Friday, 29 September 2017

Know Before You Go

Break Down - Mini Cooper

For a long time I was a complete scaredy cat when it came to driving, and my anxiety meant that I was very limited as to where I could and would go. This has thankfully relaxed over recent years and there isn't really anywhere that I wouldn't go, I drove into the centre of Birmingham earlier last year on more than one occasion, and although I wouldn't do it again in a hurry, it is something that I was rather proud of. 

I find myself driving to Uxbridge fairly regularly, which is about a 90 minute drive from my home in Worcestershire, and it's now a drive that I quite enjoy, especially when it is just me in the car and I can turn up the volume and sing my little heart out as I blast down the M40. 

Now I am happier to venture further afield I have realised that I need to make sure my car maintenance is up to scratch (Yes I have learned this the hard way). My luck (or lack of luck) with cars got me thinking about what you need to do before you set off on any considerable journey, and the basics of course are making sure you have a valid MOT and that your is fully serviced (Kwik Fit are always very good)

One example of my bad luck was after a visit to Bath with the bestie, we got there no problem at all, and thankfully we made it back to our home town, but it was then as we sat in traffic coming through town that I realised that my car bonnet was smoking. At first I thought it was the exhaust of the car in front, but of course no such luck. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and stepped out for a closer look (not that I have a clue what I am really looking at), and saw that water was pouring out underneath, and despite not having a clue about cars, I knew that this wasn't good. 

The poor Mini (who is no longer with us) had to be towed away to the garage, where she had been spending a considerable amount of time by this point. It was only the month before that a wheel went bang on a motorway journey from Nottingham, and I was left in gym shorts on the hard shoulder for a good few hours (because guess who didn't have any breakdown cover!?).

I was just thankful for my yoga mat, umbrella and hoodie during that time, and not so thankful for the cold and the rain that decided to make an appearance. 

So what should you do before you get on the road?

- Make sure you have valid breakdown cover and all of the details you need.

- Check your water and oil levels (it never hurts to top them up).

- Check your tyres air pressure (Guess who didn't when their wheel went bang?)

- Make sure your spare wheel (if you have one) is where it should be (Just in case)

- Keep an umbrella, coat and water in the boot (Because you never know)

I have since traded in that little Mini of mine because frankly, she was nothing but trouble. Off road more than she was on it, and the car tax alone was £300 odd pounds a year, so I decided that I needed something cheaper to run and that was more practical for the puppy. 

Thankfully so far there have been no real issues with the Skoda... And I for one hope that it stays that way!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Cotswold Dog Days & Spotty Dog Lux

Cotswold Dog Days - Dalmatian

When you have a rather energetic dog such as my Dalmatian Lux for instance, it can be quite a nerve racking thought to entrust him to anyone other than yourself. Earlier this year when we went off to Crete for the week, I sent him off to a dog board (for those of you who don't know, it's essentially a holiday for dogs, where they get one to one attention, and it's an alternative to kennels). 

I knew that Lux would not fare well in kennels, so this seemed like the best option for us all. Only Lux had never been left before and he must have felt like his world was crashing in on him, that we had left him forever. Suffice to say the poor guy who was caring for Lux that week did not have an easy time of it at all, I guess that might be why he wanted to return him a day earlier than planned, and why he rocked up back home just after 8am as opposed to the discussed 14:00 o clock...

Yes, leaving Lux is not something I make a habit of doing, and up until this weekend, I didn't dare let anyone else take him out again, let alone have him over night. I guess I have become slightly anxious because I know that he can be a rather large handful, but deep down he is a lovely boy just wanting to be involved in anything and everything that is going on.

When Lux goes out for a walk, it is almost as though he see's the world for the first time (every single day), all the sights, sounds and smells, the other people and of course the other dogs make for a very excited dog.  

Cotswold Dog Days - Dalmatian

This weekend I pushed my anxiety aside and sent Lux off with Naomi of Cotswold Dog Days for a 5 mile round walk around the Cotswolds. I gave full disclosure about my not so little asbo puppy, I told her that he could be a handful and a down right monster at times, but this didn't phase Naomi and she said that she was more than happy to see how they got on if I was happy for him to go.

I decided that it would be nice for Lux to go, and it would be interesting to hear some feedback from Naomi on what she thought about Lux. At 2pm Naomi came and picked up Lux, and as soon as she arrived my mind was put at ease and I knew that Lux was in very good hands. 

Naomi had even brought a car harness for Lux to wear in her car and explained that she had planned a 5 mile walk around Broadway, and provided me a time to expect them back. 

This gave me around 3 hours at home without Lux, and it was such a strange feeling. Lux is always with me at home, so to walk around the house without having him follow me wherever I go (or do the laundry without him running off with a sock or two) was just very odd. It did however give me the chance to tidy the house from top to bottom. 

I got a text just after 5pm letting me know that they had finished their walk and were on there way back home.  

Cotswold Dog Days - Dalmatian

Naomi offers photographs of all the dogs that she takes out on her walks, and we were lucky enough to receive some absolutely gorgeous shots from Lux's walk with Cotswold Dog Days (Friends and family who have seen them have been as equally impressed as us!). When the images came through last night I felt a sudden prang, you know that feeling you get when you are proud of your kids? Yeah I got that for my dog! 

I am planning on getting one or two of these shots put onto canvases, I have been meaning to get some done for a while but never found the right photo (and now I have a gorgeous selection!). Naomi must have read my mind when it came to the telephone box, because I was going to try and get a similar image myself (but I can never get Lux to co-operate!). 

Naomi offers a very personal service to you and your dog, and I have been so impressed by the entire experience (and the gorgeous photos that you receive after).

Naomi delivered back one very tired spotty dog (Who pretty much slept for the rest of the evening), and she did absolutely amazing with him because he can be a real nightmare. I wouldn't hesitate in using Naomi and Cotswold Dog Days again in the future, and if you are local to the Cotswolds or will be visiting for a holiday at some point in the future then you can claim a 10% discount by mentioning #SpottyDogLux!

Make sure to follow @CotswoldDogDays on Instagram for more gorgeous pet photography!

Weight is just a number

Bikini Body Guide Results

A few years back now I decided that I was going to shake my lifestyle up, regular readers will know that I went on to lose 2 stone. Guess what guys? I pretty much put it all back on, but not in the way you might imagine.

As it turns out a healthy lifestyle is not all about what you weigh, and boy has it taken me a very long time to try and get my head around that. In the past I have restricted calories and denied myself treats because I was so riled up about what that damn scale said. In doing all of the above my weight did plummet, and at that time I did not see it as a problem, in actual fact I saw this as success. 

As my weight went down, all of my clothes became baggier and baggier until the day came that I simply had to get rid of the vast majority of my wardrobe in favour of going out and purchasing everything in my new smaller size. There were items that I kept, mainly dresses because they had cost me so much to purchase in the first place and annoyingly had only been worn once or twice, I didn't ever expect to actually fit into them again, but you know sometimes you keep these things just in case.

Over the last 8 months I have addressed how much I am eating and have almost doubled my calorie intake, I started lifting weights and watched as my lower body started to transition. My jeans started to get to tight, my new smaller wardrobe was not fitting quite so snuggly anymore. I remember a point in April on a weekend away in London that I got quite irate with myself, I had brought away two of my favourite dresses and they were just not fitting like they used to, one wouldn't even do up. I threw my shoes across the room in sheer frustration and had to make do with the other dress that I was quite simply not happy with.

In recent months I have had to go back through my wardrobe, give away a whole load of items that I quite honestly don't know how I ever fit into now, and also go out and replace jeans, leggings and dresses, although it has been rather nice getting to purchase some gorgeous new outfits (I have been loving the luxury women's wear at David Nieper)

Looking back it was just my body starting to change, but as I was still getting my head around how putting weight back on did not mean that I was going to revert back to old ways, and that it wasn't going to undo all of the hard work that I had put in over the last couple of years.

Bikini Body Guide Results

 This is a highlight of my starting point back in 2014, my 2 stone weight loss in the summer of 2015 and finally me today, There isn't a huge weight difference between my starting point and today, but there is a rather noticeable difference in my body composition, and there is a far cry between the skinny minnie in the middle and the girl who eats all the food on the right.

I have gone from eating a very rubbish diet combined with absolutely no exercise, to someone who was obsessing over every little detail, to finally reaching a point where I am all about balance. It's taken me a long old time to reach this point, and it hasn't always been an easy path to follow. When I decided that I wanted to started building up my lower body which of course meant eating in a calorie surplus, I questioned myself near enough every day as to whether I was doing the right thing. I got angry and frustrated when my clothes started to get to small, but now when I look between these last two photos, I can see exactly why I had to replace all my jeans! 

I had literally no bum!

We have weight drummed into us during every waking hour, but the reality really is that health and happiness does not lie in what we weigh. Health and happiness is when we are comfortable in our own skin, when we can make well balanced choices as to what we put in our bodies but equally so that we are not under eating and not restricting treats that we want to eat. 

I have learned this the absolute hard way, and I hear from girls all the time who are scared to start eating in a calorie surplus, which believe me I hands down get. I have been there. I find myself saying it all the time, but we cannot base our progress on the scale, it is merely a statistic and it cannot measure anything. You might weigh exactly the same, but you may lose inches and notice a change in your progress photos even if your weight doesn't budge. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

All Hallows Eve

Trick or treat

Halloween is a big topic of conversation in our house right now, Leo considers it a holiday as big as a Birthday or Christmas and I have already been given my marching orders to purchase him a axe and a big bucket so that he can collect candy. 

What Leo wants to dress up as this year is anybody's guess, we haven't quite got around to discussing that part of the scenario just yet, but to say he is excited is quite the understatement. We are lucky to live in a nice quiet area where it is possible for me to take him Trick or Treating, and last year he came home with enough candy to last him into the New Year (And it did!).

I guess I should have known that Leo would eventually catch the Halloween bug, because in my younger days (and I guess you could say older days because I still love any excuse to dress up!), I did love any excuse to dress up and get my scare on (and it appears that Leo is no different!).

Trick or treat

We have started looking at what we will be doing this All Hallows Eve, and it seems that we will MOST CERTAINLY be going out around our local neighbourhood seeing what tricks or treats Leo can endure, so of course that means that we will be getting some candy in and making the front of the house trick or treat friendly. Personalised Gift Shop have a great selection of Halloween Sweets and loot bags right now so make sure to check those out! 

I think that is what is most important really, if you are taking part in the Halloween fun then you need to make this clear to those who will be out and about. Our rule of thumb is to only knock on the door of those who have a pumpkin out of the front (or a skeleton of course!). That way we avoid annoying people who may not want to open the door to a bunch of kids and strangers.

Last year Leo and I went out with another local family around the local area, we were back nice and early so we grabbed a chip shop dinner and sat around watching Hocus Pocus (and of course answered the door every time it knocked), we ate some of the sweet haul and just had a nice evening while some candles flickered in the background. 

If you are stuck for things to do with the children this Halloween then this Halloween To Do List might be a good place to start, it's full of ideas from Pumpkin Carving, what to watch on the box, games and what to eat! 

With Halloween just over a month away, I need to make sure that Leo is sorted with a costume, loot bag and whatever else he may need. I am half tempted to call in a Cruella Deville costume and take Lux out for the evening stroll, because why should Leo have all the fun? 

Poor Lux had to endure his first Halloween last year, and that involved his spots turning into spiders....

Spider Dalmatian

We tried to grow our own pumpkins this year, and unfortunately it seems that we still have to go and purchase them. One spotty dog has been eating anything and everything that dares to grow in our grow bags. The cucumbers are missing chunks and a tell tale sign was when we caught him trying to bury his chicken thigh in with the plants....

We do carve a pretty good pumpkin though, so it doesn't really matter where they come from.

Let's Talk About BOOBS

Let's talk about boobs.

I think that it's absolute madness that in 2017 it is still taboo to talk about BOOBS. Maybe it's because at some point over the ages, women's breasts have become sexualised and in this capacity it has meant that this natural part of a woman's anatomy has become tarnished, so that when women need to discuss important issues about their own body, they don't feel that they can, or maybe that they should.

Now this is usually very apparent when it comes to breastfeeding, I have heard of Mother's who have taken themselves away to the bathroom to feed their baby, whether it was through embarrassment or the worry of offending bystanders with their natural womanly feeding techniques, whatever it was, it shouldn't have ever been an issue and it should be accepted no matter where you are in the world.

The nature of this actually extends far past the aspect of just breastfeeding though, it comes down to health and wellbeing. As women we should ALL know our bodies, this gives us an advantage in the instance that we notice a change, maybe a new lump that wasn't there before. The sooner we can pin point what might be going on, the sooner we can seek help, guidance and if needed, treatment.
When to see a doctor:
- You spot a new lump or thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before.
- A change of size or shape of either one of your breasts.
- Bloodstained discharge from your nipples, or a rash surrounding them.
- A lump or selling in either of your armpits
- Skin dimpling on your breasts.
- A change in the appearance of your nipples. For example becoming sunken into your breast.
It is worth remembering that breast pain isn't usually a symptom of breast cancer, and 90% of lumps are not cancerous, but it is always worth getting checked over by your GP.
We live in a world where we hear about cancer everyday, and one of those cancer's is of course breast cancer. We cannot be scared of discussing this, of sharing our experiences because ultimately they could help to save lives.

Back in 2015 I found my very own lump.
I can recall it like it happened only yesterday...

Leo was sat on the bed with the iPad in hand and the television for company, while I took off my clothes and got ready for my shower. I brushed my teeth and it was while completing this mundane everyday task that I first saw it.

I actually saw it before I had even touched it. The lump was big enough for me to see in my reflection and instinctively I put my hand up to lay a finger on it, to feel it. to investigate its presence. It was hard to the touch, solid and about the same size as a small blueberry, but it was there to the side of my left breast just waiting to be discovered.

I booked a doctors appointment and thankfully I was given the all clear right then and there, but actually finding a lump is enough to really strike the worry into you.

There are measures you can take to check yourself out at home, have you ever heard of Breastlight?

Breastlight™ is a new health and well being product for women. It’s actually a unique invention for detection of breast illness. Being part of breast cancer awareness campaign this self-examination device helps in finding the abnormalities in breast and a woman can examine any unusual change in their breasts with frequent sessions that can easily be done at home.

Breastlight shines a harmless red light through the breast tissue so that you can see some of the particulars inside. Through these sessions you can have a clear view and further can make out whether it is giving normal signs or some alarming ciphers. In such a way you feel more confident that you are having a caring disposition for your body as well as a sigh of relief and obviously it dispels many apprehensions.
I really like that this is something you can do from home, because it gives you that extra detail when you are being vigilant, it allows you to take your home check that one step further. It obviously does not replace the necessity of a Mammogram screening, but it can really aid the home check.

It's so important to simply be vigilant and consistent, and if you are unsure or concerned about anything, book in with your doctor and take the next step forward.

Planning a Baby's Nursery

Planning a Baby's Nursery

 It's been a long time since I prepared Leo's nursery, but it was something that I truly loved doing. There is something truly special about furnishing and decorating a room that is dedicated to your young child. A room that you can put a personal touch on and fill with all of the things that are going to be a big part of their lives in the years that are to come.

When Leo was born I was still at home, but luckily we had a room that would become Leo's. I spent my time painting it Blue and decided on subtle hints of Disney through the use of wall stickers and cuddly toys. I would have loved to incorporate some Disney Blinds like the ones here on the VELUX website.

It is a room we kept simple, but a room that always felt calm, it was a practical space that had plenty of storage for all of the clothing that he was going to grow in and out of very quickly, a space that held all of his toys and the room that was where he was now going to be sleeping in.

Planning a Baby's Nursery

Leo was 12 weeks old when we started to make the transition from moses basket to the cot, and it was something that I was in two very different minds about, but the reality was that he was now growing so quickly and the moses basket was simply not a safe option any longer. 

It took us about a week to get the room ready for our not so little man, and if you are currently going through a similar transition, I highly recommend checking out your local Facebook selling sites. We picked up the White Wardrobe for a bargain price second hand, and we still have it 6 years later in Leo's room at the new house.

It's so easy to be fooled into thinking that you need to purchase everything new (I looked at the children's wardrobes and almost choked on my cup of tea!), but there are some bargains to be had in brilliant condition. We did purchase Leo's cot new from Toys R Us, but in hindsight, most of the bedroom furniture was bought second hand. 
Planning a Baby's Nursery

The best advice I could give anyone who is currently trying to kit out a nursery is purchase as much as you can second hand, if you can't find what you need, see what discounts/special offers are available and whatever you do, purchase full size items (Like the wardrobe) so that it will last as they transition from babies into small children.

Leo has been out for his cot for what feels like a lifetime now, and he has just gone into his first double bed (upon his request), so that should now see him into his teenage years.

One thing is for sure, these kids certainly grow up very quickly.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post

Thursday, 21 September 2017

UncommonGoods - Top 5 Gift Ideas

I have started thinking about the C word over here at Life Unexpected and that has involved a number of different lists being made, because this year I am really struggling to come up with ideas for people. It definitely does get harder with each year that goes by, because what do you get for people who already have everything?  I have already decided that this year we are going to make sure that we just get Leo items that we know he will use, after having a huge toy cull over the last month or so, the last thing we want to do is be inundated with new toys all over again...

With that in mind I have taken to the internet on the hunt for new and exciting places to get started with the Christmas shopping (it really is never too early!), I love coming across new companies online because it allows you to browse through a selection of products that you may have never come across before, and that is exactly what happened when I discovered UncommonGoods. 

UncommonGoods was founded back in 1999 in Brooklyn, New York and they set out to feature unique gifts such as jewelry, d├ęcor, tabletop items and handcrafted presents that have been created in harmony with our environment and without causing any harm to animals or our fellow human race. They are  proud to be a founding B Corp. B Corporations use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems around the world, this means that they meet a rigorous standard on a wide range of issues, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community.

I love companies like this because you really do get to see some interesting and one of a kind pieces, and that is exactly why I have picked out 5 of my favourite UncommonGoods Gift ideas to share with you.

I have picked these 5 items out with thoughts of my the older family members such as siblings, parents and close relatives. 

Personalised Family Print

My brother and his wife are moving into their new home in the next week or so, and I couldn't help thinking just how lovely this print is. I do love a unique gift idea, especially ones that you can customise it to reflect your own family members and this art by Mary and Shelly Klein is just lovely. You can customise the skin tones, hair, clothing colours and create a really gorgeous piece that is personal to the chosen recipients. 

It's printed on 100% archival enhanced matte paper and framed in Black BonanzaWood.

Intersection of Love - Photo Print

I really like this piece, and was actually looking at it as a potential stocking filler for the other half as this fit us better as we aren't married, and obviously both have different surnames. You can put both of your surnames on the sign along with a special year (and you can even add in a second special date, like maybe the day you got married).

Scratch Map Deluxe

This got me thinking about Luke again, he has a real love globes and maps (You just need to look at his flat where there are two rather large maps of the world on display!), and I thought that a world map where you can scratch off where you have been was just a brilliant idea. 

The map is printed in refined gold-and-black palette, and with the eraser you can scratch off the places that you have been! When you take the layer off you uncover bursts of colour underneath along with infographics and facts about the world. It is printed on sturdy cardstock and made within the UK. 

Come In, Go Away Door Mat
I love a good door mat, especially one that reflects my sense of humour. The writing reads differently depending on which way you are reading it, one side says 'Come In' and the other 'Go Away'. It is sure to baffle your guests.

It's made out of coconut husks and made in India.

Nordic Tea Light Trough

I have been loving all the Autumn weather that is a sure fire sign that Winter is on the way, it's encouraging nights in with the candles flickering and a blanket to snuggle up with. This Nordic inspired tea light holder is a great addition to your hibernation, it has room for a whole row of tea lights and makes a beautiful silhouette of the forest. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

What’s Your Ideal Toilet?

The toilet has come from being a uniform, utilitarian bathroom feature to being a style statement in itself. Nowadays toilets are available in a bewildering range of shapes, sizes and varieties, with the latest addition being the wall-mounted type. 

If you’re remodelling your bathroom, you need to know about the different types of toilet and understand some of the jargon so that when you go to you know exactly what you’re talking about. 

The closed-coupled toilet 
This type is the UK’s most popular and it consists of the familiar two pieces of porcelain – the cistern and the bowl. One good thing about this type is that it comes in a wide range of styles and colours so you’ll have more choices when it comes to expressing your style. The closed-coupled is also the cheapest option, both in terms of equipment and installation. 

The other advantage this type has is that the soil pipe can go out and to the right, left, down or back. 

The back-to- wall toilet 
A more modern take on the toilet is the back-to- wall design. This sort has the cistern hidden behind a wall or a cabinet to offer a sleek, neat and modern look. It can also be a big space saver because some concealed cisterns are as shallow as 10cm, which is much slimmer than the average closed-coupled tank. 

You can still get to the cistern if you need to – either through a panel in the cabinet or by removing a flush plate if it’s in a wall. This means maintenance and repairs are just as easy as they are with a regular style toilet. 

The wall-mounted toilet 
Wall-mounted toilets also have the cistern hidden away in furniture or behind a flush plate, but the cistern and the toilet are supported by a very strong wall frame. This toilet can fit to any wall as long as it’s supported and reinforced well enough. 

The frame can support up to 200kg in weight if it’s installed properly, so most people don’t need to worry about ripping it out of the wall. Wall- mounted toilets are ideal for a smaller bathroom as the floor underneath them creates the feeling of more open space. In fact, this type of toilet does also save some space in a similar way to the back-to- wall variety. 

The closed-back toilet 
This variety is also known as the fully-enclosed toilet and it’s a closed- coupled toilet that fits fully against the wall so it looks compact and neat. 

You can’t use this model, however, if the soil pipe exits to the right or to the left of the toilet. It’s easy to keep clean and you don’t have to look at a U-bend or other unsightly pipework. 

The comfort height toilet 
These toilets are around 4-5cm higher than regular ones so that they’re more comfortable for users. It might not seem much, but that extra 4- 5cm makes a lot of difference to the user if he or she is very tall, elderly or has mobility problems. Sitting down and getting up can be painful for many people, especially if they have arthritis in the knees or hips, so anything that makes life easier is more than welcome.

Implants Vs Dentures – What is the Difference?

Dentures, or false teeth as they are also known, have been around for many years, and for those who have lost their original set of teeth, dentures were the only way to remedy that, at least until the birth of dental implant technology. 

For those who wear dentures, the routine will already be embedded into your psyche, with many time consuming tasks to be carried out to maintain your removable teeth, which after a while, become second nature. The glass of water by the bed provides immersion for the teeth, while giving your overworked gums some much needed rest, and with a special denture cleaning pill dropped into the water before you sleep, your teeth are perfectly clean and ready to chomp. 

A Simple Plate

Image by EnvisionTEC via Flickr

Dentures are made from a special cast, which is applied to the roof of the mouth, and this impression gives the dentist the exact shape of your upper and lower jaw, which is then used to create the dentures. If you would like to know how much dentures cost, an online search will bring up a list of dental clinics that specialise in dentures, and you will get an idea of the cost range. The plate is either made with a rigid, acrylic resin or a special type of polymer, and is, of course, the same colour as your gums, making the dentures look natural. The plate must fit well, and usually are fixed in place using a special oral adhesive that will keep the dentures in place for the entire day. Often, the dentist will have to make minor adjustments to the plate using a high speed buffing tool, and while the wearer might experience some discomfort initially, this does not last long.

Image by drdaisy96

This is a revolutionary method that involves drilling into the jawbone and attaching tungsten steel pins, which will provide the anchor for the implants. Tungsten steel is used because it can easily fuse with bone, and after some time, is essentially part of the jaw structure. The implants could range from a single tooth to a full set of teeth, and typically, a full set of upper implants would be fabricated as a single unit, which is secured to the tungsten pins in 3 or 4 locations, giving the wearer a perfect set of teeth that are not removable. There are interesting articles online that discuss the risks and benefits of dental implants, and in particular, single tooth implants. 

As you might expect, dental implants are not cheap, but whether it is a single tooth or a complete set, implants are the closest one can get to the real thing. The implants would be guaranteed for many years, and there are different price brackets, depending on the implant material, and, as with all new technology, prices will invariably level out, making implants available to all. 

Dentistry, like every other profession, has had its fair share of innovations, and implants are a long term solution for missing teeth, with benefits that far outweigh dentures.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Uggs - Boots that last


Years ago my other half treated me to a pair of Uggs, I think this was partly because he was fed up of seeing the worn out soles on my unofficial Ugg boots, and I have to admit that all these years later they are still serving me well. The soles are still in fantastic condition and they are looking over all super.

This one pair of Uggs has ultimately converted me, because as with anything else in life you really do get what you pay for. I have a feeling that my Uggs were a Christmas present dating back from before Leo was born, which makes them over 6 years old. 

How amazing is that?

I used to think that the initial cost was quite pricey but when broken down over a 6 year time frame it really isn't much at all. It is for that very reason that I have been considering a new Uggs purchase now that it is officially winter boots season. 


As I have a perfectly good pair of what I refer to as traditional Uggs (black knit ankle length), I have been considering something a little different. There is a fantastic Ugg Sale on and they currently have these gorgeous Ellecia Wedged Boots in Chestnut, they are very similar to a pair of boots I already own, but they don't get worn very often as they are so uncomfortable (which again reiterates that you get what you pay for!), and if a new pair of Uggs lasted as long as the pair that I already have, it can only be a win.


When it comes to wedge boots they are my absolute favourite, but unless I can combine the comfort with the look, then I can't help but put them to the back of my closet. I don't mind paying more for something if I know it will get used, they will be comfortable and they look good (even 6+ years later!).

Every girl needs a pair of brown ankle boots, and I think that I may just have to pick a pair up from LovetheSales!

After all £138.00 over 6 years works out as a complete and utter bargain!

Autumn Appreciation


This last week you can most certainly feel that Autumn chill in the air, and I have found myself wrapping up warmer on the school run, and even for those dog walks that up until recently have been too warm for a jacket of any sort. 

It really is pretty incredible what only a few weeks can do to the weather, It was only a couple of weekends ago that the entire family dispelled to Kenilworth Castle to make the most of the beautiful sunshine in nothing but shorts and t-shirts, yet now summer has all of a sudden just vanished into the distance, almost as though it had never been at all. 

I do love the cooler weather, but equally I hate being cold so I have to make sure that I am dressed for the occasion, and that for me involves a thick snuggly coat that is comparable to a duvet or a warm hug. It can't be argued with that Autumn is a truly beautiful time of the year, yesterday I decided to take the puppy out for a long walk to take in all of the gorgeous colours that were now starting to show on the trees.

Autumn Tree

There is one tree in our village that I always admire, the leaves have already started to turn and very soon the entire tree will be dressed in a sea of orange, almost as though it is alight in flames, before finally they will all drop to the floor and Winter will be truly here.

With it getting so much chillier I am having to start thinking about a new coat, and as it will have to be something that accompanies on walks with Lux (aka the asbo puppy), I always tend to opt for darker colours as he has a tendency of  getting me pretty mucky while we are out and about in muddy fields. 

I found this gorgeous puffer coat which would be ideal for those colder dog walks, being a dark colour means that I don't need to be as precious with it as I would if I was going to wear White, Cream or Beige. 

Image Credit: Lyst
There are some really nice new Winter Coats in at Topshop right now.

It might only be September but it really does feel like we could be in for a rather cold few winter period, and I for one would absolutely love that. Leo has only ever seen snow when he was very young, and he has been wishing for the last couple of years that it would come back for him to build his first proper snowman, as for the dog he has never seen it before at all. 

How nice would it be to have a white christmas? Yes I did just say the C word, because realistically now is the time to be preparing for the big day. I have already started making lists of gifts that I am planning for those nearest and dearest to me, because I am determined not to be running around last minute come December. 

I am definitely going to be adding a new dog walking coat to my own Christmas list this year!

Poki - Flip Master Review

Poki - Flip Master Review

Flip Master 
Trampoline games aren’t exactly a trending genre. Or, at least they weren’t until Flip Master. From the creators of Flip Diving, Flip Master is one of the most fully-featured, well-rounded, and addictive trampoline games. 

Controlled Flight 
Flip Master is a single-player, one-button sports title. The sport is trampolining, and it’s much easier in the game than in real life. Click the mouse button or tap the screen, and hold to spin in the air. One swipe can send an athlete flipping 50 feet above the ground. There are Olympic-level tricks and combo routines to uncover. The Dudette, Big Dave, and an acrobatic ninja are at your mercy. Dress them up, get in shape, and learn how to become one of the most skilled trampolinists in the world. 

Each athlete has the potential to become a legend. Much like in the real world, you pay for certain tiers of success. There are 10 levels per attribute in Flip Master. Going from lvl-1 to lvl-2 costs 50 coins. The next upgrade costs twice as much. After that, you guessed it—the price keeps doubling. The exponentially rising costs prevent players from acquiring too many skills too fast. It also gives us a reason to keep playing (we need those coins!). 

Every skill can be upgraded, from jump and tuck power to confidence, balance, and centering. The power skills are rather straightforward; more jump power means higher jumps, and more tuck power means faster spins. Increased confidence results in sharper trick execution. More balance and centering abilities prevent a plethora of landing accidents. 

Training isn’t the only way to get better. Flip Master has 11 power-ups, which range from temporary ability boosts to point bonuses. Superjump, Superspin, and Superpush let athletes bounce higher, flip faster, and glide more easily. Those three power-ups last for a minute and a half, which you can use in one round or spread across shorter ventures. Other 90-second power-ups include Immortal (head hits don’t hurt), Coin Rain (falling gold), and Bouncing Coins (self-explanatory). 

The other half of this game power-ups last for a full two minutes. These include the invaluable Coin Magnet, Medicine Balls, and Foam Cubes, all of which make scoring much easier. The 120- second Safety Net protects athletes from falling off the sides of trampolines. Bullet Time is possibly the best power-up, because it slows down time, giving players complete control over each microsecond in the air. 

Way to Play 
There’s only one way to begin in Flip Master: The Dude in the Backyard level. After that, the journey varies wildly from player to player. There are prizes from the in-game lottery, random bonuses, and unlockables from the shop. The Flip Master map isn’t linear; instead, you can take any route you wish. You might go to one of the most advanced and exciting levels directly after the Backyard. Or, you could progress through several incremental trampolines along the way. Hop off the  round and reach for the clouds in Flip Master.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Pomelody Launches to Give Children the Gift of Learning & Development Through Music


Pomelody launches to give children the gift of learning and development through music

- Home-based e-learning music platform for pre-schoolers aims to unlock a
child’s innate musical talent and potentially increase IQ by 18% -

- For parents, Pomelody offers the ability to have fun and connect with their infants.
No music background required. 

“… It’s the sheer joy and bonding between a child and its parents that makes music so magical.” 

When Leo was a baby I remember thinking how lacking the music available was for young toddlers and children, and it turns out that I was not alone in this mindset. Adam and Anna developed Pomelody which is a comprehensive online music education system for children 0-6 and their families. 

It's the world’s first music education e-learning platform for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. 

Pomelody is designed from the ground up to stimulate a child’s music potential while giving parents (even those with no music ability) an opportunity to bond and have fun. Every quarter, Pomelody delivers an online (via PC, laptop, tablet) series of music.

I can't help wishing that this was around when Leo was younger, the music sounds incredible and I believe that this would have been something that Leo would have adored. If I go on to have any future children, I would be very interested in introducing Pomelody from a young age. I can't help but wonder if Leo had fallen in love with music, whether this would have helped him and his academic struggles now.

London, UK and New York, US 14 th September: 
Pomelody today announced that they are ready to bring fun, family-bonding music education to children and parents everywhere. 

The idea came from professional musicians Adam and Anna who, whilst raising a young family and knowing how powerfully music impacts on a child’s development, tried to find musical content that they could use in order to interact with their children. There was very little musical content available and what was available was unstructured. They set about designing, testing and recording a series of specially recorded songs, music theory tutorials for parents and animated stories for kids. 


The result is the first simple to access (online via PC, laptop or tablet), fun and engaging platform for parents to embrace music along with their young children. Indeed, the first music-making classes for families ever put on video. 

The production of content (season one is finalized) and building the platform is nearly finished. 

Pomelody is now turning to Kickstarter to secure funding of $30,000 to help develop further seasons (delivered quarterly) and to finish the platform build. 


What do you get as a series backer of Pomelody? (earlybird discount $69) 

- Collection of 25 songs - composed, recorded and produced with 12 different bands/artists 
- 10 Pomelody classes recorded 
-One songbook 
- 3 animated lectures with music theory for parents 
- Animated stories

Importantly, Pomelody also has a stretch goal of $55,000 on Kickstarter which will enable the development of an institutional version of the platform, giving free access to orphanages around the world. 

Adam, Weber founder of Pomelody, said: “Music is such a powerful medium to stimulate a child’s imagination. Its benefits stretch way beyond childhood with many reports suggesting that it can boost an individual’s adult IQ by up to 18%, compared to children with no early years music exposure. Whilst this is motivation in itself, it's the sheer joy and bonding between a child and its parents that makes interacting with music so magical. With Pomelody we have a created a unique opportunity for
families to bond, to learn, to have fun and to stimulate the next generation. We are very excited to bring this project to market and, fingers crossed, we can achieve our stretch goal and give free access to underprivileged children around the world.”

Getting the Most Out of Your Garden

I have really adored the warmer weather (the times that the sun decided to come out and actually stick around for a day or two). It was extra special this year because it was our first proper summer in our new home. When we moved in last year, we had so much going on with unpacking and trying to get some sort of order In place (that combined with a 8 week old puppy....) we didn't really get chance to enjoy the summer months.

Now although It might feel like you have blinked and all of a sudden the summer has transitioned into Autumn, apparently our calendars are correct and it really is mid September already. 

The cooler weather may have us reaching to shut the windows but that doesn't mean that we need to bid our Gardens fare well just yet though.

September can be an amazing time to be outside, everything is turning golden and some days you could even fool yourself into thinking that summer might be sticking around a little longer (even if those magical thoughts do some crashing down with the arrival of Aileen!) 

But how do you make sure you get the most out of your garden at this time of year? Here are some of my go to tips for when it comes to enjoying the garden in the fall:

Create a cosy corner
This could be absolutely anything that helps you to relax and unwind. Maybe you have a favourite piece of garden furniture? A water fountain? Or how about a pop up gazebo with a rattan table and chairs?

Look after your lawn
I find that we are having to constantly care for our lawn (the joys of having a dog!) If the Autumn weather is making your lawn glum, then show it some love with a liquid feed, it will be back to full health in no time.

Tidy borders and the garden
Now is the time to start prepping your garden for next Spring, and of course the forthcoming Winter months ahead. Tidy up he borders and remove the dead foliage, put down some compost ready for the new bulbs and seeds that you will soon be planting.

I spend a lot of time outside regardless as to the time of year, having a dog means that we are always out on walks or letting him in and out of the patio doors (because he likes to demand entry back into the house as soon as you sit down to relax!). 

We have a plum tree that hangs over the fence into our back garden, and I am constantly having to pick up the windfall plums that keep landing on my patio. The dog keeps bringing in plum on the padding of his paws (my sofas are not thankful for this!).

 I keep meaning to pick some of the plums and make the most of having this lush fruit growing so close to home. I cant help thinking how nice it would be to make Leo some homemade plum jam, so I really must add this to my to do list before I miss he opportunity for the second year in a row. 

I'm still holding out hope for an Indian summer, we will forget that storm Aileen has taken the life of one of my prized sunflowers. We are often blessed with some beautiful days in September, and it would be nice to start the Autumn months in style as I for one am not ready to leave my garden days behind just yet.