Post Comment Love 22nd - 24th September


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Friday again - how did that happen?! Well anyway, it's Friday and that means it's time for Post Comment Love with Stephanie and me. I'm catching up on my reading but I'm sure I'll be over to your post soon!

With the boys back at school and things finally settling down into a proper routine I'm feeling a lot better. I like the routine, I can organise food and activities for the boys after school and I don't need to worry about having something to do. This week I've been totally "on it" with regards to the blog and I'm getting caught up, albeit slowly. 

I still need to sort out my room, it seems to have got more messy recently and I think it's something to do with me wanting to start a new project. I've got papers and crafts all over the place and I think it's hindering my creative brain. I've got ideas floating around in my head but then I get this sudden thought - what if I'm wasting my time? What if I can't do this? I know it's because my room is untidy and I can't organise my thoughts properly but it doesn't stop those fears rearing their ugly heads.

How are you enjoying the kids being back at school?

Blogger Showcase Penny from Pebble Pen

Penny is a 19 year old blogger and an avid book blogger. She likes the sound of coffee and cake and her perfect night out would be a meal and drinks with close friends. Check out what else she had to say over on Stephanie's blog where Penny answers our Blogger Showcase Questions. 


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts. 

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two. 

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at

Thank you for popping by.

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Three Things All Stressing Brides-To-Be Should Be Told


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The role of the bride comes with some intense pressure. Almost always, it’s down to them to plan a wedding as well as to make sure that they look the absolute best they have ever looked (and are likely to look). It’s no wonder pre-wedding jitters are so common. But a lot of ladies are putting too much pressure on themselves when they put themselves in that role for the first time. There are three things, in particular, they should learn to make the way to the wedding much less stressful.

Lists and calendars are your friends

Have you ever wanted to feel what it’s like to manage and administrate a thousand things at once? If you don’t get a wedding planner, that’s exactly what you have to look forward to. Organizing your own wedding isn’t impossible at all, but it can be very easy to lose track of some threads. You might look like a crazy person, using checklists from Real Simple and plotting out a calendar of what needs to be done and exactly when it needs to be done. However, when you’re in the thick of the planning and all the engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and so on leading up to the wedding, it’s very, very easy to forget something. Whether it’s a tablecloth, a guestbook, or a wedding car, big or small mistakes can add unnecessary stress.

Don’t worry about unique, don’t worry about traditional

You do you. That’s one of the single best pieces of advice for when it comes to choosing the different design elements of the wedding. There’s pressure on one side to impress people by being unique. There’s pressure on the other to conform to tradition. Find what works for you. Don’t be afraid of using sites like 77 Diamonds to find some of the trendier choices if that’s what you want to do. You might have to talk some relatives around and have some long conversations with your partner, and occasionally you might have to find compromises. If you don’t honestly represent yourself in your own wedding, however, you will constantly think back and wonder what it might have been like.

Delegate, delegate, delegate

Why are you choosing the bridesmaids you’re choosing? A likely answer is because they’re your absolute best friends, your sisters, and the most important women in your life. But the practical answer is because brides need help. A work-shy maid of honor is going to be more of a pain in the neck than a help. Bridalguide has some excellent suggestions on what you can rely on her and the other members of the wedding party to help you arrange. At the same time, don’t expect her to make any final choices, that’s way too much pressure. She’s there to help you find those final choices and then make sure they’re all set once you’ve made them.

Above all else, cherish your memories of the wedding day

Even if you don’t only have one wedding in your life, you only have one first wedding and if you don’t take the time to sit back and take it all in, you will regret it. 

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Parents: Is It Too Late For You To Start Learning?


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As a parent, you can sometimes feel like you just don’t have enough hours in the day. Making sure you’re looking after yourself and simultaneously looking after your kids can be tough. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re happy and satisfied with your life too. Some parents do this by making sure they continue their education. You might think it’s too late for you to start learning, but this is never the case!

There are many benefits of learning even as we get older. Not only do we learn new skills and interesting information, we get more happiness and a better sense of satisfaction from life. You may even be able to make a career change! 

Distance Learning

Distance learning is a good way to learn if you’re worried you won’t have time. With distance learning, you can study at your own pace and take exams as and when you feel ready. However, it’s important to note that you need to be very self motivated to do something like this, and able to learn alone! 

Evening/Weekend Classes

Evening and weekend classes are another option for busy parents. You may be able to do one night a week studying your chosen course part time, depending on what it is. If you’re struggling to fit in your studies and things at home alongside your classes, there are services you can look at. You could hire someone from Brill Assignment to take care of a piece of work you haven’t had time to do. Alternatively, you could do the work yourself and hire a cleaner to take care of the household chores for the day! There’s always an option if you’re short on time. 

Living A Balanced Lifestyle

Living a balanced lifestyle is crucial for parents who want to continue learning. Plan out your weekly schedule as best you can. Purchase a calendar for this with time slots so you can pencil in the things you do regularly, e.g. take the kids to school and make dinner. Then try to pinpoint the times you're usually wasting time. Can you cut down on TV and social media time? Then, pencil in when you’ll study. Make sure you even pencil in your relaxation time too, so you know you have a good balance and you get everything done! 

Find Ways To Make More Time

Perhaps there are ways you can create more time to study. You don’t want to burn yourself out, but you want to make sure you get everything done so you’re not stressed or rushing. Maybe you could study while your child does their homework too? Even little 15 minute slots are great for revising or catching up! Make the most of your time and you’ll do great. 

There you have it. It’s never too late to start learning. Learning is a brilliant way to create a fuller, more satisfying life. 

Learn something new and it’s unlikely you’ll regret it. 

Do you have any tips that have helped you? Leave them below!

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What it's like to start a new fitness routine


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Okay so if you have seen photos of me recently you'll know I could do with losing a few (okay, many) pounds. I spent all last year gaining weight even though I knew I didn't want to. I just couldn't help myself, the cake was too nice. But of course it always catches up to us doesn't it? So when the boys went back to school I decided it was time to sort myself out and that's why I started a new fitness routine.

It's been 2 weeks

I started this new routine a little more than 2 weeks ago, it hasn't made that much difference to my body shape but it has made a difference to me. 

So what's the routine?

Well, I get up at 6am every day, put on my trainers and turn on our treadmill. I do a brisk walk (about 3.5mph) for 30 minutes - that's it. For now it's all I can manage without turning a nice shade of lobster. I have done this every day since 6th September and to be honest I thought it would have made more of a difference by now but these things take time.

  • In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can. 

Nikos Kazantzakis

Weight loss

So far I have lost a little more than 5lbs - again it's not much but it's progress and I'm taking that. Any weight loss at the moment is good and shifting the 4 stones plus is going to take some doing. I'm not focusing on that though, that would just discourage me from doing the exercise because it's virtually impossible. However if I lose any weight at all I see that as a win. 

Monitoring food

The other thing I've started doing to aid the weight loss/fitness routine is to monitor what food I'm eating and being careful not to overdo it. Using the MyFitnessPal app I'm adding my meals every day and if I'm close to my calorie limit then I don't have chocolate, if - by some miracle - I've got calories left for a treat I allow myself that treat. It's not easy, I love chocolate and cake and it can be difficult to refuse when it's there but if I want to make progress I need to keep the willpower for this. 

Where to get willpower

To be honest I'm not sure this will come if you don't truly want it. I was truly at my happiest when I weight 10 stones - I was healthy, running for about an hour almost every day, I could eat almost what I wanted, and best of all I was alert all day. Being heavier means I have less energy (I'm ready for bed by 10pm) and that impacts the rest of my life. The lethargy and laziness is just a consequence of being overweight and if I want those things to change I need to have the willpower to change. 

  • Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. 

Gordon B. Hinckley

How do I feel?

I won't lie - it's not easy. Dragging my bottom out of bed every morning at 6 am has got more difficult as the colder weather rolls in. I don't want to leave my bed in a morning, it's far too cosy. The restrictions on chocolate and sweets is difficult too, particularly if I have a bad day food-wise. But on a positive note I do still have the occasional chocolate bar (think Club or Penguin) and my meals, while healthy, are filling and enjoyable. I'm not overdoing it, and I think that's the key to keeping hold of my willpower. 

If I restrict myself too much or try to do too much exercise I'll lose motivation and give up. I'm being mindful too, checking in with how I'm feeling and trying to adjust according to my emotions. I haven't, so far, had to deal with the week before my period - that'll be tough. But again, I can do it. 

The point?

The point of this post is to say that if I can do it, weighing 14st 7lbs when I started, then you can too. You just have to push yourself a little bit. You don't have to do 30 minutes of brisk walking - do whatever exercise YOU enjoy. If you don't know what that exercise is then try to find it, try out different types of exercise until you find one that you kind-of enjoy. It is difficult in the beginning but starting out slow is the best way to make progress and when you do (and you will!) make progress you'll be motivated by it.

I'm not going to do weekly updates on my progress because I think the pressure is too much but I'll check in occasionally and let you know how I'm going.

As always if you have any questions put them in the comments or head over to my Facebook Page and I'll be sure to answer. 

What would be your top tip for starting a new fitness routine?

5 cheeky money-savers for you and the family


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One thing I’m always on the lookout for is how to make a saving, and I reckon I have a pretty good nose for a bargain. Getting a good deal is an inherently satisfying feeling, but it’s also becoming something of a necessity. Figures released last week showed that inflation is climbing, and household budgets are thus being squeezed.

That’s challenging enough at an individual level, but when you have a family to feed (and entertain), the effect is magnified, and it really can create a stress of its own as you try to balance the books each month. The good news is that, with small incremental savings, and taking advantage of good deals out there, you can trim your outgoings without much sacrifice. And with the internet and technology making marketplaces ever-more competitive, there are bargains aplenty to be had.

Here are five to kickstart your road to saving…

The bank switch

No one enjoys dealing with the bank. In fact, you usually only do it when something is wrong. And given the fact that they all now offer such pathetic rates of interest on savings, my disdain for them is complete. Yet by switching, you can make it work for you. For example, changing to an HSBC Advance account fetches a bonus £150, plus a further £50 if you stay for a year. Another good one is the Co-Operative Standard Current Account, which offers £125, plus £5.50 per month. And then there is First Direct, whose excellent customer service compensates for the fact that their switching bonus is ‘only’ £100. Whichever way you decide to go – go somewhere, because switching is easy (it’s up to the banks to arrange it all for you), and the rewards are handsome!

Cut your credit card

No, don’t actually cut it. It’s a useful piece of plastic to have when it is used correctly! However, for those with a balance big enough that it isn’t cleared each month, and, worse still, one you’re stuck making minimum repayments on, well… you’re getting burned on high rates of interest. Fortunately, this can be fixed quickly and easily by either transferring the balance to a 0 per cent credit card (most of which offer three years interest free), or by consolidating the balance with a cheaper loan. Either way, it doesn’t need much effort on your part, and the savings are immediate.

Fight the power

Gas and electricity providers have built a reputation for squeezing every penny they can from us, but the worst trend of all is how they treat existing customers. Banking on our lack of willing to switch, they invariably put you on a sub-optimal plan once your initial one is complete. So much for rewarding loyalty! Either way, don’t fall foul to it! Constantly reassess the plan you are on, and whether it works for you. This site is a particularly good one for checking. But whether you change provider, or simply the plan you are on, don’t be idle. A small amount of proactivity can save you hundreds of pounds each year.

Free activities

BP enjoying a day out with ParkLives.

Keeping your kids entertained, especially during school holidays, doesn’t need to cost a fortune. In fact, there are loads of fun things to do for free. Take ‘em to a workshop at Pets at Home. Get tennis coaching in 38 locations around the UK via TennisForFree. Check out some of the hundreds of free museums and galleries around the UK. There are plenty more if you have a look online as well. Oh, and another handy tip… you can use your Tesco Clubcard on family day trips too!

The Easyjet trick

When it comes to family holidays, airlines pretty much conspire against us during school holidays. It’s unbelievable that they can get away with it, in fact. However, there is a loophole. When you next
fly Easyjet on your holiday, book a Flexifare ticket outside of the school holidays for you and the family. Then, once that’s done, all you need to do is switch it to your preferred dates. The flexible ticket will cost more, but, compared to the difference in ticket prices, you’ll almost certainly make a hefty saving.

Aside from the above, there are many other ways to make savvy savings. Sites like Moneysavingexpert are very good for ideas too. It just takes a bit of willing and cunning, and then you can make your lives a whole lot cheaper – and get more out of it as a result! 

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Ahoy! Sea Life Centre, London Ahead!


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On this International Talk like a Pirate day I thought it would be appropriate to share our visit to the Sea Life Centre in London with you. It was an excellent trip that both the boys and I enjoyed, even if we didn't get to walk the plank!

The Sea Life Centre is probably one of the rare times the boys will get to see a lot of sea life, apart from going to sea of course. During our visit LP had a wonderful time and was so excited to see all the sea life. He got to see lots of different types of fish as well as sharks, turtles, jellyfish, and starfish.

The anemones are mesmerising - I could've stood there for hours and watched them. 

I am always in awe of starfish too - did you know that if they had an arm cut off they could grow it back? How awesome is that?!

Tentacles reaching out from under the rock... *shudders*

Look at the little thing!

It took LP a while to spot the crab below but when he did he shrieked. He watched it for a few minutes so he could see it moving. He started asking a lot of questions about its shell and how it moves when it must be heavy.

Crab is one of my favourite sea food and I couldn't help myself thinking "mmm, yum!"

Next we wandered to a tank with large fish and I think they were stingrays but I can't be sure. LP was again asking questions, he couldn't understand why the stingrays buried themselves under the sand. It turns out that it's for security - to hide from predators. Interesting huh?

The next tank we saw was fairly large and we spotted this on the ground...

There were various fish swimming around - I couldn't tell you what most of them were!

And turtles too!

We wandered away from the larger tank to see the smaller ones further along the path. This next fish has always given me the "heeby-jeebies", it's teeth - have you seen it's teeth?! *shudders*

Onto the huge tanks where we saw sharks, all different kinds of sharks. Oh and huge heads too!

I think this shark is looking for something to eat! Avast!

After spending some time watching (and snapping photos) the sharks we headed to the next tanks.

I'm sure if you're a parent you can't help but think of Nemo when you see clownfish.

After seeing lots of fish we were surprised to find tortoises - and these little guys liked the limelight!

What I didn't expect to see in the Sea Life Centre was crocodiles yet there they were. I don't think this one was ticking (ala Captain Hook's crocodile!) but it looked quite content sitting in the light.

Personally I think he was waiting for Captain Hook.

I wasn't the only one mesmerised by these giant fish - BP liked them too!

The giant fish were great but then I heard the Hubby say we were coming up to the jellyfish. Usually at Sea Life Centres there's just one tank with jellyfish in but in London there's loads of them. I LOVED it! They're such interesting creatures to watch.

We spent a good couple of hours in the Sea Life Centre in London and I could've easily spent half the day there. I love watching fish swim around, it's just so relaxing.

I also did a little filming while there and I put the clips together into a short video for you to enjoy.

And if you'd like to check out these and more photos without the filter you can find them over on my Facebook Page. Do let me know what you think of the photos!

Have you ever visited Sea Life Centre, London?


A few days in Venice - Part 2


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Venice is an amazing place, it has such beautiful buildings and streets as well as the canals. The last time we visited, almost 13 years ago, it was a lot less busy and it made us want to go back. This time it was busy, there were gondolas everywhere and tourists flocked to St. Mark's Square.
Grand Canal, Venice, Italy. Boats sail on the grand canal

I don't like being around lots of people, particularly when they're strangers, so we tended to walk away from the touristy areas of Venice. We much preferred to walk through streets that were empty.

There are just two bridges that go over the Grand Canal in Venice and we headed for the first of them early in the morning so as to avoid the main tourist times. Despite that the bridge was still full of tourists when we arrived but I did manage to get a selfie or two. 

Morgan Prince standing on a bridge with the Grand Canal behind her

Boats are the only way they get deliveries. ALL things come to Venice by boat!

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy. A sail boat races along the canal.

Bell Tower, Venice, Italy

During our stay it was hot, 30 degrees plus, and the sun came up early. It did make taking photos much more pleasant though because the lighting was just amazing.

boys playing in the streets of Venice, Italy
Empty streets - and it's good too because this is when the boys decided having a fight was a good idea!

We spent a long time walking and even managed to find the hotel we stayed at during our previous visit. 

Hotels in Venice, Italy

To give you a little perspective I wanted to take a photo of the steps that lead to the top of one of the main bridges across the Grand Canal. I'm still not sure I managed to capture it but this gives you a little idea of how big they are. Most of the other bridges are nowhere near this big but there are plenty of them.

The steps leading to the top of a bridge in Venice, Italy
Lots and lots of steps, but there's an amazing view to be seen at the top.

One of the things we did when BP was a baby was to hire a boat and take it out onto the Grand Canal. We attempted that this time but the Hubby decided it was far too busy to be trying to manoeuvre a boat. He did have a go first though.

We went to St. Mark's Square again and I got a few more photos. As you can see there were lots of people about which made it difficult to get good photos. 

  • Venice, its temples and palaces did seem like fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

I'll let my photos do the rest of the talking because Venice is such a beautiful place you really need to see it.

Day 3 came around quickly and we had to pack up our things. As I got dressed I noticed my legs were itchy. If you've read any of my summer blogs before you'll know I tend to get a lot of bites if I walk through grass or forests. On the third day I noticed bites on my leg, I was surprised because there weren't any grassed areas I'd walked through yet I'd been bitten about 7 times. Here's where I warn you that if you get bitten during the summer then take some insect repellent with you to Venice. I didn't expect it and so didn't have anything with me and I regret that. My leg was swollen and itchy for about 2 weeks after our Venice trip.

On day 3 we headed out for more walking, this time carrying our bags with us. We saw more beautiful architecture, more statues, and of course more bridges. 

Usually I add a filter to all of my photos but this photo was so perfect I didn't want to change it. The photo was taken on my iPhone 7 and I haven't edited it at all. This is what it actually looked like.

We weren't going to go on a gondola but we were worn out from all the walking and thought it would be a good way to see more of Venice and from a different perspective. The gondola ride was surprising, the boat leans more than I expected and it was slightly uncomfortable sitting in a way to try and counteract the lean. 

After our gondola ride it was time to find food so we would be on time for our flight. I wish I could remember the name of the place but I can't - it was a little place hidden on a smaller street. The food was amazing though.

To begin with we were brought prawns, I think it was potato and red onion with it and it was all cold but was so tasty.

Next I had scallops but they were raw and the stuff with it was tangy - I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. 

BP had swordfish (his favourite fish to eat) but again it was raw and he wasn't expecting that. He did eat his fish but left everything else. 

The Hubby had a prawns starter that he really enjoyed. He said that despite it being cold the sauces and food with the prawns complimented them brilliantly and he would eat it again.

LP didn't get a starter but he'd been looking forward to having authentic Lasagne during our stay. This was his Lasagne and needless to say it didn't last long.

For his main BP had carbonara but it wasn't like any carbonara I've seen before. This one had seafood, like prawns and scallops, and the sauce was a lot darker than I expected. On a positive note though he really enjoyed it.

I was feeling full despite not eating much, I think the heat tends to curb your appetite sometimes. Instead of having something that would be heavy I opted for a simple tomato linguine which was lovely. The Hubby had a Lasagne for his main, which was just like LP's.

As we were in Venice I had Tiramisu for my dessert and really enjoyed it. I've never had it before and it's one that is on the list for me, I'll definitely select it next time. 

Hubby had his favourite dessert - creme brûlée.

The boys had the same dessert, and it's one that LP enjoyed two nights before - "chocolate heart cake" or Chocolate cake with a soft chocolate centre.

And that was it, once we'd finished we got a water taxi back to the airport and headed home. We had to wait a while for our flight to take off, which didn't help with my stress levels, but once we were in the air we made great time and were home in record time. I was surprised when the pilot told us we were coming in to land 45 minutes ahead of the time I'd expected.

We loved our visit to Venice and while we wouldn't go again any time soon that's not because we didn't enjoy it. We said that it would be a nice place to go to in another 10 years, to see how everything has changed.

Stop by my Facebook Page where I'm sharing more awesome photos we took in Venice.

Have you ever visited Venice? What did you think of it?

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