Post Comment Love 29th September - 1st October

Welcome back for another Post Comment Love with Stephanie and I - can you believe it's October in a couple of days? Where has this year gone?

I've had a heck of a week this week - no internet what-so-ever! I've used up the data on my phone and still have 20 days left to go before it gets refreshed. I haven't been able to tweet, to go on Facebook - it's so frustrating.

Of course having no internet means that I can't catch up on my PoCoLo reading too. So please forgive me for not reading your posts, I'll get to them I promise. We just have to get BT to recognise that we have a problem and find out what they need to do to fix it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I'm heading down to London this afternoon to get ready for Britmums Live 2017 tomorrow. I'm a little excited. It's the first time I've stayed in London on my own so that part is very scary but I can do it. I'm learning which is always a good thing right?

I'm looking forward to meeting some wonderful bloggers tomorrow. If you're going to Britmums Live and you see me there please do come over to say hello - it would be so nice to meet you!

As I'm using the Hubby's personal hotspot to get this post done I'd better sign off. Hopefully all internet issues will be sorted soon. Send "internet on!" thoughts my way please!

Blogger Showcase Lorna from Lorna Cole

Who are you?

My name is Lorna, an 18 year old from a little town in Dorset. I currently live with my family and have just recently finished my A Levels - finally!! I enjoy spending my time with friends and family and love being outdoors, I hope to travel all over the world one day! I have always enjoyed making art and designing things here and there, I hope to start it up again soon after finishing my Art and Design A Level. 

How did you discover blogging? 

It was a few years ago when I started reading different blogs here and there. I enjoyed reading engaging posts relating to a million different subjects and would often find myself up at 3am lost in a post. I have had a go at setting up my own blog a few times over the last year or so but have just recently found my focus to post regularly. So I am a new blogger that hopes to grow an audience and develop my blog over time! 

Why did you start blogging? 

I love to read people's posts regarding tips or experiences they want to share and as I enjoy writing and documenting my experiences so I thought why not! Even as a kid I would always be writing things here and there, doing lists and keeping notebooks, once I even designed a magazine based on the tips I thought would be useful as a 7 year old! So as someone that loves to be creative I thought that a blog would be a great way to showcase this as learn to improve my writing as I go. 

What do you find most challenging? 

I'd say the determination to keep posting regularly even though I know not many people will read it. As I have only just started I am fully aware that a blog doesn't just take off overnight so I know I need to be patient and just keep sharing my posts. However when I have spent a good few hours thinking of ideas, planning and writing it can be frustrating that my work isn't always read straight away but I guess everyone has to start somewhere! 

What is your favourite topic to write about? 

Although I am just finding my feet I absolutely love interior design and can't wait to start sharing some of my ideas. I have spent hours designing houses and apartments on different online programmes and would love to post these to my blog in the upcoming months. If people like my designs I would hope that one day I could begin designing rooms or houses here and there for other people. 

Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals? 

Right now I am blogging for fun, I think it is important to enjoy the things you post as I definitely think readers can tell when you have simply churned out some writing compared to when you share something you are genuinely interested in. The overall goal for my blog is to help me develop my creativity and writing to engage with an audience, I don't expect to earn any money from it for a long time as I know this takes time. Though I'd be lying if I didn't say that would be a dream! 

What is your favourite thing about blogging? 

It has to be the community. Even though I have only just started properly I can already tell that the world of bloggers is a fun and welcoming place. I follow many accounts on social media and can't wait to engage with different people from all over the world, I think it's amazing how people support each other! 

Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what did you think? 

As a beginner blogger I have not actually attended any blogging conferences yet. However in 2014 I did go to Summer in the City - a well known YouTube convention. Although this isn't the same, many of these people started out in their room as a blogger and have their following has gradually grown. I spoke to so many people - creators and people like me who were visiting and the support and warmth was so great, it was such a great experience so I would love to attend a blogging conference in the future for sure. 

What are your three best posts? 

Since my blog is new I wouldn't say that I have any top favourites yet so I would love to come back to this question in a few months! However I do think that my 25 facts about me post will always be something I look back on as it is a great introduction to me and my life so far. … 

Describe yourself in 3 words. 

Oh god, I have never been good at things like this, it's an odd thing to have to describe yourself! I guess I'd say - calm, witty, creative. 

Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person? 

100% tea, there is nothing better that a good old English tea. Although now we're getting into summer (I say as the sky is grey and dull like a cold November day) I am obsessed with iced coffee so I guess it depends! I'm not really a cake or biscuit enthusiast but given the choice, I couldn't turn down a nice homemade slice of cake! 

What's your idea of the perfect night out? 

Even though I am 18, I would much rather spend the day out with my boyfriend, maybe going for a nice meal (an Indian seems to be our go to, though I would not say no to a buffet as I do love my food) and then I'd love to do a fun activity, crazy golf maybe? Both of us love that and it always brings out the competitive side in us! 

And the perfect night in? 

Again, us two spending some time together watching whatever series we are currently into, with a lot of snacks. Occasionally we'll take a break from the screen and play a board game with my family, as the reigning champion of many of these I am never one to turn down a good old fashioned game of Cluedo or Monopoly. 

What would your best friend/OH/mum or kids say is your best quality? 

Another of these questions! If I asked them they'd probably say fluently sarcastic. Though if I got them to properly answer I think I'd get a mix of my wittiness, humour and calming presence.

You can connect with Lorna here:

Thank you so much for answering our questions Lorna and Feel free to grab our 'featured' badge and display it ever-so-proudly on your blog!

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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.

Post Comment Love
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What I’m expecting from Britmums Live 2017

Last year was my first BML (Britmums Live) and if I’m honest it was very daunting. Not only was I late to the place (train delays) but walking into a room of about 300 people when I was alone was terrifying. 

This year though I plan on it being much better.

Despite the fact that I’ve had no internet all week (!) I’ve been planning what I’ll do at #BML17. First of all I’m meeting Clare at the train station for a coffee. It’ll be a chance to say hello and get to know one another before setting off to the hotel. I’m staying at a Premier Inn Hub no far from the venue so after the coffee I’ll walk to the hotel (bonus exercise!), check in and find somewhere to have dinner before meeting up with people in the evening. After that I’ll spend the evening panicking I would’ve thought - panicking about walking into the place alone. 

The day is usually so crazily busy that I forget to talk to people I wanted to meet or to speak to any of the brands. Last year I spent so much time at the sessions that I didn’t do much socialising. This year, because I can’t go to the awards on the boat (boo!), I’m going to do all my socialising during the day. I’m keeping my eyes out for Renee, Michelle, Aby, and Jade, as well as many others. Do expect me to fling my business cards your way too - I’m going to be making notes on any I receive so that I can connect with people afterwards. 

What I’m wearing

I hadn’t really thought about it but to be honest I’d rather be comfortable than try to be glamorous. So I’ll opt for jeans (obvs!), boots, and a new top I purchased from Tesco a few days ago. I may throw a cardigan in my bag in case it gets chilly but I don’t expect to use it much. 

I’ll either have my hair curly or wavy - I haven’t decided yet but again it’ll be the simplest choice. 

At the conference

I'm still expecting to be nervous but I'm going to fake it - no one will notice right? Lots of smiles, lots of "hello!", and hopefully lots of new connections. At the moment I'm most looking forward to the free wifi - my internet is still not on!

Learning, making connections, and making friends is what Britmums Live is all about this year. If you spot me do come and say hello, I'll be so glad you did!

Are you attending Britmums Live 2017?

How much do you rely on the internet?


You get up in the morning all set for getting on with more blogging and getting posts scheduled, you sit down at the computer and find out the internet is off. Your husband checks if anything is wrong and finds out a reboot hasn't sorted the problem. Annoying right? But you never expect the internet to be off for more than 5 days do you?

This is just what happened to me last week but the story is slightly different in that the internet went off at 3am instead. So by the time I got up I already knew I wouldn't be getting work done so I decided to have a bonus day off while the kids were at school thinking I'd get work done the next day. Unfortunately it has now been 7 days with no internet and I feel like I want to pull my hair out.

In those 7 days I've used nearly 2GB of data on my phone and we're no closer to having our internet fixed. It is not good!

This last week has been annoying but also it's an eye-opener. Think about it...

  • No internet for the computer.
  • No Netflix.
  • No Amazon Fire TV.
  • No updates for phones.
  • No online game playing.

No internet for 30 minutes is no problem right?
You pick up your iPad or other tablet and play games or you do other stuff for a while.

How about 3 hours? 
Well maybe you get housework done or think “bonus time off!”

And 3 days? 
Could you fill your time with non-internet things for 3 whole days?

After 7 days of no internet I feel lost and my phone is up to its limit on data. I’m going to Britmums on Friday and I can’t even talk to anyone on Twitter or Facebook about it. It’s like I’m living in a wifi black zone.

At first it was funny, the Hubby and I had a day off work and figured we’d catch up “tomorrow”. Only tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet and now we’re 6 days behind and still unable to do anything about it. It’s SO frustrating. BT don’t help - apparently it’s not them that is the problem but their supplier. I really don’t know how that becomes our problem but it is. No one can work out what the problem is which means that we still have no internet with no apparent fix in the future.

It’s funny the things you miss when you have no internet. Like listening to my podcasts in a morning while I do my exercise. I had been listening to Michelle Reeves Sparkle on Mama podcast, Trish Blackwell’s podcasts, and of course Tim’s Meet the Parents podcast. It’s been great and has really helped pass the time when I’m on the treadmill. But with no internet that’s not possible. So I have to resort to music on my phone, which isn’t much because I don’t tend to download music onto my phone.

The other thing we’ve missed most is streaming TV. We’ve been watching Dexter and Glee on Netflix lately but with no internet we couldn’t. We’re lucky because we have Dexter on DVD (I know - going old school!) so we can still watch that but we only have Glee on our Amazon Fire TV so that’s a no-go until we have internet.

The boys have hated it too. The games they play after school are online games, like Overwatch, and they tend to play with school friends. Obviously this hasn’t happened in a while and I think they’re starting to get withdrawal symptoms! It is unbelievably difficult to entertain children when you don’t have internet.

On the plus side I have been for more walks, because, well, what else am I going to do with my time?

I have managed to get a lot of washing done and I even did some ironing the other day - by choice! You know it’s bad when you choose to do the ironing!

So, yes. No internet - it’s no fun!

How would you cope if you had no internet for a week?

How to create your very own spa sanctuary at home

After a long hard week at work juggling different responsibilities that leave you feeling exhausted and run down, there's nothing better than relaxing in the comfort of your own home - and that's just being able to chill out on the sofa with a glass of wine in front of the tv. So imagine coming home to your very own spa, where you can close yourself away for an hour or two, and forget all about the worries and stress of everyday life.

Why waste all that money on a trip out to a spa, when you can create your very own? Think about it - walking into the warm air, closing the door behind you, and losing yourself for a while. What gets better than that? To top that off, you only need to add a few extra elements to your bathroom in order to create the right environment. There's no need to take everything out and build a new room (unless you want to of course!) But you don't need to make things difficult for yourself when it's really quite simple.

Here's a list of everything you'll need in order to turn your dull old bathroom into a magical sanctuary.


Now, depending on the style of bathroom you already have will determine whether you are able to install hydrotherapy facilities that mimic the ones that are in your favorite spas - but regardless of this, you are still able to give yourself that special spa touch with affordable amenities.


If you haven't already got a bathtub in your bathroom, have a look at the different shower baths from Drench. They come in all different shapes and sizes, giving you plenty of options to find something that fits perfectly into your own space. Even if you have a small room, you can still enjoy a relaxing soak in a luxury tub of your choice if you look hard enough for one. Just remember that it's not all about the size - the depth is very important too, as you will want to be able to totally submerge yourself under the water. Some tubs even come with built-in seats so you can sit comfortably without having to struggle to hold yourself up.

You should also make sure you get yourself a massage shower head. These not only pour out water like your usual heads, but they provide you with a powerful force of water that creates the impression of having a massage as you enjoy your rest.

Heated towels

Don't forget; you will also want to add some heated towels to the mix too, to greet you with warmth when you're done soaking. You can't finish your time by leaving your hot bath, only to wrap yourself up in a cold, hard towel. This will ruin everything that came before that. - If you want to retain your body heat after your session, then the best way to do so is by covering yourself in a soft, warm towel.

There are plenty of towel warmers on the market, so you have a lot to choose from. It all depends on the style you're going for, as well as how much space you have for one. If you'd like something that can multitask, then a warmer with multiple bars will best, and it also won't cost you much either. You can even mount it to the wall which means you don't have to use up any valuable space.


In order to rejuvenate, you will want to think about adding some aromatherapy. Various difference scents are known to help boost your health and create a positive mood depending on what kind of smell tickles your fancy. One of the most efficient ways of waking up the brain in the morning is actually to take a shower with some peppermint scented soap. And if you're looking for a good night's sleep, the scent of jasmine and lavender will sort you out nicely.


One thing you can do is add scented candles or diffusers around the bath or on the work surface to enhance your experience. Candles are a wonderful option though, because not only will they provide you with a lovely essence, but they will also give you a natural glow of light that adds to the tone.


In order to get the whole spa experience, your bathroom will need to be visually stimulating, but not in the busy sense. The idea is to be calm and tranquil, so it's important you set the right ambience. The phrase "less is more" really comes into play here. Not only will it resemble a spa this way, but it will open up the bathroom, and this is particularly handy if you don't have a lot of space to work with.

Color scheme

To help achieve the look you're going for; it's important to pick out the right selection of colors. If you choose to paint the walls, then you'll want to go with some earthy colors that are nature inspired. This means browns, greens and grays. This pallet will give your bathroom a real organic feel, and that's exactly what you're going for while creating a calming environment.

The smaller your bathroom, the lighter you will want to go so it doesn't risk closing up the space. Anything from pale greens, light grays and beiges will work perfectly. They are soothing, while giving the area more of a spacious feel to it.

Dimmer switch

One thing that you can't go without is lights that can be dimmed. If you're a night owl and prefer to decompress during the night rather than in the morning, make sure to install some ceiling lights or wall sconces that have a dimmer control. By having this, you have the ability to soften the lights when need be, to create a sensual space that allows you to reflect about everything and anything - but then gives you the option of brightening up the room when you need to be productive.

If you are opting for this, don't try installing them yourself as dimmer switches are very complex circuits, so be on the safe side and hire in a professional electrician to sort it out.


Another lovely element that can be added is wood. Whether you go for the real deal or faux, it doesn't really matter as long as it appears to be wood.

You can incorporate this into tiles which could either be used as a feature wall or a floor to create the sense of peace and life. Having said that, if you do opt for real wood, you don't want to put it in a damp area, as this will take its toll over time. This is where the alternative faux wood tile comes in handy. It can be made out of either porcelain or ceramic tile that mimics the same natural texture of real wood, while being super resistant to water. Not only that, but it also comes in various different patterns so you can really add a sense of personality to your spa decor.


The next step - and a very important one at that - is to get rid of any clutter that is lying around and gathering in all the crevices of your bathroom - that isn't spa like at all, so move all of your toiletries, or at least hide them out of sight. Clutter not only looks bad, but it causes tension in the mind due to the mess.

You can avoid this by getting the right kind of storage for all of your things, although this is sometimes a problem when you're working with a small bathroom. First things first is to get rid of all the old random bits and bobs that you don't and won't use. This will free up some space - possibly enough for you to add a cabinet if you're lucky. And if you still need some room on the worktop for your daily toiletries, get a small wooden jar to sit them in, leaving you with an organized selection of items, rather than a pile of mess.



If sitting in silence isn't your cup of tea, then the best way to fill up the empty air is with some soothing music to take you away from your thoughts and open you to everything else.

Create yourself a playlist with your personal favorites that relax you and clear your mind. If you're aren't sure on what to choose, have a look online at various meditation tracks, or maybe a classical piece or two. Or even sounds from the nature, like the wind in the trees, a thunderstorm, or the ocean waves.



There's absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating some beverages and snacks in your quiet downtime. That could be a glass of your favourite wine or champagne, or some fresh sparkling water with a splash of lime, paired with some fresh fruit, or chocolate covered strawberries to be more specific...

Just make sure you use a tub tray to hold all of your items so you're not having to strain to reach things.

Collaborative post

Brain Training - without a device!

I am part of the Board Game Blogger Club and am sent board games occasionally to test out. We were recently sent Cortex Challenge, a brain training game.

The box is small and on opening it took a little time to figure out what we were meant to do. After reading the rules and working out what to do we started playing the game. 

About Cortex Challenge

  • Challenge yourself in a fun, quick-thinking game that will test your brain power to the max!

  • Race other players to be the first to match symbols, correctly remember all objects on a card or find the route out of mazes, amongst many other tests.

  • Winning challenges allows you to add pieces to your all-important brain puzzle, which must be completed before your opponents in order to win the game!

  • Cortex Challenge is sure to tax the mental abilities of players both young and old!

What we thought

The idea of the game is to look at the card and do what the instructions say, when you’ve figured out the answer you cover the card - hopefully before anyone else does. There’s an interesting “touch” element to the game too with touch cards. If you have the right answer you keep the card. You collect the cards and when you have two of a particular type you can trade them in for a brain piece. When you have completed your brain (have 4 brain pieces) you win.

The game takes about 15 - 20 minutes to play and even in one game we learnt a lot. To start with we all did the tests at the same time but soon figured out that LP, our 8 year old, needed a head start. Within 10 minutes the Hubby and I were way ahead and LP was sulking. He couldn’t work out why he couldn’t do it, he decided he was “just rubbish”.

With each card we gave LP either a 2 or a 3 second lead in which he could look at the card and no one else could. To be honest it didn’t help him much because he tried to work out the answer and cover the card in those 2-3 seconds. Inevitably the Hubby and I were way ahead and by the end of the game one card decided who won - and it was me!

Obviously I was really pleased with winning (I don’t win games often) but after playing just one game we realised that Cortex Challenge is not a “family” game. You can’t have adults against children because it’s just not fair. Adults can work out answers far more quickly than children (at least in this game) and that makes the children feel like the game is unfair. 

We told LP that next time he wants to play the game he should just play with BP, that way he might have a chance at winning. 

On the box it says that this is for ages 8+ and while I think that’s right you need to have people with similar abilities against one another. All 8 year olds would be fine, all children probably fine, but a family with two adults and two children - not great. I felt bad for LP.

Cortex Challenge was a fun and quick game which can be slotted in to fit around other things and I’d be inclined to play again. 

Cortex Challenge is available to buy for £12.99 and is suitable for 2-6 players aged 8+.

Have you ever tried a brain training game?

Post Comment Love 22nd - 24th September

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

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. 

Collaborative post

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

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!

Collaborative post

What it's like to start a new fitness routine

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

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! 

Collaborative post

Ahoy! Sea Life Centre, London Ahead!


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?