Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Finding a Work Life Balance as a Mum

Everyone wants to achieve that delicate equilibrium - where you give both work and home life the right amount of your attention and time. But perhaps more than anyone else, mums to young children can find it particularly challenging to strike the right balance.

Do the Pros of Working Post-Baby Outweigh the Cons?

You may have gone back to work because you had to, or because you wanted to. Either way, there’s always a cost for new mums. It can be a no-win situation: If you go to work, you have to sacrifice some of the time you could be spending with your kids. If you stay at home, there’s going to be less money for the household. Decide what is the best option for your family. Perhaps part-time work is the solution to give you some time fulfilling both roles of mum and provider.

If you decide you’re better off working, there are some practical steps you can take to achieve that work life balance.  But you’ve got to think about your mindset and your philosophical attitude towards it.

Let Go of Guilt


Some argue that maternal guilt kicks in from the day your baby is born. There’s always something to feel guilty about it seems. Am I doing everything wrong?

Are you feeling like a failure because you don’t have time to cook organic baby food? If so, remember that many kids are going hungry in the world. At least yours have food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in.

Don’t be too hard on yourself for not being supermum whilst holding down a job. Similarly, don’t feel guilty if you arrive at work a few minutes later than your colleagues as you have to fit the school run in. You can always make up the time over lunch. Instead of worrying about the things you don’t do perfectly, give yourself a pat on the back for the juggling that you do achieve.


Accept you Can’t Have it All

The concept of being able to ‘have it all’ is one that leads to frustration. Why? Because it’s a total myth. A myth that, for most of us, is unattainable. The sooner you accept that you’re a human being with limitations, not some demi-god, the happier you’ll be. Forget about what’s missing in your life and focus on the positives. Think about what you have - those fantastic kids and a job that means that you can support them.


Give Yourself a Break

It’s all very well making time for both your family and for work, but work-life balance won’t be complete unless you make some time for yourself too. Many mums feel that having ‘me’ time is a selfish idea, so they do without it. But, if you spend all your time thinking about everyone else, you’ll end up feeling too frazzled to do anything at all. Even if you only have an hour to yourself once or twice a week, you’ll feel the benefit and be a calmer and more relaxed mum.
  


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Being a woman in 2016


Being a woman in 2016 is hard, men have expectations of how women should look, so does the media and to make the matter even sadder, so do other women.

Every where you look there are publications of the new top models that are pretty much telling us that this is how we should all look, but the reality is size 0 is not a sustainable or healthy body weight, we should all be able to feel great in the skin that we are in. It's high time we look past the mass photoshopped persona that the media dangle like a carrot in our faces at every possible opportunity. It quite simply is not real and we all need to stop beating ourselves up emotionally and physically over something that even these models have not achieved once you take away the air brushing and touch ups.

You only need to look to the media and the celebrities that get splashed all over the television and magazines to see that even these ladies are a far cry from happy. They put there bodies through the mill in the favour of their next big gig, but can you imagine having the pressure to look a certain way on that kind of scale? I know that I would absolutely hate it, I like to be able to rock out on the school run in my gym kit and my hair scraped back in a pony tail, I have absolutely no time for anything else first thing in the morning, nor would want to (aside from that very first cup of coffee!).

Have you ever stopped to think about the  beauty regimes that these ladies have and do carry out on a regular basis? I can easily go a year without even getting a hair cut, and I can't remember the last time I booked in to get my nails done, so to think about what the celebrities of 2016 have done in the name of beauty on a monthly basis is alien to me.

I picked the top 5 beauty regimes that really made my eyes water and thought it would be fun to share them with you here:

Anal bleaching - Ok seriously, I didn't even know this was a thing? Basically this fancy number is a beauty trend in which both men and women 'bleach' the skin around their anus to create a lighter and more even skin tone. Why? I have no idea!

Colonic Irragation - This is one I have heard of but can't say it appeals to me any more now than it did then... Colonic Irrigation is where waste material is flushed out of the bowel using water that is suirted through a tube that has been inserted up your bum...

Bikini Waxing - Would you believe that in my 27 years I have never endured a bikini wax? It's something that I have always thought I should give a go, after all I have had a baby... It can't be that bad... Right?

Liposuction - I have never really considered any form of plastic surgery. I feel like if you want to loose a few inches or shed a few pounds then you should definitely get more active and eat well. Liposuction is of course a medical procedure that removes unwanted body fat...

Breast Implants - Ok so this is a step further than just a beauty regime (unless your Katie Price and it's comparable to an outfit change), but the fact is it happens. I have always had a small chest, and it's something that I am ok with, something that really I am actually happy about. I can wear what I want, I can even go bra less which makes outfit choices that much easier!

There are so many different procedures and regimes out there, and so many ladies (and men in cases) are being driven to 'better' themselves. Self acceptance is a wonderful thing and I truly believe that we all have the potential to be happy in the skin that we are in. It has taken me years to finally feel as confident on the inside as I appear on the outside, but it's something that I want other ladies to feel.

Don't be afraid to just be yourself, your worth your weight in gold and no one has the power to make you feel inferior unless you give them the consent.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Win a 60 Minute Phone Reading with Psychic Readings Worth £90!


Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there are some things that cannot be explained away. I have to admit that I have always been on the fence about these sorts of things, but there have been instances where I have been left completely open mouthed.

A few years ago I went along to a medium evening hosted at a local arts centre, not for one second did I think that he was going to come and talk to me, but no sooner had it started, the spotlight was upon us and we were there talking to Derek Accorah. He was talking to my Mum and the more he said, the more we realised that he was talking about my Mum's late Aunt. I never met her as she moved to the states long before I was born, but over the years we have got to know my second cousin and that's where the jigsaw pieced together. My Mum was completely blown away by the experience and I was left a little red faced after facing an entire audience of people!

There was another instance where I visited a Tarot night at a local bar, I knew that I would be walking away with a reading, but not for one second did I expect this guy to know everything about me. He asked me to shuffle the cards and take out a few. I did just that and in the mean time he has asked me for the ring that I am wearing. I oblige and hand it over to him, and it was then that things started to get interesting.

I had gone along with my Mum and my sister, just for a giggle and to get out of the house for an hour or so. But then this guy starts telling me all sorts, it was as though he had my mobile phone in front of him and he was reading my messages! I of course went bright red and laughed (I laughed a lot but he was completely spot on about all of it), and then he told me that I had a spirit guide. An older man that I wasn't directly related to, but someone that cared for me. Someone that had a fantastic and cheeky sense of humour, and someone that had passed over only a few short years ago. He mentioned my fitness journey and the weight that I had lost, and they told me that this spirit guide of mine approved! I knew straight away who he was talking about and it put a big smile on my face.

Whether you believe or not, or whether you are just curious like I was, you might be interested to know that Psychic Readings currently have a competition running for one lucky winner to win a 60 minute phone reading worth £90.00!

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to fill out the Rafflecopter form on their entry page. You can go back each day and Tweet about the competition to gain additional entires. The giveaway closes on the 19th December 2016.

Win a £100 Argos Voucher with Nomow

If there is one thing that has become apparent since I moved into my new home, it's that I am not very good at mowing the lawn. When I say I am not very good, I mean that the only time it has been mowed is when the Father comes over and see's just how abysmal it is looking.

It's a new lawn that was only laid a few short months ago, just before I moved in to be precise. It constantly has weeds growing through that the builders neglected to remove before they laid the turf right over it, and having a puppy who has taken to peeing in one precise area of the lawn is not helping matters!


I have seen so many people talking about artificial grass, and having seeing how their personal results have come out, I know that one day it is something that I would absolutely love to do for myself. 

Nomow are Europe's market leading manufactures and installers of artificial grass. They provide it for schools, nurseries and gardens just like yours and mine. They also provide it for safety surfaces and golf courses, and they now have over 20 years knowledge and experience under their belt.

If providing a fantastic alternative to traditional grass is not enough, Nomow have launched a giveaway for one lucky winner this Autumn to win a Argos Voucher worth £100.00 in time for Christmas. Now who can tell me that winning a voucher like this wouldn't help relieve the stress of the upcoming Christmas period?

I know that it would be a huge blessing for me at this time of year, and I am sure that I am not alone in feeling the pressure that comes with making sure you have catered to everyone come December 25th.

You can enter the Nomow Competition right here, and all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is fill out the Rafflecopter form on their entry page (link above) and then if you want to, you can check back each day and gain an extra entry by tweeting about the giveaway! 

It really is that simple! 
Who wants to give it a go!?




Christmas Around the World


If there is one time of year I absolutely love being at home in the UK, it's Christmas. I adore the festive feeling that comes along with the chill in the air and Jack Frost coating everything in that glittery sparkle. Being tucked away at home with the Christmas tree twinkling in a dark room with a Christmas movie on the television, makes everything feel so magical, and that is exactly why I couldn't imagine being anywhere else at this time of year (Although my recent visit to New York did make me second guess this!).

Of course Christmas does take place around the entire world and not everybody's traditions reflect our own (That's what makes it fun right?), as long as I have my nearest and dearest around me come Christmas Day and I know that I have a Turkey dinner coming my way, I am always a very happy lady. 

It did get me thinking about how different Christmas can be in different countries, what food do they eat? What are there Christmas Traditions? Do they vary much from our own? Bright Horizons Nursery in Manchester have put together the below infographic that might just enlighten you the way it did me...


Who should win the Rattan Direct Wildlife Competition?

Dalmatian Puppy

I love getting behind the camera and getting creative with the pictures I take. I like to think that my photography has come a long way since my early days blogging. This was taken a month a go while out on a dog walk, I am lucky that Lux is very photogenic (I guess he has to be with me as his owner), but I was very pleased of this shot by the lake.

Speaking of photography, Last month I told you all about how you could win a Rio (Armed) 4 chairs and a open leg square table set with Rattan Direct. All you had to do was take some snaps of the wildlife that comes into your garden, lots of you took part and I have seen some beautiful photographs. Rattan Direct have now picked their favourite 5 and opened the final decision up to all of us. 

They have asked you and I to vote for our favourite wildlife picture, and then the photo with the most votes will be the winner of the very lovely table and chair set! The winner is set to be announced on Monday 19th December 2016, so make sure to keep an eye out on Rattan's Social Media channels in case your picture takes the number one spot!

The vote to select the winner has been opened up as a poll, you can vote for your favourite photograph right here. The top 5 photos have been laid out along side each other so that you can see all of them and make your decision. 

Which is your favourite wildlife photo?






Online Training and Flexible Jobs for Mums: how to become a Social Media Mum


This year has thrown up many new words and phrases, post truth, fake news were spawned after the recent political activities both in the the UK and US. Add to this the term digital moms, which has been coined for a special type of employee in the job market. A digital mom is a tech savvy, social media user who are becoming the best social media managers on the market. There are so many opportunities out there for digital moms.

The best elements of being a digital mom is that the jobs available are cool and usually quite flexible to fit in with your lifestyle. There's so much choice available, you could be a freelance writer, writing articles for companies. Or a guidance counsellor, or many more in the multitude of roles.

One of the largest areas of opportunity is in companies looking for social media managers. Nikki Cochrane, who founded Digital Mums in the UK said this about the role "We started to think about what makes a good social media manager - someone who’s level headed, someone who’s a good communicator and someone who’s calm in a crisis - and we began to realise that we were actually describing mums."

The great thing about social media is that you don't have to be based in the office to be functionally using it, it can be utilised remotely so mothers, busy with family, can access it from home. They can even schedule tweets and Facebook posts to go out during times when they may be busy with some forward planning.

This works great for the business who have a social media presence that is focused on by a determined and organised individual, but also for the employee who doesn't have to worry about a commute, childcare costs or not being there for the family.

Thanks to job offers sites like uk.jobrapido.com there are many flexible professions available that you can easily find in the digital sector like for example working as a content strategist for blogs or as a marketing copywriter . So why not build your future around this expanding area that can fit around your life, your family, your future. Take your first step to becoming a digital mom and watch the job offers roll in.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Things to do with the kids over the Christmas break


I for one cannot wait for the end of this school term, Leo breaks up on Friday 16th December and I am quite happily counting down the days. I love the Christmas break, it means lot's of family time that's sprinkled with that extra special ingredient - Christmas magic. 

We always get up to quite a lot over the holiday and I am sure that this year won't be any exception to this rule, we actually started it off on Saturday at Drayton Manor and their Magical Christmas. If you are thinking of visiting then I highly recommend it. Leo had an absolutely incredible day, and it brought smiles to both my face, and even Luke's! 

I am already starting to think of ways in which I can entertain Leo over the couple of weeks that he is off school, and ways that we can do things together. A lot of our time is going to be spent with extended family as it's the festive season, but when we are at home I was thinking about making some home made Christmas Decorations with him. 

Saltrock have shared a super blog on DIY Christmas decorations made from natural materials, and I there a few designs that I think would be great to try out with Leo.

I'll share my favourite with you below, for the full roundup and how to make them yourself make sure to visit the Saltrock Blog.


The Pinecone Garland

My Mum used to make these when I was little, it seems fitting to give this a go with little man. We don't have a fire place at the new house, so I thought these would look pretty on our banister rail.

We have lots of pinecones around near us so they are very easy to get hold of in mass quantities, and something like this would also make a fantastic personal present for family members from Leo. I know that he would be over the moon to make and gift a present like this, they don't take overly long to make, and if you want to get really creative you could even spray them silver or gold to make them look even more festive.








A Dream Home

Dream Home

Sometimes you just have to let your mind wander and imagine all of the things that you could do if you only had the money. I was lay in bed the other night and pondering this very thought, at a time where there is no expandable income, what would I do if money was simply not an option? 

It is suffice to say that the thoughts that followed this elaborate question were pretty elaborate....

The first thing I would do is buy a home, I think I would probably opt for a 5 bedroom home because it provides an impressive amount of growing room, I could have an entire room dedicated as an office, one where no kids and no puppies are allowed. Another room would of course be the master bedroom that I invision at the very top of the house with a rather luxury en-suite bathroom complete with a jacuzzi bath underneath the roof lantern windows so that you can look up at the nights sky or watch the changing weather from the comfort of the tub.

Dream Home

I have said before how I believe the kitchen to be the very heart of a home, it is after all where families spend a lot of time. I would love to be in a position to have a substantial kitchen that everyone can sit down in comfortably. In an ideal world I would have an island work top right in the centre of my kitchen space complete with a working sink, that way I would be able to maximize the practical working space. Of course that means I would potentially loose the space for a table and chairs, but that wouldn't matter because I would add a large Timber Orangery that would be our dining area. 

Dream Home

The house would have a decent size garage (or man cave) for Luke so that he could work on his motorbikes, and keep all of his tools out of the house, and outside we would have our very own swimming pool.

You see what I mean, it all got pretty elaborate pretty quickly, but in all seriousness these are all things that I would absolutely love to do if money was simply not an issue. 

As I lay there lulling somewhere between a dream and a wakeful state, I thought about all the things I could and would do. 


Family Photographs


Photos are easily my favourite way to capture moments and milestones, they offer a clear cut snapshot of a particular moment in time, the facial expressions or the twinkle of an eye, or even the way a person is lovingly looking at another. 

We try and get a professional photo shoot booked in every year because we love to document our little family and capture the changes that have washed over Leo. It's a lovely experience having someone take that special time with you to help you create the images that you will treasure in the years ahead. 

The last 2 years we haven't had chance to do this, but it is something that I have been thinking a lot about recently, because Leo has grown up so much in the past 24 months. We were lucky enough to have some beautiful photos taken with the Guardian Newspaper last year for an article they were writing on that crazy family of mine (the extended family including grandparents, aunts and uncles!), and as gorgeous as they are, it would still be nice to have some more intimate ones taken.

Bidvine

I recently heard about Bidvine, and for those of you who haven't heard of them it's a fantastic way to get in contact with local professionals who can help you with your personal projects. Whether you want to decorate your home, domestic cleaning or even a man with a van, you can simply select your service and start receiving quotes for that specific project. I decided to have a look and see what quotes I could get for a photographer to come to my home and take some photographs of my little family, I was able to tailor the request to match the budget I had in mind and even how I wanted the finished photographs made available to me.

Bidvine

I signed up through my Facebook account which meant all I had to provide was a mobile number in order to recieve the quotes. You can decide how you want to be contacted, whether you would prefer to have the quotes phoned through to you or text. I opted for text as I am not a huge talker on the phone if I can help it, and I much prefer being able to look at these sorts of things in my own time. By having the quotes sent via text, it meant that all I needed to do was log in to my account and open them up at my leisure. 

I put a top budget in at £250.00 and asked that I be able to have the images on a CD or USB. The best quote I had back came in under budget at £235 - This included the photographer travelling to my home, taking the photos, editing the photos and finally receiving the photos in the form of digital download from the photographers website, or on a USB.

I had a number of photographers contact me which was super, it meant that I only needed to put my requirements down once and then all I had to do was pick the person who I felt was best for the job. I still need to sit down with Luke so that we can make an executive decision together, but I am really impressed with the quotes I had back and will most certainly be using this service again in the future for any other projects I need a hand with.









Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Ultimate Guide To Receiving Free Foods And Drinks

Free Foods And Drinks

Food is expensive.  Just living in general in a city is very expensive.  So as a young gent-about-town, what are you to do when you are short on funds and need to to have a quick bite to eat without having to spend part of your savings?  I have looked around to find the best free eats available, and compiled 24 of them for your reference and convenience.

1.  Free samples in Supermarkets

Tesco's, Costco, Sainbury's they all give free samples away to browsing customers.  It's also easy to dupe with them with an outrageous accent and fake mustache, so you can get at least one more free round depending on how good of a Groucho Marx or Tom Selleck impression you can do.   

2.  Go on a date with somebody you meet at OkCupid or Tinder and have them buy food for you.

That won't work for everyone - you have to agree on it ahead of time.  But hey, there are some people who like to go against the norms.

3.  Complimentary birthday food from a restaurant rewards program

Yes, my name is Consuelo Garcia and it just happens to be my birthday today.  I'd like that slice of complimentary birthday cake please.

4.  The "good guy/girl" discount

A co-worker told me about this one, and he heard it on the radio.  Apparently if can appeal to certain clerks or cashier by saying you're a good guy and know another one when you see one, when you are purchasing their merchandise, that occasionally they will give it to you free, or at a discount at least.  Note: This won't work on a bad guy. 

5.  Informational meetings hosting by certain religious sects

You don't have to actually become a Hare Krishna.  However, you could at least listen to what they have to say.  For the free refreshments.

6.  Free cheese and wine from art galleries

For this one you need to dress up, but since you are the complete gentleman, you will be oozing class already, and people will think your tuxedo t shirt is very charming.  Do some schoomzing and make a few clever remarks about Kandinsky, and you will soon be offered plenty of Gruyere and Pinot Noir.  

7.  Free samples of frozen yogurt at self-serve places.

Those sample cups sure are small, but you can of course just knock back one shot after another of the latest and greatest to your heart's content. 

8.  Become a freegan

Dumpster diving can bring in all sorts of treasures, like half-eaten donuts and pizza crusts.

9.  Mall food court individuals hawking food from trays on toothpicks.

You can't go more Panda express for a free meal than this. 

10. Barbershops that give out free whiskey along with your haircut.

If you happen to have an old-fashioned barber (and it is after noon), he occasionally might provide you with a shot of whiskey along with your haircut. It he does it most likely will be out of his flask that he keeps handy.

11.  Street teams that are passing out free samples of energy drinks

Go out to a park or public square during the day, and usually there will be come identically-clothed, cultist, twenty-something-year-old urging you to try out a free sample of their new drink, which is probably called something like Baal's or Bawlz. 

12.  Perform a comedy show and totally bomb.  This will cause people in the grow to throw tomatoes.

Hey it's a lot easier than growing them yourself!


13.  Have a friend who is a restaurant worker

This one takes some advanced planning.  You need to have a friend who is willing to supply you with some free food before anyone notices and they get fired, therefore damaging their employment record forever. Sorry, Joe.

14.  Become a mystery shopper

If you decide to become a mystery shopper -where a company hires you to go on a free eating or shopping spree and then report back to them on the service that you receive - you can get lots of freebies this way.  Compensation does vary, however many companies use these individuals to help them improve their business.  Therefore everybody wins!  

15.  Your favourite restaurant when it's having a "free food" promotion

Many places have promotional giveaways of baked good, appetizers, ice cream cones and other things.  However, you might have to camp out in front of the restaurant or stand in a long line.

16.  Participating in the surveys on the bottom of deli and restaurant receipts

You know those extra miles of receipt paper you sometimes get when you are buying food?  There's a good chance there is a survey there that you can take to get some free merchandise.

17.  Dive bars offering free bar snacks, like cheese balls or Goldfish.

I recommend that you stay at the bar all day long, while hogging the jukebox to yourself and popping those free snacks.

18.  Forage for wild berries.

In urban settings this might not work.

19. Find a freebie website


There are a huge amount of websites that offer food and drink freebies, and some you can actually have delivered and some you have to go pick it up in a supermarket! 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Create a bedroom children dream about

Creating a ‘nest’ for your child is an instinct most parents have, and it doesn’t stop once your child has grown a little. Designing a bedroom that suits your child and their interests can make all their dreams come true.

A Special Place
A child’s bedroom needs to be a special place, reflecting their unique interests and personality, is something many parents are willing spend a lot of time and money on.

There’s no need to worry if you haven’t got brilliant DIY skills or the artistic talent needed to paint a mural - today there are dozens of companies dedicated to helping you create the perfect dream bedroom for any child, whatever their tastes. Here are just a few ideas from bed-e-buys to help inspire you.

Paint a Picture
 Bedroom walls can be a boring place if you leave them blank. There’s no need to have acres of magnolia to limit your child’s imagination - there are plenty of ways you can brighten up even the smallest of bedrooms.


Keeping your paint bold and colourful can be great for some children, statement walls can be a fantastic way to create themes for a bedroom. 


Alternatively, using calming colours like greens and soft blues can be great for those who need a relaxing bedroom to get a restful night's sleep.


Decorating your child’s bedroom walls with a mural or illustration will help inspire their imagination, taking them to a different world.

Whether they are a budding astronaut, an aspiring scientist or want to grow up to be a fairy princess, you will find a whole host of ready-made murals, wall decorations or stencils to help you create the perfect background to their dreams.

And there’s no need to worry if your artistic skills are not great. You can buy anything from animal prints to landscapes, space scenes and their favourite characters from books or TV.

Work, Rest, Play!

A bedroom is not just for sleeping in. Even the smallest of children need somewhere to sit and read as well as space to play in and somewhere to do homework once they’re older.

Make your child’s bedroom extra-special and add a see-saw swing, which hangs from the ceiling, or an indoor climbing wall for your budding adventurer? 

They’ll love you for it!

 Scource: growingspaces
  
And so to Bed

Central to every bedroom, of course, is the bed, and there is a large variety of beds of every size and shape to suit every child’s personality and needs.


A popular choice for older youngsters are childrens cabin beds which come in different styles - some with storage space underneath and others with space to sit and play. They appeal to most children and offer space-saving solutions to parents. Great for the smaller bedroom!

Whatever your child’s taste or interests, you can make it far easier to get them to stick to bedtime if you make their bedroom a pleasant and welcoming place.

Play Soccer with an All-Star


Like most children his age, Leo loves to play soccer. It’s a great way to release energy and get plenty of healthy exercise. But, the weather here doesn’t always cooperate. During those many rainy days, getting grubby in the mud isn’t ideal.
What’s there to do indoors? Play video games, of course! We moms should know that certain games are loads better than others. Forget the violent games and mindless time-wasters. Instead, steer your children towards games that are actually beneficial to their development. I recently discovered Pelé: Soccer Legend. It lets players become the best footballer in history. Leo loves it.
On which side of the pond you reside doesn’t matter. Everyone who supports football clubs knows that Pelé is an athletic hero. He played famously for Brazil in the mid-1900s and set bunches of records. Pelé won the FIFA World Cup not once, not twice, but three times. During his storied career, Pelé scored 1,283 goals, a record that will likely stand forever. He played the sport with style, grace, and excellence. He’s an athlete from which our children can learn. That’s where Pelé: Soccer Legend shines.
All of the action takes place in the streets of Brazil on a sunny day. You’ll start by trying to score without any goalkeeper. Pelé himself will teach you how to kick straight, curve the ball, and perform trick shots. A friendly picture of Pelé appears, and he smiles while giving tips and tricks. This always makes Leo happy, as taking lessons from a legend makes the gaming experience that much more special.
There’s only one control: swipe to kick. This means that everyone from age 3 to 103 can play. Leo’s on the younger end of the spectrum, and he had no problems kicking and scoring. In fact, I think he’s better at playing than me!
Gamers will learn many different ways to score in the first few rounds. After that, the real challenges begin. The action in Pelé: Soccer Legend requires players to be thoughtful and clever. This isn’t a button-mashing arcade game; it’s a well-designed sports game with realistic physics. When multiple defenders are standing in front of the goal, you’ll have to figure out the perfect shot to score. There’s always more than one way to win, making each gaming session unique.
One of Leo’s favourite aspects of Pelé: Soccer Legend is the bonus shot. At the end of a successful round, you can perform one of Pelé’s signature kicks. These are totally awesome, highlight-reel shots, and they’re worth more points. One of my favourite features is the power-up system. For those of us who can’t score as easily, there are power-ups that enhance the ball. Items like the Fire Booster and Multiball make it nearly impossible to miss the goal. If a player gets stuck on a certain challenge, they can use a power-up to advance in style.

On those days that your young ones can’t go outside to play sports, Pelé: Soccer Legend is the next best thing.

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Puppy Days: Growing up

Dalmatian Puppy
Rosewood Luxury Leather Soft Touch Red Leash and Collar
Guess who has been doing a lot of growing since my last post? Lux. The rate in which this boy is growing up is just astounding, and he is now proudly reaching the work tops and all of the things that I have had to keep pushing back. My Mum had him for the day the other week for me, and it was around the time of my brother's birthday so there was of course cake in the house. When I came to pick him up, Lux was very quiet... The kind of quiet where you know he is up to something before you even see him...

I walked into the kitchen and there he was licking the cake board clean, as the there was no cake on the board I left him occupied and asked my Mum whether there was any cake left... She excitedly told me that if I wanted a slice of cake then it was on the cake board in the kitchen... It was round about here that I dropped the cake bomb on her and told her that if there had been cake left, then Lux had polished it all off while he was in the kitchen. She couldn't believe it because she had pushed it so far back, but the devious puppy of mine had persuaded it onto the floor with those long paws of his.

Dalmatian Puppy in Autumn

I really feel that we have bonded now, he really is my dog. He loves a cuddle and is well and truly a large lapdog (Which I wouldn't have any other way). Training wise he is doing great in the house, and we have even managed to get him to sit and wait for food, which if someone had told me was a possibility a few months ago, I would have laughed whole heartedly in their face! 

Dalmatian Puppy and Child

Dalmatian Puppy and child

We haven't been to the puppy training class I picked out for a good few weeks now, I didn't feel that her set up was working for us. She didn't want the puppies mixing at all, which to me just seemed odd because surely getting them socialized is a rather important factor. The last time we went along she gave everyone homework at the end of the session, she got to Lux and I and said 'Well Laura... You just get through the week!'. I was pretty stunned in all honesty, how is that constructive? I was there with my cheeky pup wanting to learn. 

I am looking at a couple of our other local training facilities and plan on going else where. I think to start with we will be better off inside to get the basics and then progress it outdoors. Lux is a completely different character inside in comparison to outside. Indoors he will listen and for the most part comply, outside you might as well just be talking to your self because he will literally put his nose to the floor and go off on his own, dragging you along in his wake. 

Dalmatian Puppy

Lux pulls like a train, we are doing lots of heel work at home and while we are out and about, but so far he's still pulling like he's dragging me along on a sleigh. He is a coach dog after all, so pulling and sniffing are all completely within his nature and breed. I am looking at no pull harnesses at the moment, as a traditional lead and collar is proving to be a real full body work out, and every so often he completely catches me off guard and I find myself hurtling away in the direction of his choosing. I am hoping that a no pull harness will be a way to correct the behavior before he gets even bigger.

Lishinu

Dalmatian Puppy

We have had such a lovely month, and now he is getting bigger we have been able to venture that little bit further with him. I am still taking things slowly with him, but we have been starting to do some alternate walks/jogs where we speed up for a little and then slow it back down again. Lux loves this, and when he runs along side me that pull disappears (I guess because he is going at the speed he wants!), we have been trying out Lishinu which is a really cool hands free retractable leash! You strap it to your wrist using the velcro and then your good to go. It's absolutely fantastic if you enjoy running with your dog, as Lux pulls it's not something I have been using in replacement of our usual lead on the walks that take us along the side of roads, but when we have been out in the field or on the walk we took up Bredon Hill it has given us a lot more flexibility.

Dalmatian Puppy

Lux seems to really enjoy the Lishinu as it gives him more flexibility to roam around. We had such a great walk on Bredon Hill. I drove pretty high up and parked the car so that it was not such a long way for him to go (He's still only little at 5 months old and you aren't really meant to walk them to much at this age), but he was in his element chasing leaves and enjoying the great outdoors.

As it has got so much colder recently we have been really loving his Luxury Night Bright Jacket, it's thick and fleecy on the inside and the outer body is water resistant, so it keeps him lovely and warm and even stops him getting completely soaked by the rain. I think even Lux has been thankful for this because it has come to light that he really is a princess! In a morning he sticks one paw outside as if to see whether he can brave the elements or not, if it's wet he recoils back inside! I have to physically pick him up and put him outside in order to insist he goes for a wee! 
Dalmatian Puppy

I had to giggle though, during our last session with the trainer. She asked me why Lux was wearing a coat, which to be honest I thought was a pretty stupid question. Why does anyone wear a coat? Usually because they are cold right? So I reminded her how cold the weather was now, I pointed out that Lux also has very short fur and that if she thought thus was weird, she should wait until I purchase his Winter Jumper! She pretty much told me I need to tougen him up, but I don't really think I do. He's a domesticated dog, he lives in a house, and there's absolutely no need to toughen him up. He's with a family who love him and want him to be comfortable in every weather and eventuality.

Lux finally grew out of his dog bed this month, so we need to add that to the purchase list for this month as he's currently sleeping on a blanket in the kitchen and now it is getting colder, I want to ensure he will be warm enough through the night.

I wonder how much growing he will do over the next month? One thing is for sure, he is going to be a giant!




Hello November

Dalmatian Puppy in Autumn

November is here and with the new month, the colder weather has well and truly arrived. I have always felt the cold, but now that I am living in my new home and it is just myself paying all of the bills, I have to admit that I have been a bit tight with the heating, and when I say tight what I mean to say is, I haven't actually put it on yet!

Instead of flicking the switch to put the heating on, Leo and I have been adding additional layers, like this morning for instance, I woke up got dressed and automatically put on my thick fleece and coat ready to head straight out the door on the school run, and then when I woke Leo up, I got him to do exactly the same. 

Money has been a bit tight over the last few months, and I have to be honest here and say that I just didn't want another expense to worry about. This month has pretty much crippled me on the bill front and it has been a never ending list of people who just want to take all of my pennies. It's true when they say everything always happens at once, and now they have all been paid I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. 

Office Space decoration

As I work from home and I am usually sat at my desk from the moment I get back from the school run in a morning, right up to 3pm when I collect Leo at the end of the day, I do really feel the cold. It's a give in because I am sat working and the only part of my body really moving are my fingers when I am typing away, and my hand when I lift the coffee cup to my lips. Ok granted and my legs when I stow away to make the cups of coffee that follow the initial cup of the morning. 

Anyone who works in an office knows the struggle of being cold, I remember my position at an old job, and I used to sit there in my winter coat even when they did pop the heating on. When I am working though, I have my desk in the lounge at home, and it is only myself and the dog at home during the day, so realistically that is the only room that I need to heat between the hours of 9am-3pm.

Autumn Leaves

I have been giving this a lot of thought over the last few weeks as the leaves on the trees have been getting brighter and brighter and fluttering down to the final resting places on the ground. I have been having a look at electric radiators and researching the range over at electric radiators direct, because this would be absolutely ideal to have right next to my desk during the winter months, as they are inexpensive to buy and great little runners, and it really would be perfect for me when I only need to keep one room heated during the day.

I live in a new build home and it is really very economic. It stays cool during the summer months, and I know that when I start to warm it up, it will hold the heat, but right now it feels like you are walking through a fridge (I may be being a little drastic here because I don't like the cold!), but I definitely need to start warming my work space during the day, if only to stop myself drinking so much coffee. 

Coffee

I am hoping that this last month has just been the initial teething period, and that money wise we should be back on our feet by the end of this month. It's been hard at times because for the first time in my life I have actually had to prioritise every single penny, and I have found myself stressing about whether I can afford to put petrol in my car, and there have been times this month that I genuinely haven't been able to, and that feeling is the worst. 

I'm positive as always though, and I know that everything is going to be ok. As long as we have food in the fridge and clothes on our back, there isn't anything that Leo and I cannot navigate through. 




Life Unexpected's Top Tips for Creating Video Content


It's been almost 5 years since I launched my little corner of cyber space. That time has both flown and tiptoed quietly by, but no matter which way I choose to look at it, so much has happened in that time frame. Leo has grown from a small baby who relied on me for absolutely everything, to an independent 5 year old child who loves to branch out on his own. 

I have had to learn to stand on my own 2 feet two, and the journey has seen me learn so much about myself. The blog has grown and evolved, it had a name change two years back and it has most definitely rolled with the punches. 

As I cast my mind back to those very early days in my blogging life, I recall how horrified and shy I would be when it came to creating video content. It was something I quite honestly did not want to do. I knew that as time went on, it would be something that I would have to make peace with in one way or another. It may have taken me 5 years, and often my videos are anything but perfect, but I love that I am putting myself out there and giving it a go. 

If you don't already produce your own video content, then maybe this could be food for thought: 'Video content is staging a takeover of the Internet. By 2017, Cisco projects that video will account for 69 percent of all Web traffic. The majority of that traffic will come from non-PC devices, including tenfold increases in smartphone and tablet usage.'

Now is the time to start creating content and pushing your brand further than it has ever gone before. We all have to start somewhere, but if you think about just how huge video is in 2016, and how much bigger it is going to get, then now really is the time to get over your stage fright and persevere. 

You can do this. 

I thought that it would be nice to share my Top 5 Tips for Creating Video:

1. Find a Video Editing Software that you are comfortable in using. 
Invest time in learning how to use it and getting the most out of this software. This first tip may just be the most essential, because if you can't get on well with your chosen software, you will not be producing the videos to the very best of your ability. For many years I used Windows Movie Maker, and this has done the job for me personally. I am now looking into a more comprehensive software.

2. Make a list of what you want to talk about in your video.
I am a firm believer in listing the subjects you want to discuss in your video ahead of going live. I don't believe in scripting the video, you can always tell when someone is reading off sheet or just going for it. I know it's a worry that you will go in and suddenly your mind will go blank, but you'll look and sound a lot more natural. 

I would suggest doing some trial runs on camera because you might catch something great, that goes on to feature in the finished footage!

3. Think about the message you want the video to share.
 Before you even start shooting you need to decide on an objective, What do you want to achieve out of the content?

Once you have the answer to this you can start to think about how you want to construct the video. For instance, if you were putting together a video on the opening of a theme park and you wanted to show people what they had going on there, why not do something like this?


4. Make it easy for people to follow and connect with you.
If people like what they see, they are going to want to keep up with you. If you make them laugh or you resonate with them on some level, they will want more from you. You need to make sure that all of your social media networks are accessible from the video.

5. Make it easy to share. 
People like to share content, that is a fact. People don't like to jump through hoops in order to share content, that's another fact. Make sure that your Blog/YouTube accounts or wherever you are sharing the content, has everything needed to be shared quickly and easily by your readers/viewers. 

It's always great to make sure that the video can be shared over any social network, so that is can be seamlessly shared from Facebook/Twitter/YouTube etc at the touch of a button.

Toast TV a video production company in London have put together a great infographic featuring their best Pro-Tips for creating videos for social media, you can have a look at this below.