Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Long-Term Money Saving Tips


Being a parent comes with a never-ending list of worries. One of the biggest changes is to our financial situations. Here's some tips to help save money in the longer term, looking towards the future.

* Sponsored post
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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Four of my faves for this summer

Ah, summer. Sun filled days, floaty maxi dresses and maybe a Pimms or two. What's not to love? My birthday is at the start of July and it's always been a great excuse to treat myself, so I thought I'd share a few things I am loving right now when it comes to style and beauty.
#ad - gifted

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Monday, 15 July 2019

Win 1 of 100 Maybelline Colossal Mascaras with Wow Free Stuff

I do love my make up and there's only a few items in my make up bag that are true staples or products that I will buy again. I like to experiment and enjoy finding and trying new things and one of those bits of make up I'm always changing is my mascara.


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Bold prints for babies from Bonds #review

I love bold colours and I do my best to find different kinds of prints and clothes options for my baby boy as sometimes, the offering for boys can be, well, a bit bland. It's often dominated by baby blue and grey, and cars are the print of the day. I like both, don't get me wrong, but I want a choice of clothes for Sullivan, and think boys should be able to have just as much fun with their outfits as girls (I appreciate that girls clothes are often taken over by a sea of pink and florals, but the wardrobe options are far greater in variety, don't you think?).

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Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Easy Decor Ideas & Hacks For Kids Rooms

* Collaborative post

 If you’ve got kids, you’ll know that the decor of their rooms can be a bit of a challenge! You’ll naturally want everything to look nice for them, but this can be somewhat tricky when they often make such a mess. Our environments have such an impact on our wellbeing and positivity, that’s why it's worth persevering to create a space that your kids can relax and enjoy. Here come some super easy decor ideas and hacks to revamp your kid’s room. 

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Ladies that brunch - new Patisserie Valerie menu review

There's a lot of great things about maternity leave - one of them being the chance to pop out for a coffee whenever I fancy it. Earlier today, I met my Mother-in-Law for a catch up over some delicious cakes, at Patisserie Valerie, at Resorts World Birmingham.


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Monday, 8 July 2019

Taking control

Hubs and I have been together for over 14 years now. In that time, we have rented an apartment, got engaged, bought our first house which is still our home almost 13 years later, we had our eldest, then our youngest, so you could say a lot has happened in that time.

* Advertorial feature

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Comptoir Libanais - escape the usual and try something exotic #review

I love Birmingham and I love food - and luckily, the two go very well together in Birmingham. I have lived here for almost 17 years but there's still plenty I don't know and there's always something new to try. Whatever the cuisine, you're bound to find it in our fair city, and you can even leave the bustling streets behind and be taken somewhere exotic.


On my birthday last week, we were transported to the Lebanon when we visited Comptoir Libanais, which means 'Lebanese counter', located in Grand Central (kindly invited along to review our experience). We had never been before but I have always admired the bright and colourful look of the restaurant, so I was looking forward to trying it at last.
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Monday, 1 July 2019

A big, beautiful day out in Birmingham

* Campaign collaboration   

I have lived in Birmingham for almost 17 years now, which is almost as long as when I lived at home, so I think I can probably call myself an honorary Brummie now. I do love this city and everything it has to offer - because it really does have everything you could possibly want. Shopping is amazing, there's a lot of cultural sights to enjoy, it's famed for its food, from high street restaurants to fantastic independents, and for families there's a great deal to enjoy too, both in the city centre and a little further afield too.

There's a great selection too of hotels in Birmingham, so if you aren't a native, you can bag a bargain room and be right at the heart of the action (I recommend Malmaison for a great central location and an affordable but stylish retreat - we stayed in the penthouse on the day after our wedding and it was incredible).


As there's always something new to discover, so I headed into the city to spend my idea of a perfect day, exploring and seeing what fun I could have, Birmingham style, and all within walking distance of New Street Station...

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Thursday, 27 June 2019

Planning ahead - our summer holiday wishlist

This summer, I will be on maternity leave still for the first two thirds, so to make the most of my time, I am already starting to plan ahead and think about what we would like to do, come rain or shine.


The school holidays can feel like such a long time, can't they? If the weather is good, you want to get out and about to make the most of it, but the costs can add up and even a simple trip to the cinema can cost you an arm and a leg.

During the Easter holidays last year, we packed a lot in and I researched lots of new places and cheaper days out so we could have fun but also not spend a fortune in the process. And last summer, I put together a list of simple ideas for things to do over the holidays - one being to keep a scrapbook of what we got up to, including tickets and leaflets from those places we did go to.

I'd like to revisit some of the places we've been before on days out, but with two boys to look after for four weeks, I would like to try new things - and the more cost effective, the better, especially being on SMP for a little while longer!

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#TBT - The Method in my Mumness

A throwback post this Thursday to something I wrote three years ago, about trusting your instincts and realising that in all the madness of parenting, there is a method in the way you choose to be a mum...

This parenting malarkey is a funny old business. When you think you've worked your little one out, they go and throw a spanner in the works.

Refusing to clean their teeth in the morning, and kicking off big style, then running to the bathroom in the evening to brush their teeth with glee, asking for more toothpaste. Eating the meal you've lovingly made for them, sprinkled with cheese and made just the way they like it, to exclaims of 'this is delicious Mummy!' only to be told the next time you serve it, 'I don't like this. It tastes horrible'.

It's a never ending see-saw of getting things right and seemingly getting things wrong, and keeping the balance is a hard thing to do.

That's parenting all over; balancing.

This blog started as a record of my journey 'to become mum' but as time has gone on (coming up for four years now), I've realised it's a journey I will always be on.

And it's got me thinking that to be a parent, you have to be a little mad. Or succumb to the madness.

Kids can be very astute but they can also be completely crazy and unfathomable. It's amazing how much Ethan seems to know, understand and articualte at the moment but, come one of his sudden mood swings, where asking him to show us his drawing like above, and his reaction makes no sense and you can't reason with him. It's like arguing with a drunk - they don't understand logic! So, the best course I've found is to ride it out, leave him to it and then he snaps out of it almost as quickly as his bad mood started in the first place, with as much clue as I have as to why he had a meltdown.

All the time, I hear other parents talking about the judgement they feel they have had - see Charlotte's 'Mums, Sticks & Stones' post - and how we all should just accept that everyone does things differently. In their own way, in their own time.

And we should realise and accept this.

Sure, there's expert advice and studies and lots of information out there about having a child and how to deal with the different stages. And for the most part, it's useful and can be reassuring. But with so much information at our fingertips - literally, on our smartphones, in the dark of the night, googling 'why won't my baby go to sleep?!' - it can actually make things worse.

We hear too many opinions, too many conflicting 'facts' and come to the mistaken conclusion that that inner voice that sometimes says 'you don't know what you're doing' is actually right.

We all know our little ones better than any expert, other parent, relative or complete stranger and we have to trust our own instincts.

Work out what works best for ourselves and our children. It's trial and error, but we should take comfort in the fact that there is no definitive answer, no magic solution - and that it's ok to get things wrong.

Try and try again.

Find your own method in the mumness.


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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Six going on 16 - parenting books that are helping me understand my child better

Whilst the arrival of Sullivan hasn't caused any issues with our eldest, Ethan - he loves his baby brother to pieces and has never complained once about the divided attention - the past couple of months have been a bit more challenging. Ethan turned six years old at the start of May and the occasional mood or grumpy outburst has been a more frequent occurrence.
* Review - gifted

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Monday, 24 June 2019

Saving for your child's future

With two children now, growing up fast before our eyes, it really isn't too soon to be thinking about the future. I've always been one to plan ahead and now that we have two little ones to think of and plan for, we want to be prepared for their future and help give them a good start in life.

* Collaborative post
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Friday, 21 June 2019

Creating a comfortable work space - #WorkplacePosture

Despite having practiced yoga a few times since I was a teenager, and most recently throughout pregnancy, you’d think that I’d have better posture. Especially as when you have children you are always bending and lifting and carrying extra weight around - so having a strong posture is all the more important. Alas, in my case, my posture is appalling and even though I know the principles of sitting and lifting well, I’m just so bad at following them.

* Collaborative post

Anyone who works or had worked at a desk for their job will know how it can take its toll on your back and neck in particular, if you don’t set things up correctly and sit well. (As I'm sat here typing this, I am acutely aware of all the wrong things I am doing...!).

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Thursday, 20 June 2019

Good fun at BBC Good Food Show Summer and BBC Gardeners' World Live at NEC, Birmingham

I love food, I love summer and I don't mind a lovely garden either... so you can imagine how much fun I had at the BBC Good Food Show Summer and BBC Gardeners' World Live shows at Birmingham's NEC last weekend.

* Gifted - press tickets

Despite the weather being less than summery, there was plenty to brighten up my day. The floral displays and garden companies out at the show were wonderful to see and walk around (the scents were amazing) and the show was vast, spreading outside and with a beautiful floral marquee to enjoy too.

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Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Types of loft conversions


In case you did not know, homes in the United Kingdom come with at least four main types of loft conversions. Through loft conversion, an area can be transformed into a guest bedroom, home office, playroom, or study room, among many others. The idea is to not only add additional floorspace but to also increase the value of your property.

* Advertorial feature

Before you worry about the overall loft conversion cost, you need to know first these types of loft conversions. That way, you will have a better understanding of the best design that can be applied to your home. Of course, your final decision will always be based on the number of different criteria. This includes, but not limited to, budget, shape or line of the roof, and permitted development rights. To get the best result, it is imperative that you work with a skilled architect.

These are the four main types of loft conversions. Make sure to keep them in mind!
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Thursday, 13 June 2019

American adventures - 3 places I would love to visit

I have only ever been to America once. Once! It took me until I was 26 years old to cross the Atlantic and I did so with my then new husband, for our honeymoon in New York. Stephen has been plenty of times before, with his family, but we both hold out hope to adventure to America again. In fact, there's a whole lot of America we would love to adventure to.

For starters, here are the top three places in America if I were to plan a trip tomorrow:

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Monday, 10 June 2019

Summer comes early: BBC Good Food Show Summer and BBC Gardeners’ World Live at NEC, Birmingham, 13th to 16th June 2019

Despite what the weather forecast seems to be suggesting for this week, a ray of summer is heading our way as two super summery shows are arriving at Birmingham's NEC and I can not wait to spend the day at them!

Here's all the information about what you can expect from BBC Good Food Show Summer and BBC Gardeners’ World Live and be sure to follow my Instagram feed and stories for updates on the opening day (Thursday) as we've been kindly given press tickets and will be posting throughout the day...


The BBC Good Food Show Summer and BBC Gardeners’ World Live return to the NEC in Birmingham from Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 June for four fabulous days, packed with the latest products and trends, inspirational tips and advice topped with a host of famous faces.

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What You Need To Know About Short Term Loans

Short term loans can be a really helpful way to get cash quickly when you’re in a fix, but there are some dos and don’t's that you need to be aware of before choosing a short term loan.

If you want to find an FCA approved and regulated lender, then cashasap.co.uk offers reliable payday and instalment loans.

* Sponsored post

Short Term Loans

Short term loans are (as the name might imply!) a form of loan in which you borrow money over a short period of time. This could be anything from 1 day to 3 months (or sometimes longer) depending on whether you choose a payday or instalment loan.


They can be a really helpful way to cover unforeseen costs, but as with all loans, you need to be careful to ensure you don’t end up in further financial difficulty. We have lots of tips to help you understand when you should look for an alternative to a short term loan and when you might consider one.


What You Need To Know

Instant Cash

This is one of the biggest benefits of short term loans, which include both payday and instalment loans. The vast majority of direct lenders will offer same day cash transfer, giving you the money on the same day that you apply. The advantages of this is fairly obvious; when you need money to pay for a bill, emergency repair or essential maintenance work on that day, you’ll be able to get it.


Necessity vs Luxury

It’s important to understand that short term loans are designed to support necessity rather than luxury. If an unexpected event occurs for which you don’t currently have the funds, then a short term loan can help you to cover the cost before your next payday.


This could be really helpful for things such as car repairs, emergency plumbing, an unexpected bill or similar.


However, they’re not the answer for payments that aren’t a necessity, such as a meal out, a family holiday or a new video game console. While being able to enjoy life is important, this isn’t what short term loans are for as it could land you in further financial difficulty.


For luxury or non-essential things, you could consider budgeting for a ‘fun fund’, which you can use to pay for luxury items and trips. Some people use a credit card to make bigger expenses more affordable by spreading the cost, but it’s important to do this wisely and build repayments into your monthly budget so you know you can repay any credit in full.


Simple Interest

All lenders will charge interest no matter the form of loan, from mortgages and credit cards to short term loans. Payday and instalment loans are the same, but unlike some longer term loans, they calculate the cost of the loan based on simple interest, rather than compound interest. This means that the price you pay for the loan is based on the original amount of money you borrow and won’t change month by month.


APR

Along a similar line, all lenders will specify the APR of your loan. APR stands for annual percentage rate and gives an indication of how much you’ll be charged to borrow money for the year. With loans that are spread over long periods, the cost of repayment is divided to give an average, while short term loan payments have to be multiplied. This means that APR isn’t a good measure of the cost of a short term loan.


If you’ve looked into payday or instalment loans before, you’ll notice that the APR is extremely high in comparison to other forms of loans. This is because the money is borrowed over a very short time, but APR calculates the cost of borrowing over the course of a year. While APR has to be specified by law, it’s more useful when looking at the cost of long term loans rather than short.


For short term loans, it’s better to use the ‘total repayable’ summary rather than the APR to calculate the cost of a loan.


Credit Score

A common question is: do payday loans (or other short term loans) affect my credit score? You need a reasonable credit score in order to get a payday loan. Many direct lenders won’t lend money to people with bad scores who look like they would be an unreliable borrower, but how does a loan affect your credit score itself?


If you borrow money and repay it on time, it could improve your credit score as it shows that you are a reliable borrower. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that your credit file will show that you applied for a short term loan. This can be seen by any potential future lenders.


If you want to get a mortgage but have applied for a short term loan within a certain number of years, it might suggest to a bank or lender that you are in an unstable financial position and they might not offer you a mortgage.


However, if you applied for a short term loan years before, then lenders will understand that it no longer indicates your current financial position and so it shouldn’t impact your ability to get a mortgage.


This means that if you’re hoping to buy your own house within the next couple of years, you should avoid short term loans, but if not, then they might still be a viable option.


Weighing Up Short Term Loans

Short term loans, including both payday and instalment loans, do have advantages that can be extremely helpful when you need money quickly to cover an unforeseen event.


However, they also have some factors and disadvantages of which you need to be aware. It’s usually a good rule that if you can manage without a short term loan, then you should do so and instead use careful budgeting to manage until your next payday.


However, if you know that a short term loan will allow you to cover a necessary cost and you know that you can pay it back without a problem, then it can be a very helpful way to get by before your next payday.

If you need a short term loan and want to find a reliable lender who is authorised and regulated by the FCA, then choose cashasap.co.uk. They provide loans from £100 to £300 (rising to £750 for returning customers).
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Sunday, 9 June 2019

Can Brick Slips Be Used Externally?

If you are searching for a quick way to enhance the overall exterior look of your home, brick slips can be the perfect option for you. Brick slips are basically thin layers of masonry used to replicate the look and feel of conventional bricks. They are available in a variety of colours and styles to suit your taste. These brick slips are great for use in traditional as well as modern settings.
* Advertorial feature
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Saturday, 8 June 2019

Why we love Center Parcs - and what you need to know before you go

We're going away to Center Parcs next week for five days and I can't wait to head back into the forest. We have been to stay at all of the locations, except Elveden; first Longleat, then Whinfell twice, Sherwood twice and Woburn once before Christmas. This time, we are going to Whinfell again for Sullivan's first holiday and we have a full agenda planned (including half a day for me at the spa as a Mother's Day treat!). But of course, you can choose to do as little as you like too - that's the beauty of this kind of break.

We love how you can escape the outside world, become a part of a village and choose to do as much as you like or simply relax. The surroundings are beautiful to wake up to every morning and the accommodation and facilities are excellent.

The questions I often get asked about a break to Center Parcs is which location do we like the best, what's on offer and what are our top tips - so I thought I'd share with you some thoughts following our experiences over the past six years.


Whinfell

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Friday, 7 June 2019

What's in your knicker drawer? #DecadesOfLingerie

I think you can probably tell a lot about a woman from what she keeps in her knicker drawer. The kind of lingerie you wear can say a lot about what time period you grew up in, your current life stage and your personal taste.
* In collaboration with Belle Lingerie
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Thursday, 6 June 2019

Announcing my new role - Epaderm Ambassador 2019!

For eight years now, I haven't been comfortable in my own skin - literally. I am generally happy with my body and how I look - I've come to accept my lumps and bumps and embrace myself as I have gotten older, after all, life is too short and I have carried and birthed two beautiful babies, so my body has done a lot and I owe it so much.

It's also true what they say about confidence coming with age. I will turn 35 in a months' time and know myself far better, and what I want from life, than I ever have before and it really gives you a sense of comfort and acceptance of yourself and any perceived 'flaws'.

The discomfort I feel is to do with my skin itself.

It started with an itchy patch on my scalp. It spread and when I became pregnant with Ethan, it took up residency on other areas of my body. Multiplying and covering and taking over my skin, my attention and, sometimes, my sanity.

Living with psoriasis can be a never ending battle. A battle with yourself. Anyone with a dry skin condition, or those that have children with sensitive skin issues or complaints, will know how hard it can be to keep on top of things and the condition itself under control. There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are things that can help.

I discovered Epaderm - a frankly brilliant range of skincare solutions designed to help dry skin and sensitive types, including those with psoriasis and eczema, including babies and little ones - and haven't looked back. It's recommended by doctors and is the no.1 prescribed emollient ointment in the UK for the management of dry skin conditions. 

I use it after showering to give my skin moisture to drink in, without upsetting my patches, and we've been using the Epaderm Junior range on Sullivan too as he has started to show signs of baby eczema. It seems my two boys have inherited my sensitive skin!

Late last year, I learned that Epaderm were looking for a blogger ambassador for 2019 and inspired, I wrote down my thoughts on living in my psoriasis affected skin in a poem - 'ode to my psoriasis'.

Well, I only went and won the competition!

I was so stunned and over the moon to find out I had been chosen and I am so proud to now be able to announce that I am the official EPADERM AMBASSADOR 2019!!



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Wednesday, 5 June 2019

A mammoth day out at intu MerryHill

When you've got a six year old with a short attention span, a five month old with a routine and a husband who isn't as keen on shopping in ALL the shops as you, a trip out can be tricky - but as a family, we always enjoy a trip to intu Merry Hill.

* Advertorial feature


It has EVERYTHING under one roof. All the mainstream shops you can think of and more besides.

Car parking is free.

The baby change facilities are spacious and accommodating.

There's a good choice of eateries, from quick bites to proper meals, to suit everyone's tastes.

And they always have something on to entertain you whilst you shop.

We went along last weekend to celebrate the first birthday of Marmalade the Mammoth, intu Merry Hill's mascot, who first stomped his way around the centre a year ago. Ethan was at his big launch and has had his flags on display in his bedroom ever since, he was that taken with him.


The centre pulled out all the stops for Marmalade's birthday, with a host whipping up the crowds into a frenzy, orange themed cupcakes and the launch of the 'Where's Marmalade?' book... PLUS two special appearances by none other than CBeebies star Andy Day, leading the birthday parade.

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Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Driving knowledge is an ongoing journey #DrivingIn2019

I've been a driver for almost a decade now and I'm on my fourth car, which is our family car. I am that typical 'mum taxi driver' stereotype, running everyone here, there and everywhere but I do enjoy being behind the wheel. I travel to visit my family and like to have time in the car to take in the journey and have time to think.


* In collaboration with Kwik Fit
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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

How to help when your child says they have no-one to play with

I am really excited to share this guest post with you, from a child expert whose books I am currently avidly reading as they sound essential for any parent and will hopefully help us navigate a tricky phase and some tough situations that are coming up with Ethan now he has turned six (full reviews to follow soon)...


Guest Post by Tanith Carey, Author of new book: 

‘The Friendship Maze: How to help your child navigate their way to positive, happier friendships.’




At primary school, every child will come home at some stage and tell you: ‘I had no one to play with today’.

At secondary school too, there will also come a time when your child is upset that they havent been invited to a party or get-together.  
 
And for a parent, desperate to protect your son or daughter from hurt, it can fill you with panic about what to  say. 

After all, until now, we tended to believe that there was little we could do from the other side of school gates to help our kids when they have friendship issues, even though it’s one good social relationship are one of the key pillars of a child’s self-esteem.

The good news is that there’s  now a growing body of research, set out in my new book: ‘The FriendshipMaze’ which will finally help you interpret what’s really going on in your child’s social life – and work out how best to help them at times like these. 
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Sunday, 19 May 2019

Benefits of Window Shutters


A window shutter is a frame with vertical stiles and horizontal rails which is often a solid structure fitted on windows. Many homes have window shutters installed in them whether the home lies in a rural area or an urban setting. Window shutters can be easily installed and though these shutters can come in a variety of colours, white window shutters are most popular in many types of homes.

* Sponsored post

There are many benefits of installing window shutters and the following are some of the key reasons why it is a good idea to use window shutters in homes:

Interior Décor Design


    Many people choose window shutters not just for their various useful benefits but also as an element of interior décor design. Wooden shutters open and fold neatly and add to the overall style of the interior design.
    It makes a home more appealing to prospective buyers. These are easy to install, easy to remove and also are appropriate for different types of interior décor styles.
    Different types of shutters can be used in various interior décor styles. Louvered shutters, plantation shutters, Scandinavian shutters, café style shutters, and tier on tier shutters are all popular with different interior design styles all over the world.
    These shutters are very versatile and are perfect with both homes in cold countries as well as tropical homes. They are at times, classic and stylish addition to a home and have different uses and benefits as well.

Privacy and Protection


    Windows are often see-through in nature and large windows can often show everything that is going on inside the house from outside.
    Windows can reduce privacy in the home and especially large windows can cause major problems of privacy both during the day and particularly at night with the lights on.
    Shutters reduce the visibility of the interiors of a home from outside. There is no need to put blinds or curtains for privacy if proper wooden shutters are installed on the windows in homes.
    These shutters also provide additional protection from the weather elements like dust, wind, rain storms and other climatic events. It also provides protection from the heat in the summer and the cold climate of the winter months.

Insulation & UV Protection


    Besides protection from the elements, these shutters also offer thermal insulation as well as sound insulation. During the winter months, it keeps the home warm and insulated from the cold weather outside. During the summer, it lets in cool air and prevents the heat of the sun from entering the home.
    These wooden panel shutters also maintain the acoustics within the home and provide proper sound insulation.
    The harmful UV rays of the sun are partially blocked by window shutters which add to the protection that shutters give to a home. These UV rays can be harmful to people living in homes with large windows and fitting shutters will provide a solution to this problem.

Easy Maintenance & Customisation


    Wooden panels are extremely easy to install and are available in different shapes and sizes so that they fit different types of windows and homes. They are easy to maintain and easy to clean as they can be simply wiped clean using a soft damp cloth.
    After a few years, a simple coat of paint will make these window shutters look new, modern and stylish.
    As mentioned above, custom made window shutters are available in different shapes and sizes. These panels can be also trimmed during installations as they can be easily fitted of different windows.
    These window shutters are available in different colours and mostly the plain white or pale coloured window shutters are more common and popular among home- owners.

Window shutters are particularly popular in tropical countries as well as the western world. The above-mentioned benefits make window shutters very useful and beneficial and are chosen for various types of homes all over the world. Window shutters are an interior design element and they are also a useful addition to windows in various types of households. Window shutters are becoming trendier as they are included in various home décor styles and a favourite with interior designers all over the world.



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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Our Tree Top Adventure at the new Go Ape Coombe Abbey #review

Ethan is turning into a bit of an adrenaline junkie (certainly doesn't get it from me!) and for his sixth birthday we couldn't think of a better way to spend the weekend than to visit the new Go Ape site at Coombe Abbey Park, Coventry. We were kindly invited along to be one of the first to try the new Tree Top Adventure - a family tree-top adventure course made up of wobbly bridges, crossings and zip wires - and we surprised Ethan with this super fun activity, with Daddy along for the journey and Mummy and Sullivan firmly on the ground to watch and cheer them on.



First of all, Coombe Abbey is just stunning and well worth a visit any way, but with Go Ape setting down roots, it's all the more reason to head along and explore the scenery and the woods too. I spoke to quite a few other people during our visit (my feet were on the ground after all, and I am that kind of person who happily chats to strangers!) and so they all said they had just headed out that day to enjoy the weather and hadn't realised that Go Ape were there now too, but couldn't resist signing up as their children were particularly excited about the prospect of climbing and swinging through the trees.

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Best Budget Washing Machines


In the past decade, there was a time when every third advertisement that you saw on the television was of a detergent bar or a detergent powder. Have you ever tried wondering where the detergent ads have disappeared today?  This is only due to the cheap appliances that are available online.

* Sponsored post

The washing machine has literally consumed the detergent bar manufacturing market. Anyone who has ever washed his or her clothes by hand will surely appreciate the role that is played by an automatic washing machine in the household. While the washing machine has become an important part of our life, choosing the best washing machine from the top list can be quite a tough job. Nowadays you will there are thousands of options available on the market and the number of models can be overwhelming.

However, after going through this guide, all the confusion and doubts that you may have will be cleared and it will help you make the right choice to get a cheap appliances online.
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Monday, 13 May 2019

6 Tips for Upgrading Your Bathroom

There is no area in the home that is more important than the bathroom. This is a highly personal space and somewhere that you go each day to get clean and prepare yourself for the day ahead. 


* Guest post

As such an important and personal space, it also needs to be somewhere that you can feel relaxed which means that it is a room which needs lots of attention when it comes to interior design. Not only this, but it is also somewhere that you need to take pride in so that you do not feel embarrassed when friends come over. 

Here are a few upgrades to consider:

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Thursday, 9 May 2019

#TBT - back off our post baby bodies!

For #TBT, I thought I'd share this slightly ranty post I wrote a few years ago again, given the arrival of the royal baby this week and no doubt the talk around how Megan 'bounces back' to look forward to...


Warning: this post is a bit of a rant but yet again, a Daily Mail story has ruffled my feathers. I know, why do I read it if it riles me so? Well, it does have good celebrity stories and shameless gossip on my lunch hour is always appreciated.

But I have just about had enough of how the Daily Mail, and all the other gossip magazines and sites, talk about women. Specifically in this instance, new mums.

Body image is a topic of much debate that everyone has thrown their twopence worth in. There can be no denying that what we see in the media has an effect on how we view the world and ourselves. Even when armed with the knowledge that what you're seeing may not be real - that the model has been airbrushed or certain types of people have been excluded altogether - if all you see is distorted images, then your concept of 'normal' becomes manipulated.

This is very true when it comes to mums. The media love to monitor every stage of a celebrity's pregnancy, from speculation - Mila Kunis anyone? - to a running commentary on how their bump is growing and what they're wearing to hide / show off said bump - step forward Holly Willoughby.

The real analysis is saved for when they have actually had their baby, to see who races towards the 'be skinny in just X weeks' finish line first.

The article that's prompted this rant can be read here and it's a good example of how the Daily Mail can turn anything into 'news'. In this case, 'woman has baby then wear bikini'.

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Budgeting for Your First Family Home

When you were a kid, your parents might have owned your house. Chances are, most of your friends' parents and family members also owned their own homes, either with or without a mortgage. Renting was something for students and other young people, as a means to an end. A situation that would soon be resolved with the purchase of a family home.

* Advertorial feature


You might have imagined that your life would go the same way. You’d leave school, at whatever age and at some point down the line you’d buy a house. You’d certainly never have to rent when you were married with children.


But, for many of us, it’s turned out quite differently. The average age of first-time buyers in the UK is heading towards 40, with many people much older when they finally purchase a home. This means that many families are renting.


There are many reasons for this. Firstly, the cost of housing. Houses are more expensive now than they have ever been before, and for a time house prices were rising at higher levels than inflation, or wages, making it almost impossible to save enough to buy. Since the financial crash, banks have also been much more reluctant when it comes to lending. People with debt, the self-employed, single people and those with low income, as well as people that have been job hopping or those with dependants have had a hard time borrowing money for a mortgage without a large deposit. Then, there’s the issue of rent. In big cities and popular rural locations, renting is more expensive than it’s ever been. Rent is often inflated, so that it’s not in line with the value of the house, as landlords look for ways to make money despite the rising costs of insurance and tax.


Of course, there are benefits to renting, and many families decide that it’s right for them. It gives you flexibility and freedom and means that you never need to worry about expensive home repairs or updates. But, it also means that you have a lack of security, you can never truly settle or make a home your own, and that you are always at the mercy of someone else. It also means that you’ll always be shelling out large amounts of money on rent. A mortgage, you will eventually pay off, rent just keeps on coming and rising. While this might not be a problem now, it can cause issues when it’s time to start thinking about retirement, or you need to save.


So, it’s easy to see why most families are desperate to buy a home. They look at an affordable apartment for sale, scout areas and dream of settling down. They look forward to being able to decorate and to make a true home for their families. But, how are you meant to save for it, when you are spending all of your money on rent, and you’re children? Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can budget for your first family home, and some tips to help you get there.
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Friday, 3 May 2019

#CostOfSingleParentLiving - EVERY family should be able to save money on days out

Everyone likes to get a good deal, don't they? We all enjoy bagging a bargain or scoring a big saving, whether on our weekly shop or when we go out as a family. Days out, and indeed holidays, can really end up being rather expensive with costs easily mounting up, from entrance tickets to attractions to buying food to eat when you're out and about.

 * In collaboration with Pay Plan

As your family grows, of course, so will your outgoings - but often, you can shop around to get a good deal or find an offer on that will save some important pennies for you. However, these benefits often seem reserved for a particular type of family; deals typically offer discounts based on two adults and two children.

But what if you parent solo?

Why should you miss out on saving money?

One in four UK families is a single parent one and as money can sometimes be more of a concern, single parents want to be more savvy, but may actually have to pay a premium.

Pay Plan is a free debt help and free debt management plan provider and they've started a campaign around the #CostOfSingleParentLiving, to highlight the challenges and to help people to understand the difficulties better and find a way to manage their finances as a result.

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