be due to many reasons such as bad weather, illness or stress. The winter blues is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder and according to the BBC, the condition is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern and it is thought that
a ‘lack of light’ is the culprit, affecting the ‘part of the brain that rules sleep, appetite, sex drive, mood and activity levels.’ If it all sounds a little too familiar then it is definitely time to make some changes before all
of this ‘seasonal depression’ results in a winter blues/zombie-like pandemic.

House covered in snow - getting your home winter ready

1. Chase the Cold Away
If you are looking for a cost-efficient way to heat up your house then The
Underfloor Heating Store
will come to your rescue, heating your home from the floor up. Underfloor heating, or UFH,
leaves no cold spots and evenly heats up the room so you can say goodbye to the days of wearing three woolly jumpers just to stay warm in your own home.
2. Exercise and Healthy Eating
It’s amazing how better you will feel after a good bit of exercise. It doesn’t mean you have to run laps around the
nearest town, just a short brisk walk is enough to help lighten your mood. The NHS states that ‘research has shown that a daily one-hour walk, in the middle of the day, could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.’ This emphasizes the fact that small amounts of exercise each day, paired with a healthy diet, will go a long way towards beating this common form of depression.
3. Escape the Winter
People say that you should never run away from your problems… but then people say a lot of things. If you can’t stand another second of all this doom and gloom then why not just pack a small suitcase and take off for a short break away somewhere where the sun shines and there is not a snowflake in sight? There are some great deals around this time of year in comparison to the summer months so it is likely that you will come
across a bargain online if you do your research.
4. Family and Friends
The important people in your life have got you through everything and you can bet that they will help get you
through this rough patch too. A simple get together will go a long way in putting that smile back on your face. A board game night with friends may be just what you need, so get out the old Scrabble, Pictionary and Monopoly boards and start spending some time with the people that matter.

5.
Winter Bucket List
You’ve probably heard of a bucket list before, it’s basically a list of the things you want to do before you pass away. It may sound a little depressing at first but creating a winter bucket list may lift that seasonal depression right off your shoulders. Write out a fun list of all the things you want to do during the colder months; you could pick up a new
hobby, go hiking, buy a puppy, whatever it is, having something to focus on during the cold months will give you something to strive for. After you have ticked everything off the list you can be proud that you stuck with it and defeated the winter depression in the process.

Please note: This is a collaborative post.

 

Cards, Flowers & Chocolates – Valentine’s Day survival kit

Giving a card and flowers or chocolates on Valentine’s Day
is frequently seen as the perfect way to express your sentiments to your loved
one. In fact, according to the Greetings Card Association’s market report in
2014, the UK general public spend the most per card on cards for Valentine’s
Day compared to cards for other occasions. The gross value of all cards bought
for Valentine’s Day comes in at a whopping £40.2 million, showing they are a
certain choice for those choosing to celebrate the event. As with all special
occasions, a card is usually the minimum effort a person makes, which is one
reason greetings cards are so popular.

Valentine’s Day Survival Kit

Cards

A card is an excellent opportunity to say things that a
person might have difficulty telling the other person face to face. This is
partially because writing the card affords the card giver time to think about
what they really want to express to the recipient. Some people choose to take
the opportunity to go the traditional route and use a card to anonymously
express their feelings for someone.

Gifts

After picking a suitable card, many people find buying
gifts for Valentine’s Day difficult and lots of people worry about how their
choice of present will be received. Chocolates make a good choice as they are
easily available, generally not too expensive and retailers make sure to
provide all manner of chocolate-themed gifts for the celebration. Most people
love chocolate and have a particular favourite, so it is not hard to find an
appropriate chocolate themed gift. In addition, specialist chocolate shops
offer items that can be personalised, which helps make the recipient feel loved
and valued.

Chocolate

Interestingly, a reason that chocolate may be a
particularly appropriate choice for Valentine’s Day is that it is considered
to be the food of love. The Science Channel lists chocolate at the number two
spot in their Top 10 Aphrodisiacs. It states that a number of chemicals
contained within chocolate, including serotonin and phenylethylamine, have a
positive effect on the brain. Serotonin promotes feelings of happiness, while
phenylethylamine levels have been directly linked to love. The higher your
levels of phenylethylamine, the more in love you feel. Conversely, go through
heartbreak and levels of this chemical drop. No wonder it is so beloved as a
romantic present!

Roses

Possibly the other most popular gift to give on
Valentine’s Day, and vying for the top spot with chocolates, are flowers. The
association between flowers and Valentine’s Day is well established and they
remain an automatic choice for many people. Roses are probably the most popular
type of flower chosen for Valentine’s Day. According to The Metro newspaper,
the link between roses being so synonymous with Valentine’s Day originated in
the Victorian era. The Victorians believed in the language of flowers and that
giving flowers communicated unspoken feelings. This started the tradition of
rose giving, as not only did the rose express love, but the typical red colour
associated with Valentine’s Day was believed to reflect feelings of passion.

Flowers

Nowadays flowers are usually appreciated as a Valentine’s
Day gift regardless of their type, although perhaps due to their expense many
traditionalists believe roses to be the ultimate expression of love. As
Valentine’s Day is in February, flowers are a particularly nice gift to receive
because their bright and vibrant tones help to add colour and cheer to a room
during the winter months. Valentine’s Day flowers are widely available in many
varieties and can easily be pre-ordered and even delivered, making them
convenient to purchase. When compared to chocolates they do tend to represent a
more costly choice for a Valentine’s Day gift.

Coming not long after Christmas and the New
Year, Valentine’s Day can be an additional, expensive event. If you find it
difficult to afford the cost of Valentine’s Day celebrations due to current
debts, you may wish to consider looking at debt consolidation loans. Secured
loans allow you to borrow money against assets you already own. Consolidating existing debts could reduce your monthly payments by allowing you to
combine multiple debt payments with various lenders into one manageable monthly
amount.

Infographic - Valentine's Day Survival Kit

This is a sponsored post

 

Wallpops Wall Stickers Review

You’ve probably seen more than one post on my blog about wall stickers. This is because I LOVE them! I was very excited when I was asked to review some Wallpops wall stickers.

I’ve got some in my bedroom, some in the girls’ room and now some in the kitchen 🙂

I ordered some writeable sticker calenders from Wallpops so I could create chore charts for the kids. Since we moved here a year ago the kids haven’t done half the chores they used to do in our old house.
I used to print off their chore sheets every week and they’d cross them off as they did them

We haven’t got a printer at the moment so I’ve not been able to print off the chore sheets so things have been missed or ‘forgotten’!

These writeable calendars are brilliant. I filled in the jobs I wanted them to do each day and they tick them off when they’re done.
It saves us paper and ink and I can change or add any jobs without having to print off a new sheet.

Wallpops wall stickers - kitchen before
Before

 

Wallpops wall stickers
As well as the calendars, I ordered some birdcage stickers because I thought they would look really pretty in my kitchen 🙂

 

Wallpops wall stickers

 

Wallpops wall stickers - kitchen after

 

Wallpops wall stickers
This is Aiden’s calendar waiting to be filled in 🙂

 

Wallpops wall stickers

 

Wallpops wall stickers
One each for the girls at a level they can both reach

 

Wallpops wall stickers
They take it in turns to do the washer and dryer each day and also to clear and set the table for dinner.

 

Wallpops wall stickers
The only thing I’d change about these writeable calendars would be the pens that come with them. The nib is a bit too thick and a finer nib would be much better for the size of the squares. It’s easily remedied though.
The pens come with velcro attached so you can stick them onto the calendar although Kaycee’s wasn’t very sticky and keeps falling off. I have to find the double sided tape and see if I can get it to stay on!
Apart from that very minor thing, I absolutely love these stickers and would order loads more if I had more wall or cupboard space!
Please note: We were sent the stickers in return for a review but all opinions are my own and are honest.

 

One day, I’ll have a reclining sofa!

Presently, I have my own 2 seater sofa and the super wonderful husband has a reclining chair. We both like to stretch our legs while watching TV so having our own space is nice.

However, I often think how much nicer it would be to be able to sit together while still being able to stretch our legs. We’ve been married nearly 10 years and as far as I can remember, we’ve never watched TV at home while sitting next to each other!

I’ve seen a gorgeous sofa on Newman and Bright that looks really comfy and I can just see us watching the latest episode of Bones, all snuggled up together!

Thinking realistically though, we’d probably have to wait until the kids were older; Ant’s not keen on leather sofas and grubby fingers would stop this looking so nice in a very short space of time.

Or, we could just ban them from touching it all together! :o)

This is a sponsored post.

 

Revamping plans afoot!

Every year, around this time I start hankering after change.

I don’t usually like change but there’s something about the new year that makes me want to do stuff and by stuff I mean things like putting new flooring down because the flooring that we got just under a year ago, for what we thought was such a bargain, turned out to be horrible and not a bargain at all!

It never looks clean, no matter how I clean it. Ant bought me a steam mop for my birthday last year because I was convinced that having a steam mop would get the kitchen floor looking all nice again.

It didn’t.

Talking of floors, we HAVE to change the flooring in the living room. The carpet that’s down was left by the previous owner and we were grateful for it when we got the keys last year. It was one less expense but after a year of a cream carpet and three kids and the occasional dog (the lovely mother in law’s dog comes to visit and sometimes to stay a while) it really doesn’t look very good.

It’s not often either of us use the word hate but we both have done when talking about this carpet!

I also need to shorten some curtains for the window in the living room because even though it has blinds, they’re cream ones and the light comes through, shines on the TV and makes it nearly impossible to watch.
Another solution, though, and less work for me, would be to buy some blackout blinds. I’ve had a quick search online and found some interesting ones at roofblinds.co.uk.

Another area that desperately needs change is the garden.

Revamping plans afoot - garden needs work

We left it last year because there was so much to do in the house we just didn’t have the time or the money (well, we still don’t have the money!) but this year, even if we don’t get the big projects done like the stream/pond feature and the covered patio area, we can at least rid it of all the rubbish that’s accumulated there over the year.

I’m starting my changes tomorrow and my first port of call is Kaycee’s and Ella’s room. I need to make it easier for them to put things away but it keeps getting in a right state and it’s becoming very stressful for all concerned.
Ant’s getting sick of not being able to walk on the floor because everything’s dumped there and I’m getting sick of having to spend hours cleaning it.
I’m also fed up of feeling guilty about Kaycee because she’s the oldest and ends up cleaning it on her own when it’s Ella who makes 95% of the mess.

It’s quite embarrassing to show you this but here is their room today…

messy bedroom

I’m going to get Ant to put up some shelves around the top of the room for all the teddies and I’m going to sort through the hundreds of books and store the ones that are too young for them now, in the loft for when we have more grandchildren 🙂

It’s going to be a lot of hard work, organising, cleaning, digging and building but it’s going to be worth it!

This is a collaborative post

Stabilo EASYgraph and EASYoriginal Review

During her first week back at school, 7 year old Ella’s teacher told her she needed to work on holding her pencil correctly so she gave her a pencil grip to use.

Kaycee (9) had also had the same conversation with her teacher and was told that as well as holding her pencil correctly, she needed to work on her handwriting.

The next day I received an email asking if we would like to review Stabilo EASYgraph pencils and EASYoriginal pens.

Both girls were really excited when the package arrived (they love stationery!) and kept asking me to hurry up and take photos so they could open them!

Stabilo EASYgraph and EASYoriginal

We were sent pens and pencils for left and right handed because Kaycee’s right-handed and Ella’s left-handed.

Stabilo EASYgraph

They love the design of the pens and thought it was great that they come with little stickers so you can write your name on.

Stabilo EASYgraph

 

Stabilo EASYgraph

The pens come with refills and one of them even came with an ink eraser.

Ella holding a normal pen

This is how Ella holds a normal pen

Ella holding a Stabilo EASYgraph pen

The finger spaces make it easy and comfortable for her to feel how it should be held while writing.

Kaycee holding her pencil incorrectly

I don’t even know how Kaycee can write holding her pencil like this!

Kaycee holding her Stabilo pen

They’ve both taken their pencils into school and are using them everyday now. They found it a little difficult at first because they’ve been used to their own way of writing for so long but they soon got used to it.

These pens and pencils have been great for them and we thank Stabilo for their help 🙂

Please note: We were sent samples in order to write the review but all opinions are honest.

 

Glade Christmas Scents – Review

A couple of years ago I bought some Glade Christmas scents candles. I did buy them intending to light them but I loved them so much I decided not to light them so I could bring them out again the following year.

Glade Christmas Scents

When I opened the tin that they’d been stored in all year, the smell was intense! I had planned to buy some more this year so I could actually light them and I’d added them to my Tesco delivery order for the following week.
The same day, Glade got in touch and asked if they could send me some Christmas themed items from their range.

Of course, I jumped at the chance and I have to say when they arrived it was like I’d had an early Christmas present!
They came wrapped in lovely Christmas paper…

Glade Christmas scents - Christmas presents

and smelled wonderful when I opened them 🙂

Glade Christmas scents - candles and plugins

 

Roasted Chestnut & Macaroon

I expected the cosy apple and cinnamon to be my favourite but that’s because I’d not smelled the roasted chestnut and macaroon!

I love the designs on the glasses. They’re Christmassy without being over the top.

Glade Christmas scents - warm spice candle
Glade Christmas scents - winter white candle

 

Glade Christmas scents - cosy apple and cinnamon cream

 

Glade Christmas scents - roasted chestnut and macaroon candle

I plugged the warm spice plugin into the socket about half an hour before the girls came home from school.
I was in the kitchen when they came home; Kaycee came through to me and said ‘it totally smells like Christmas in the living room, what have you done?’ 🙂

Cosy Apple & Cinnamon

She loves all the candles as much as I do! We plugged the cosy apple and cinnamon plugin into the kitchen and now our kitchen smells gorgeous.

The Glade winter range is available from most leading UK supermarkets.

Cosy Apple & Cinnamon and Warm Spice are available as Plugins, Air & Fabric spray, Auto and Touch & Fresh sprays

You can find more information on the Glade UK Facebook Page

Note: We were sent a selection of Glade products in return for a review. All opinions are totally honest.

Most popular Christmas purchases

There’s no doubt that Christmas is an
expensive time of the year. There are presents and decorations to buy, not to
mention the huge supermarket shop to stock up on food and drink.

Billions of pounds are spent every year
in Britain alone in a quest to enjoy all that the festive season has to offer,
with a large proportion of the money coming from loans and credit cards.

Gifts Are Biggest Christmas Outlay for Most

An Evolution Money Christmas
Infographic reveals the results of a survey of 1,200 people who were asked what
they spend most of their money on at Christmas. Around two-thirds (67 percent)
said that they spent the majority of their festive money on presents, compared
to 22 percent who admitted to spending the most on food and drink. Eight per
cent of those involved in the survey claimed to spend most of their Christmas
cash on travel, while three percent said that it was the decorations that took
up the lion’s share of the yuletide budget.
To get an idea of the scale of the
spending that goes on in the UK each year, just take a look at how much was
spent on just Christmas cards in 2013 — more than £1.37 billion. With figures
like these, it is no surprise that people find themselves relying on credit to
help fund their seasonal spending.

A Seasonal Parenting Dilemma

Parents, in particular, can face a
difficult decision when it comes to choosing how much they are going to spend
and where the money is going to come from to pay for gifts and the rest of the
celebrations. On average, British children will be given £132 worth of gifts
this Christmas, and almost half of all parents (around 47 percent) will feel
under pressure to spend more money than they can actually afford in a bid to
keep their children happy. It seems that guilt and a desire to do the best for
the children can be a major factor in prompting over-spending before and during
the festive season. Certainly, it can be hard to say no to heartfelt written
pleas to Santa and doe-eyed wishes as youngsters see the latest toys advertised
on TV.

Traditions Still Important over Christmas

On top of the gift-buying, many people
also feel obliged to put on a festive feast to mark December 25. Tradition
still rules and most families in Britain will still sit down to a roast turkey
this year, but this meal alone will cost an average of £161 a family — more
than many will normally pay out for a whole week’s worth of food. Then there
are all the other meals over the festive season to take into account, not to
mention the vast array of chocolate, sweets, nuts and nibbles that many people
feel obliged to buy every year. Add to this the cost of special drinks and
alcohol, and most people find themselves with an incredibly hefty shopping
bill. There is no surprise then that one in three adults in the UK admit that
they expect to start the next New Year in debt as a result of their spending
for Christmas.
Yet this knowledge is not enough to stop
the splurge, as two out of five people claim they feel pressurised to spend
more money than they really afford over the Christmas period.

There is also the draw of a bargain in
the Boxing Day sales to take into account as another example of seasonal
spending. Many people will spend more money than they have in the belief that
they will save money in the end, although many are also tempted into buying
items that they didn’t really need just because of the reduced price tags.
Nevertheless, on Boxing Day alone, people in Britain will spend a combined
total of 17 million hours online browsing and shopping for goods.
The Real Cost of Christmas in the UK

This is a collaborative post

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