She's a keeper! Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend's parents

Buying gifts for your own family can be difficult enough at Christmas! So, when you have got your boyfriend’s parents to buy for as well, it can be even more of a challenge. After all, you want to make a good impression. However, you probably don’t know a lot about them, and so it can be difficult to know where to begin your search. But don’t fret, as this post is filled with suggestions to help you out. Read on to discover some of the best Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend’s parents.








Tea or coffee set

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a delicious mug of tea or coffee? Plus, there are plenty of different gift sets available on the market. You could purchase a traditional teapot and a variety of flavored teas. Or, why not opt for some luxurious, coffee grains with two pretty coffee mugs? This is a gift that is guaranteed to go down well.




A gift card for a restaurant

Why not treat your boyfriend’s parents to a lovely meal out for Christmas? A restaurant gift card is assured to be appreciated. You are giving your partner’s parents the opportunity to spend some quality time together at a lovely restaurant. Plus, you can dictate exactly how much you want to spend.




Winter accessories

A lovely cashmere scarf or a pair of leather gloves can go down really well with your new ‘in-laws.’ This may seem like a simple gift, but simple is often better. After all, you don’t know your partner’s parents very well. Plus, winter accessories are perfect for the time of year and you can be sure that the recipients are going to get use out of their new gift.




A beautiful vase and fresh flowers

If you have only met your boyfriend’s parents once or twice, or perhaps you haven’t met them at all, then it is better to play it safe with a beautiful vase and some fresh flowers. A winter bouquet will really brighten up the home at this time of year. Plus, your boyfriend’s parents will have a continual display of the gift you have gotten them, serving as a reminder of how thoughtful and kind you are! Win-win, right?




Christmas hamper

There are many different types of hampers for Christmas. You can get different themed hampers, as well as more general ones. Of course, the latter choice is advised if you don’t know much about your boyfriend’s mother and father. However, if you know that they like a particular type of chocolate or alcohol, for instance, then you can look at hampers that are themed instead.




Something for their pet

Does your boyfriend’s parents have a dog or any other type of animal? If their pet is seen as part of the family – which is usually the case in most homes, why not buy a gift for their four-legged friend? This is bound to go down well, and they will probably be more impressed that you have thought about their animal rather than the fact that you have gotten them a gift.




Slippers

Who doesn’t like a fresh pair of slippers? There is nothing better than sinking your feet into new, soft plush slippers during the cold months. This is another safe option if you don’t know the family too well.




A digital photo frame

A digital photo frame is a great option, especially if your boyfriend does not live at home anymore. He can upload photos of the family, so that his parents have delightful memories on loop in the home all of the time. It’s highly unlikely that this is going to be something his parents already have, and so you will have the surprise factor. In fact, if they aren’t very technologically inclined, they may not even realise that there is such a thing as a digital photo frame, earning you even more brownie points.




A unique kitchen appliance

Don’t purchase something that your boyfriend’s parents are likely to have already, such as a crock-pot. Instead, choose a luxury item – a nice-to-have appliance, rather than a need-to-have. You can purchase ice cream makers and fondue sets at reasonable prices today. Or, what about a machine for making waffles? You will be surprised by the options that are available today.




Chocolate

You can’t go wrong with chocolate, can you? Unless your boyfriend’s parents are diabetic, of course, so it is definitely worth asking about that first. This doesn’t mean chocolate is off the list, however. You will just need to be a bit more savvy with your purchase, i.e. buying low-sugar or diabetic chocolates. If your boyfriend’s mom and dad are not diabetic, you will have an enormous selection of chocolates available to you. Nowadays, there are some incredible and luxurious designs, which look more like works of art rather than chocolate.




Wine-related gift ideas

Wine is almost as fail proof as chocolate is! Of course, the most obvious choice would be to go for a fancy bottle of wine, or some elegant wine glasses. However, there are many more gifts for wine lovers. If your boyfriend’s parents are fans of sparkling wine, you can buy them different flavored accompaniments to turn their Prosecco into fruity cocktails. Alternatively, why not buy a vacuum wine saver? This product is designed to keep wine fresh for a long time. It’s not only ideal for those who have expensive bottles of wine they want to keep a hold of, but it is also a great choice for regular wine drinkers who want to save the rest for later.




Gourmet hot chocolate gifts

Gourmet hot chocolate is another option to consider. If you do a quick search online, you will see that there are many gourmet hot chocolate sets available today. This does not only relate to the chocolate powder itself, but the goodies that come with, such as delicious dark chocolate fruit and nut accompaniments, truffles, and marshmallows.



Personalised gift

A personalised gift always makes a good impression because it shows that you have made the extra effort for the recipient. There are many different personalised presents that are suitable for your boyfriend’s parents. This includes personalised prints, photo frames, and cushions, as well as family memory jars, cheese boards, lanterns, wine glasses, pint glasses, and much more. You name it; you can get it personalised!




An experience

Another option to consider is booking an experience for your new in-laws. This is something you need to be careful with. After all, the last thing you want to do is book an adventure day or a luxury sportscar package if your boyfriend’s mother and father aren’t the thrill-seeking type. It’s best to play it safe if you are not aware of their interests and hobbies, for example, you could book a spa day for the two of them.




Books

If your boyfriend’s parents are keen readers, why not buy them a book each? You don’t need to know their reading list in order to purchase something suitable. You simply need to know what type of books they are interested in. Do they prefer fact or fiction? What genre do they enjoy? Once you have this information, you will have no trouble finding a suitable book. Take the time to read reviews that have been left online by previous customers. This will give you good insight into the book and whether it has gone down well with those that have already purchased it.




Home d├ęcor

Home gifts also work well when you are buying for someone you don’t know very well. Have you visited your boyfriend’s parent’s house before? If so, you should have a good idea of the colour scheme of their property, as well as the style of things they like. This should make it a lot easier. If you have never visited their house before, play it safe with neutral colours that will suit a variety of colour palettes and styles. You don’t have to stick to ornaments and decorations; other options include the likes of scented soaps, fragrance diffusers, potpourri, and candles.




Something funny

Show off your incredible sense of humor with a funny gift. This is a risky present, though; so don’t blame us if it doesn’t go down very well. Nonetheless, if you check out any gift website today, you will see a number of different funny gift options. This includes mammoth sized wine glasses, mugs with funny quotes and phrases on them, funny puzzles, humorous books, and much more. Make sure you get your boyfriend’s parent’s sense of humor before you go down this route, otherwise it could be very embarrassing!

Hopefully, you now have plenty of suggestions regarding what to buy your boyfriend’s parents for Christmas. In fact, you should have the next few Christmases covered!

Collaborative post

7 Things that make me proud of my boys

When you're a parent to school-aged children it is so easy to get bogged down in the routine of things and nagging them to get ready for school. You go through the daily motions of sending them to school and sometimes forget about the things they do to make you proud. That's why I'm taking this moment to think about a few things my boys are doing right now to make me smile.




The Teen


BP has always been a bit quiet, he doesn't like to talk and would much rather sit and watch a movie than talk about his days at school. Despite him being quiet he can get enthusiastic about some topics, like drawing or writing, and lately he's taken an interest in music too.




Drawing


I have an iPad Pro* and Apple Pencil which are great for drawing, I use an app called Procreate and I love it. I can sketch as much as I like and not use up lots of paper, my pencil never needs sharpening, and my colours never run out. It's brilliant. 

Recently BP came up with the idea that he wanted to make his Christmas cards this year and started out by drawing his designs on pieces of paper. He told us he wanted to have them printed and so we helped him look into it. Then it occurred to us that if he recreated his designs on the iPad he could have them look so much better once printed onto the card. The last week or so BP has been borrowing my iPad (much to my disappointment come game time!) so he can recreate his designs. He's doing really well with it and using my things has convinced him he wants an Apple Pencil of his own. 





Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer and clearer still, until your eyes ache. 

David Hockney





I love to see him get enthusiastic because it so rarely happens. While we're not about to go out and buy him an iPad and Apple Pencil (it would cost about £900!!) I will continue to let him use mine because I want to encourage this new enthusiasm. 




Writing


BP's writing floors me sometimes, he has a natural talent that actually makes me question myself. I feel inadequate when I read some of his written work. When encouraged to write, or when I give him a prompt, he can come up with some amazing pieces of writing. At 13 years old he has a way of writing that pulls you in, as long as he is given a little direction at the beginning. 

Of course a lot of his stories are fantasy based, which is great but we're trying to encourage him to write outside of his comfort zone and it's these times that he surprises me most. If BP continues with his writing I have no doubt he will do well, he really does have a natural talent for creating written content. 

How do we encourage his writing? I give him prompts, I give him a setting or I tell him about something and then tell him to go write about it. One of his most impressive pieces of writing was written after me telling him to write about a girl standing under a tree in the middle of a field. What he came up with floored me, I was truly impressed.




Music


This has been a very recent development but he came home with a few letters a couple of weeks ago saying how he'd signed up to sing with the School Choir. It surprised me because BP has never really mentioned music but I liked that he was trying to get involved. Over the next couple of weeks he's going to be singing in the town with the School Choir, he's taking part in the Christmas show at school, and there will be another performance with the choir at school. 

BP has never been confident on stage but as a group with his friends he tends to do better. I can't wait to see how he does with these few things.







The Tween


LP is more confident and outgoing than BP, he likes to be active and hates being still for very long. He's not one to sit around doing nothing. He has always enjoyed being outdoors and loves playing football with his friends despite him not being as good as them. LP also has a talent when it comes to maths, his mind works so fast that he amazes me with his mental maths sometimes. He definitely takes after his dad for that. While LP is a popular boy in school he is not afraid to show that he cares too, as a recent incident in school showed us.




Activity


Like I said LP is an active boy, he loves his football and running around. A few weeks ago he started going to Karate on a Sunday and is loving learning moves and wearing a uniform. It's great to see him enjoying learning every week, we tried him out with Taikwondo a few years ago and he didn't like it but he has really taken to the Karate. 







LP learned to ride his bike in July/August this year and since then he hasn't stopped. After learning to ride and going on his first official bike ride with his dad he has found a love of bike riding. In the last 2 months LP and the Hubby have done more than 250 miles on their bikes! We bought LP a light for his helmet and his bike so they could go on bike rides after school in the dark and since then LP has asked to go on his bike every day. The only trouble with this is that he doesn't know his own limits - he did 2 bike rides last Thursday after a trip to Wollaton Hall during the day with school, needless to say he was worn out.




Maths


Ever since LP started learning at school I noticed a natural talent for maths, he just seems to get it. It doesn't take him long to understand a mathematical concept, he seems to have a logical brain. I've written before about LP doing maths at home and he really enjoys it, he likes numbers being able to use his iPad makes even more enjoyable for him.





Mathematics is the door and key to the sciences.

Roger Bacon





There are times when he surprises us with his mental maths, for example the Hubby will ask BP a maths question and LP will answer it before BP has had a chance! I think it's great that he's so good with numbers and I hope that continues - it's definitely a relief when they're good at that stuff, even if they're better than you!




Popularity


LP has always been popular in school, he's a friendly boy and is always kind. Add that to the fact that he's good at maths and everyone wants him on their team when it comes to maths quizzes! LP has lots of friends and it's good to see him mixing with friends when he goes to school. The best thing about all this though is not really his popularity but the fact that he isn't afraid to stick up for people. A couple of times he has come home and told me about bullying he witnessed at school and he reported it straight away. He is not afraid of the bullies and he sticks up for his anyone he thinks needs it. I love that about him. He has helped two boys to stand up against bullies in the last week and even discussed it with his head teacher. You know you're doing a good job when your boy stands up for people who won't stand up for themselves.




My boys


I have watched my boys grow into wonderful people - they care about their friends, they stick up for those less fortunate, and they know what they like. From their talents to their caring nature my boys make me proud almost every day and I am so thankful for that. Even though they can drive me mad and turn me into Evil Mum they are still my boys and will keep reminding myself how proud I am of them. 






Being a parent is a tough job, it can be tiring and frustrating at times but if you take time out and think about your children I have no doubt you'll be able to think of something your child does to make you proud. 

So tell me, what makes you proud of your children?

Don't rush in! Extra costs you need to consider when buying a new home

When people decide to purchase a new home, they usually spend a lot of time checking out all the available properties on the market. They then visit their bank and ask how much they could borrow in the form of a mortgage. It’s essential that you refrain from purchasing a house that is going to require your entire budget. That is because new homeowners always have to spend a lot of money to personalise the dwelling when they first arrive. Considering that, there are some extra costs you might like to review on this page. With a bit of luck, reading about these expenses now will assist you in making the right financial decisions in the future. 




Decorating the house 


There is no getting away from the fact that you will have to decorate the house if you want to make it feel like a home. Luckily, most sellers will paint the walls in neutral colours to encourage buyers to make them an offer. So, you should have a blank canvas from which to start your interior design task. Ask your kids which colours they would prefer in their bedrooms, and try to purchase all the paint from the same store at the same time. That is the best way to get discounts. Also, ensure that you work together as a family to complete the decoration job as quickly as possible. In most instances, you shouldn’t have to spend more than £500 to make the house perfect for your family. 




Installing new kitchens and bathrooms


You’ll discover a stunning selection of bathroom suites online and at specialist stores near your home. So, it’s just a case of determining your budget and working out which designs will look fantastic. Just remember that you should never mess around with plumbing unless you have experience and qualifications. The last thing you want to do is flood your new house and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage. People in that profession tend to earn a decent wage, and so you’re probably going to need somewhere between £500 and £1000 to employ their services. However, it’s worth the expense if it means you get peace of mind. 




Improving the heating systems


Lots of homes in the UK still use electric or storage heaters. While those devices work well, they use too much energy and cost a fortune to run. With that in mind, you’ll want to arrange for the installation of central heating as soon as possible. You might even consider linking a generator to the system in case you ever have any power cuts. During that process, it also makes sense to take a look at your windows. If the house has single glazing; it’s sensible to replace it with some triple glazing as soon as you can. If you do that, the home won’t lose as much heat, and you will reduce your monthly utility bills. 





Now you know about some of the most common extra costs families face after purchasing a new home; you can make better plans for the future. If the bank manager says you can borrow £150,000; make sure you only spend around £135,000 so you have lots of cash left over to pay for the improvements and renovations. See you next time!

Collaborative post

Finding yourself after the kids have started school

In life there are certain times when you can feel lost, an event or changes in circumstances make you question yourself and you begin to wonder where the "real" you disappeared to. It could be that the "real" you never disappeared, just changed, or it could be that you need to rediscover who YOU are. 



Kids starting school


For mums this is a prime time to want to "find yourself" again. You're suddenly given a few hours every week day with no kids and that can be quite a daunting prospect. If you like cleaning (are you an alien?!) then you can fill your days with cleaning and the house will look amazing, but if you don't like cleaning (like me!) then you'll need something to fill those hours (not daytime TV) or you'll get bored.

Just before LP started school I was panicking, I had no idea what I would do with all that time. I hated watching daytime TV and didn't want to become the stereotypical stay-at-home mum who sits on her bottom all day drinking tea and watching the TV. I have always been ambitious but when I had the boys I put that aside and didn't really come back to it. It wasn't until I read a blog, written by author Helen Killough-Walden, that I thought about what I could do with that time. 





If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. 

Bruce Lee





I turned to writing when LP went to school, I drafted a novel and started this blog. That was nearly 6 years ago now and I'm so glad I came to that decision because it has changed me. Writing every day is something I was meant to do and I love it. I feel fulfilled when I get to write - even if it sounds like a diary entry. 

Despite putting the novel away a while ago I am now looking at it again - it seems my head won't let me quit on that one. 

Okay so I'm practised at this now, I've been doing it for 6 years, but if you're just starting out and have no idea what to do with this time then why not explore? Do different things every day until you find the thing you want to do more than once?



Hobbies


Some women turn to their hobbies at this time, they spend all the hours doing crochet or cross-stitch and relax. Some women write, some do crafts. Do you have a hobby?

If you're stuck for ideas here are a few to get you started:


  • Writing - do you have an idea for a short story or a book? Could you start a blog?
  • Sketching - I admire anyone who has artistic talent and can sketch beautiful landscapes.
  • Reading - Get lost in a good book - who doesn't love that?
  • Photography - you have lots of time to wander around your local area - are there places you could take some lovely photos?
  • Exercise - okay so this isn't really a hobby but maybe you could think about it?

You can find a huge list of hobbies over on Wikipedia.



Quiet time


My biggest piece of advice is to take advantage of the quiet time. When you get back home after the school run make yourself a hot coffee (or tea if you prefer), sit for five minutes and enjoy the quiet of the house. Take those five minutes for YOU.


woman sits with legs up on sofa holding a red cup of coffee and reading a kindle.


Think about what would make you happy. How would you like to spend the day? 

With the kids at school you have the time to work out what YOU enjoy. This time is about YOU and it is your chance to learn. 



Bumps in the road


There are always going to be times when you can't, for whatever reason, take time out for yourself. Your child could be ill and off school, you may have obligations, but know that that's life. These things are thrown at us to test us.





There's always going to be bumps in the road. There's always going to be this and that, adversity. You just overcome it...

Odell Beckham, Jr.





Even now, after 6 years and thinking I've got this thing down, I am constantly being thrown new challenges. This year I was diagnosed with cervical cancer - it was a tough few months and everything was in limbo for a while. But now that that is over I am able to focus again and actually that time has helped me focus on my targets. 



Don't force it


Some women have this time to themselves and discover their passion, they turn their passion into a business and you see them do well. They are able to work at something they love while still taking care of their children. Amazing. 

Some women struggle. It's difficult to watch your children grow up and not need you as much anymore. It's difficult to try to learn things about yourself, to find new hobbies or try out new things when all you've done for the last few years is be a mum. 

My advice is to take it easy. Don't force decisions, don't try to hurry. If you need more time to drink more coffee - go for it. Enjoy the peace and quiet, put the TV on if you like. Give yourself time to adjust to the kids being at school but keep in mind that you'll want something to do eventually. You can think about it without having to do anything. 



You can be happy where you are


If you discover you're happy as you are that's fine too. Right now the world seems to focus on women getting away from the "being a mum" stuff and doing something for themselves and becoming "mumpreneurs" - a word I hate by the way. As far as I'm concerned you're either an entrepreneur or you're not, but anyway I digress. 

Enjoying being mum, taking care of your family and cleaning the house is a wonderful thing to do. If that makes you happy there's no need to find yourself because you already did! 


woman reaching her arms up into the air. She is smiling, wearing sunglasses. She stands on rocks by the ocean.


woman raises her arms into the air and cheers.

How do you spend your time while the kids are at school?

Add a touch of romance to your festive season

Christmas is definitely around the corner; there are decorations everywhere, and every advert seems to be about gifts and festive food to celebrate this special time of year. As parents; you’ll probably find yourself running around like a headless chicken behind the scenes, ensuring that gifts have been bought, the decorations are up, and you have a fully stocked fridge. Kids will be taking the focus, and seeing the season through their eyes will always make it more magical. However, it’s important that you don't forget yourself and your partner at this time of year so that the whole family has a Christmas to remember.

Romance might not be first on your priority list when it comes to the season ahead; however, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself and your partner to celebrate together (after you’ve hidden the elf on the shelf). Ensuring that you make an effort to appreciate each other will help the festivities to run smoothly and ensure that you’re continuing to strengthen all the elements of your relationship. The following are some ideas, inspiration, and advice for those who can’t wait for Christmas to begin in their home and want everyone to feel festive and loved.









Time Out From The Kids


It’s not about running off together to a desert island until Christmas day arrives, but it’s worth taking those precious moments when the kids are asleep, or at a sleepover, to spend your time with one another. Order a takeaway and catch up over the dinner table, before watching a movie together. Sit together on the sofa and ask about how each other are. You can learn a lot about how one another is feeling in the space of an hour or so, and you can offer support and advice, or it might just be that you enjoy laughing looking back over the week. Whatever you discuss; you’ll both come away feeling lighter and in a better mood.

Regular date nights shouldn’t be pushed to one side just because it’s the festive season; make sure that you keep making an effort to head out for dinner with your other half. Getting dressed up and making an effort to see each other outside of the family and home environment will always feel like a treat and will give you the boost you need to get through the rest of the silly season. Put these dates down in both of your calendars so that nobody double books, and take it in turns to choose where to go and what to do. You can always add a Christmas touch to a date night by going ice skating, grabbing a drink at a Christmas market, or heading to watch a festive movie; nobody said to ignore what time of year it is!



Thoughtful Festive Touches


Your other half may well need socks again this year, but make sure that you’re still putting plenty of effort and thought into their gift. Of course, the kids will take priority, and you’ll have managed to thrill them on the day with what Santa has brought them. However, it’s worth checking out some cool gifts for guys and finding something a little different and special this year; your other half will be so surprised that your date nights might actually increase!

Think about what your favourite foods and drinks are around this time of year. You can get your bake on with the kids and create something delicious that you know your spouse will enjoy nibbling on as you all sit and watch T.V together. Get a few bottle of their favourite drink and have them chilled for you both to enjoy when the kids are in bed; it’s often those little touches that bring romance into a relationship, and it’s not all about grand gestures.




Keep The Teamwork Going


Like any parents; you’ll need to consider the needs of your kids and navigate the festive period as a team, especially when little ones get over excited (and eat all of their advent calendar at once). Therefore, it’s vital that you stick together and keep the teamwork alive. You can make an evening out of wrapping presents together; grab some nibbles and pop some music on so that you’re having fun as you get through the endless rolls of sellotape. The more fun that you have together, and the more that you’re able to find it in the everyday tasks of family life, the better. Afterall, there’s nothing more romantic than laughing and giggling through the festive season with one another, apart from the odd sprig of mistletoe!

Collaborative post

Post Comment Love 24th - 26th November

Welcome back to another Post Comment Love with Stephanie and me, link up your best/favourite post of the week and we'll give it some extra love!

Can you believe it's almost December? In fact it's just one month away from Christmas Day - how ready are you?

I'm not. Not at all. I have bought a few bits and pieces but nothing really interesting and I don't even have many ideas. This year I feel like it's crept up on me quietly and now it's like "ta-da" and I can see myself scrambling to buy anything remotely interesting just to say I did it.

When you're an adult I think you get to a point where you've already bought all the different kinds of presents you could ever think of for previous birthdays and Christmas and you end up stuck for ideas.  For the women in our family we done the jewellery thing, the perfume/bath set thing, the pamper (spa day) thing, and gift cards don't really cut it - so what on earth do you get? The silly thing is I can think of plenty of things for myself - of course being a blogger and seeing lots of posts entitled "what a blogger wants for Christmas" might help with that! It wasn't that long ago I was saying I didn't want anything!

Christmas is taking up a lot of thinking time at the moment, obvs, but we've got a lot of other stuff going on too. Next week we're having our heating system changed, we had a call about a month ago about an Air Source Heat Pump - to be honest it's all rather complicated but the idea is that we won't pay for gas for our heating anymore. There will be a device outside our house, kind of like an air conditioner, and it will draw heat from outside and use that to heat our house. Like I said it's all complicated but we're having it installed next week, on Wednesday, so heating our house from next week should be a lot better. Time will tell. It would be good to have our heating issues sorted before Christmas.

Okay so I don't usually comment on the Blogger Showcase before I list it but this time I wanted to because our Blogger is Kim from Northumberland Mam. I've read Kim's blog for a few years now (and love it), and she is a regular linker to Post Comment Love. Kim is a lovely blogger and I hope you show her all the blogger love.




Blogger Showcase Kim from Northumberland Mam




Who are you?


I'm Kim. A nearly 40 year old. Eek! I am a stay at home mam from Northumberland up in the North East. I live up here with my fella Stu who sometimes gets a mention on my blog and I have two girls Becky my teen and Ellie my tween.




How did you discover blogging?


I used to enter a lot of competitions...I still do. I discovered blogs running giveaways and started reading them. Sometimes a none giveaway blog post would catch my eye and I felt the need to read and comment.




Why did you start blogging?


After reading a lot of blogs I thought I want to do this. Blog and write about our lives. So I did and in November this year my blog will be five years old.




What do you find most challenging?


Turning down paid blog posts.....I don't earn money for personal reasons from my blog and it is so hard to say no to paid blog posts. I do though. A few years ago I tried to make a living from blogging and as a family we ended up worse off financially.




What is your favourite topic to write about?


My girls and the journey we have been on as a "heart family". I have a heart defect and both of my girls did. They had open heart surgery and I like to raise awareness about CHD's.




Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?


When I started blogging I had goals. To reach so many followers on social media, to be in the Tots 100 and to have something amazing sent to us to review. I have achieved all those goals so now it is just for fun.




What is your favourite thing about blogging?


The different people I have made connections with. There is a few bloggers which I would class as friends even though I have never met them. Bloggers are awesome people.




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


No. There are times when I really want to meet up with all the amazing bloggers I speak to online but then the fear takes over. I am a shy person in real life and when confronted with strangers I turn into a gibbering mess.




What are your three best posts?


As of writing this I have written 1944 posts! Eek! So to choose just 3 is hard. These are 3 which sprung to mind.


Our #CHD Story....Part Two! The worst time in our lives but we survived. http://northumberlandmam.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/our-chd-storypart-two.html






Describe yourself in 3 words.


Shy, friendly and nervous.




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


Coffee and cake but I do like to dunk biscuits in tea.




What's your idea of the perfect night out?


With my best friends at our local pub with plenty of wine and good music.




And the perfect night in?


A takeaway, wine and a film with my fella.




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


I am always there for people.



You can connect with Kim here:


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions Kim, I hope one day we get to meet! Please feel free to grab our 'featured' badge and display it ever-so-proudly on your blog. 


Post Comment Love
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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.

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Switching to LED undercabinet lighting

Undercabinet lighting is the best way to add another layer of lighting to your kitchen. It can look striking yet understated, and it can also make your kitchen more functional when it performs as task lighting. If you’re considering investing in undercabinet lighting, here’s everything you need to know. 




What is undercabinet lighting?


Undercabinet lighting can either be placed underneath your cabinets or inside them. If they are placed underneath cabinets, they will illuminate the work surface below. If you place them inside cabinets, they will light up the inside of the cabinet itself, which can be handy for finding items in a dark cupboard. You can even place undercabinet lighting in drawers. 







Styles of lighting


One of the most popular styles of undercabinet lighting is the puck style. This is a round light which is easily installed to your cabinet without the need for drilling – you just simply stick them on! You can also purchase battery operated puck lights. This type of light is ideal if you rent your home, or you wish to place undercabinet lights in an area where there isn’t easy access to a plug. The second type of undercabinet lighting which is popular with homeowners is strip lighting. They are dimmable and flexible, which makes them ideal for complicated spaces, and they are also available in a variety of colours which can add a design element to your kitchen. 

Undercabinet lighting can either be recessed into the cabinet itself, or surface mounted. Recessed lights often require attaching to the mains supply, whilst surface mounted lights can be plugged in or battery operated. In terms of design, recessed lights often look neater and more streamlined. 




How to choose your undercabinet lighting


There are several different factors to consider when you are choosing your undercabinet lighting. Firstly, if you’re going to install the lights under your cabinets, you’ll have to think about the countertops that they are illuminating. Matte worktops reflect the light more smoothly and they produce fewer glares, so if you have this type of kitchen, you’ll be able to choose from a wider selection of lighting. If you have a glossy countertop (think granite or other types of stone) bright lights can produce a lot of glare, so you’ll have to opt for undercabinet lights with a lower lumen value. If you have dark counters, they’ll absorb the light so you’ll need a higher lumen value.






You’ll also have to think about the colour temperature. If you’re working with recipe books in your kitchen, a cooler temperature works best as it is brighter. However, if you want undercabinet lighting to add ambience (for example, in a bathroom) warmer temperatures work better. 




Why choose LED?


LED bulbs are an ideal choice for undercabinet lighting for several reasons. LEDs emit less heat than fluorescent or halogen bulbs, so they’ll keep you cool whilst you are cooking. This also makes them perfect for undercabinet lights which you place inside a cupboard, or if you are illuminating wooden worktops – the lack of heat means there is no risk of the wood being warped or damaged. LED bulbs also work well in high humidity, which makes them suitable for a bathroom where there is a lot of steam. You will hardly ever need to replace LED bulbs as they have a long lifespan (around 50,000 hours) so fitting them in complex, tight spaces is easy and you won’t have to replace the bulb regularly. In fact, if you have your light on for around 10 hours a day, you would only need to replace it every 13 years.

Although LED bulbs can seem expensive initially, you will recoup the costs in your electricity bill over the years, as well as hardly ever needing to replace them. Not too long ago, LEDs were expensive to purchase and restrictive in terms of their colour options – thanks to retailers such as Light Supplier, you can find LED undercabinet lighting in a range of styles and colours, from bright cool white to atmospheric warm white. 

Would you add undercabinet lighting to your kitchen? Or, if you already have it, would you consider switching to LED?

Collaborative post

Do you supplement your child's school learning with home learning?

It’s almost been a month since my boys went back to school and we are well and truly back into a routine. I get up every morning (yes every morning) and do exercise and then I get the boys up and sort their breakfast before school.

By 8:30am BP has taken himself off to school and I’m heading out the door with LP in tow. At 9:00am I arrive home and have until 3:15pm to myself. Of course in this time I write posts for the blog and do other stuff.







Having the boys back at school is a welcome break after the summer and being back in a routine has done us all good. One thing I have noticed though is that my boys seem to take a few steps backwards during the summer when it comes to their academic abilities. We noticed it most with LP this year. At the end of the last school year he was well ahead of his classmates with his maths. He practiced every day and loved it. Over the summer we didn’t have a lot of time to for him to practise his maths and as a result he has gone backwards and needs to recap some things. It’s a shame really because he was doing so well. I’m not concerned because I know he will soon get back into it - in fact he has.







  • Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. 

Anthony J. D'Angelo







After weeks back at school he’s loving his maths again and I’m trying to get him to enjoy English too which he’s not so keen on. So when he’s at home, after school and at weekends, we supplement his school learning with learning at home.



For reading it’s fairly easy because he already loves reading, he’s currently reading The Hobbit on his Kindle. His handwriting is a little more difficult because he hates writing. I use various tactics to help him with this and it’s doing it every day that helps improve his handwriting most. Although I have noticed a slight difference in the writing he does at home vs the writing he does at school - his school work is much neater.

As for his maths there are various things we use - like the Smartick Method.









Smartick Method






I have written about Smartick before and I have to say I think it’s a brilliant way to supplement schoolwork. Not only does LP have daily tests which help his cognitive learning and problem solving but he gets achievements along the way too and that helps to encourage him. LP also loves the home area where he can buy things (using the in app stars) for his home an display them wherever he chooses. It’s his very own customisation and he gets so excited when he’s earned enough stars for a new item.








At 8 years old the Smartick Method has really helped LP and always makes him excited for his daily tests. Don’t get me wrong, he has his moments when he gets frustrated with it because he hasn’t read a question right or he isn’t doing what the app wants him to but generally he enjoys it.

You can get your child a subscription to Smartick Method for £39 per month, the price reduces if you want a subscription for more than one child. I would highly recommend it, particularly if your child could do with a little helping hand with their maths.




Maths Training on the Nintendo DS


A Nintendo DS game, Maths Training, surrounded by cubes with mathematical equations on them. A 3DS sits above the game and a pair of glasses sit on the table too.


Maths Training was a game we purchased many years ago, just after the Nintendo DS came out in 2005. The Hubby loved it, he’s a huge maths whizz, and played it for hours. It also helped BP when he was LP’s age and he used to practise his maths most days. Now it helps LP with his maths. It has cell calculations and incorporates addition and multiplication as well as other mathematical concepts. It also helps with writing numbers because you have to write on the screen. This was a huge help with LP in the beginning because he had trouble writing his numbers. He would often write his numbers backwards and using the Maths Training game trained him to write them properly because it wouldn’t accept the answer until he wrote them properly.

To us Maths and English are two core subjects that need to be pushed. I’m lucky that both my boys are quite good at these subjects and enjoy them but even if they didn’t I would still be encouraging further learning at home.






  • The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!





I know the general consensus these days is that children should be allowed to be children and in some ways I agree. I think that children should be given the opportunity to explore the outdoors and have fun. I agree that children shouldn’t have to sit silly tests in order to place them in a list. But - I think we should push our children to try harder. I believe we should teach our children to persevere which seems to be something the younger generations lack.



2 boys and their father play mini golf in Highfields Park in Nottingham. The father is taking his shot close to the hole as the youngest boy watches.



We supplement our boys’ school learning with home learning, and that doesn’t just include the things I’ve mentioned. We let them watch the news with us in a morning and that often results in them asking about things. These can range from political questions to economical ones and the Hubby often ends up discussing complicated economical issues.

We also discuss things during our weekly drive to visit family. The topics we talk about range from dinosaurs to music choices and what it takes to be a “rock star”.

As parents we believe that giving our children a wide range of experiences can expand the topics they’re aware of and help them see the wider world for what it is.

So, do you supplement your child’s school learning with home learning?


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Health and weight loss update - month 2

It has been 2 months since I started this latest campaign to be more healthy and lose weight. I've seen lots of changes this month and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.




Last month (October)


Weight: 13st 6.6lbs
Fitness: 10 1 minute sessions of running within 30 minutes exercise on the treadmill.

Last month was difficult, I'd just started the campaign and it was about training my body to get used to not only getting up earlier but also to eating a lot less than I was used to. Admittedly I had been over eating a lot and it was time to make a change. But that's just what I did and I made quite a difference in that first month.

The exercise was helping and I was feeling better, I had started to notice a difference in my clothes and was hoping that by now I would've lost a stone.





  • To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise. 

Gene Tunney





This month (November)


Weight: 13st 1.4lbs
Fitness: 10 minutes running within 30 minutes on treadmill.

So the loss hasn't been as big as it was last month but I'm not complaining (okay, I am but not much), I've made bigger differences elsewhere. My weight seems to have fluctuated a lot this month, around that time of the month I was stuck at 13st 4lbs for ages and it took extra effort to kick-start the loss again. I tend to get that sometimes, my periods impact my weight loss a lot and it can get quite frustrating at times. At the same time though I'm almost at a new milestone - being less than 13stones. That's really close now and I hope I get there soon.

Obviously losing weight has made a difference to the clothes I'm wearing and just last week I had to pull out my size 16 jeans. I have to say that felt really good! I can now fit into size 16 jeans - go me! Add to that the fact that my sports bra isn't quite as snug as it was and I can feel I'm losing weight. Still lots of work to do but moving down a size shows my efforts are paying off.






The exercise has been the biggest difference I've noticed. Half way through this month my treadmill broke, it kept slipping when I was using it and it got so bad that it was unusable. I was distraught because treadmills aren't cheap and I didn't want to have to buy a new one. While the treadmill was out of commission I turned to our elliptical - I hadn't used it much before but I needed to get my 30 minutes exercise in. The elliptical didn't really get much use before I started using it and actually it's really good. I thought it would kill me trying to do that for 30 minutes but I found it easier than the treadmill and it burns more calories too!

Once my treadmill was fixed (thanks Hubby!) I went back to the treadmill for my exercise and found that even with just a few days of elliptical I could run for longer. So now I tend to alternate which machine I'm using, although just lately the elliptical is getting a bit squeaky and needs oiling. I believe (I don't know if it's true) that pushing myself on the elliptical is making my legs stronger so I am able to run for longer on the treadmill. And it feels SO good to see the improvement.

Don't get me wrong, I still have days when I don't want to do it but they're much more rare these days.




Food


Food has been very similar to last month, we're finding more and more meals that we can have and it's not as bad as we thought it would be. Some days I do really well, others not so much. But the fact that we can still have chocolate is a bonus!






Our favourite meal at the moment... hmm I think there's two of them. The first is my biryani, the boys love it, the Hubby loves it, I love it, and it's healthy (or healthier than some meals!) - what more can you ask for? The second has been a surprise actually, last month I mentioned the Chicken Lo Mein from the Tasty website/app? Well it turns out we all love that one, even the boys! They eat the vegetables and like the chicken and noodles (LP's favourite bit). It's been on our list every week so far and the fact that it's a quick-to-cook meal means we can have it on a Sunday evening after returning home from visiting family.




What next?


To be honest it's much of the same, continuing with the exercise, continuing with the healthy eating. I'm not sure how possible that will be around Christmas but I'm hoping I have the willpower for it.





  • Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings. 

Publilius Syrus





My hope is that the weight loss continues and Christmas won't have too much impact. Although realistically it will, mince pies are my downfall!

If you're trying to lose weight how do you intend to stay on track over Christmas?

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