Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Have Yourself A Thrifty Little Christmas





While you may have grand dreams of a mammoth goose on the table at Christmas, an eight foot monster tree, and presents galore for the kids, sometimes our budgets cannot match up to our lofty dreams. Just because you are not swimming in cash doesn’t mean that you cannot have a fantastic and memorable Christmas. Some of the most glorious aspects of the festive period are those things that cost very little at all. Remember when you were young and you baked mince pies with your mum, or when you handmade your Christmas cards complete with dried pasta and pipe cleaners? Why not hark back to this golden age and encourage your brood to embark on a thriftier winter holiday this year?

Save Up

If you haven’t started already, make sure that you budget to save a proportion of your wage each month towards Christmas. This doesn’t have to be hundreds of pounds. £20 here and there will soon add up to create a festive fund. If your finances have seen better days, consider venturing to a site like https://personalloan.co/ and explore the option of a short term loan, not to splash out on gifts, but to consolidate your debt, making festive budgeting easier. Specific Christmas saving schemes are handy for those people who struggle to keep their money in a bank account. It can be a pleasant surprise when you withdraw your cash at the beginning of December, and you have a tidy little nest egg ready to enjoy with your family.

Go For Experiences Over Gifts

The new trend is to purchase experiences like the ones at https://www.telegraph.co.uk, rather than unwrappable presents. If you are this way inclined, you could end up saving your family a whole load of cash. Consider what your family loves doing together. This could be heading to the beach, the movies or a city break. By exploring an experience gift for your offspring, you could be making more valuable memories than if you bought them a random computer game that they’ll soon stop playing by the end of January. There’s no better time to create moments of quality family time than the Christmas holidays.

Get Crafting

Nowadays there’s a craft for everything. You might fancy a spot of decoupage for your Christmas wrapping paper, getting the kids to bake some festive cupcakes for the neighbours or whipping up some homemade baubles and decorations for the tree. While it is a little more time consuming than heading to the shops, this way of celebrating Christmas can be more fulfilling and memorable. There’s nothing better than seeing your kids with glitter and glue and smiles on their faces to give you that warm festive feeling.

While Christmas is a time to splash out and live a little, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little frugality to your festive plans. Instead of breaking the bank, why not explore more thrifty options this year. The most important thing is that you and your brood can make happy Christmas memories that will last a lifetime.


Monday, 5 November 2018

Maintaining Your Sense of Style as a Mum


When you have kids, your whole life becomes about them. And on top of working and running a household, your appearance can easily slide down your list of priorities. Maybe you find yourself dressing for comfort, or where you’re rushing around in the morning find that you don’t exactly care about the way you look. But appearances are important, it’s more than just being shallow. It’s not to say you need to look like a catwalk model every day, but feeling like you look acceptable will boost your self esteem and help you to maintain your sense of identity. If you’re in a bit of a rut and aren’t liking what you see in the mirror, here are some easy and inexpensive ways you can make a change and feel like ‘you’ again.

Buy yourself a new outfit
When was the last time you bought yourself some new clothes, or experimented with your style? You really don't have to spend a fortune, places like Primark sell clothes incredibly cheaply or you could scour your local charity shops. A new dress, jacket or top might be just what you need to give yourself a boost. You can mix and match with things you already have or invest in an entirely new outfit. Choose clothes that flatter your figure and when you put them on, make you feel happy and confident. You don’t need to parade around in new things every day, but if you’re going out somewhere or just feel like looking nice on some days then you have the ability to do so.


Try a new makeup look
Makeup is a fantastic tool. It can be used to subtly enhance your looks, or totally transform them. As a busy mum, why not master a ‘five minute makeup routine’- a bit of foundation, blush, eyeliner and mascara can make you look fresh and finished and can boost your self esteem all day. If you want to go bolder, experiment with false lashes, contouring, smokey eyes and bright lipstick. There are plenty of ideas on sites like Pinterest and Youtube tutorials for women of all ages, regardless of your style. Again, you don’t need to spend much- makeup from the high street can be very good. Read some reviews online for the best budget items.

Get a piercing
A piercing is a fun way to express yourself and can allow you to feel cool and youthful again. You could look into a tragus piercing, helix or an anti-helix, also known as a snug. You can find out more about the snug piercing online as well as other alternatives. With the right jewellery it can be as bold or subtle as you like so is something you could go for regardless of the job that you do. Another option would be to have a tattoo. After having your kids, now is a time for rediscovery and expressing yourself again and these are great ways to go about this.

How do you maintain your sense of style and identity as a mum?

Maintaining Your Sense of Style as a Mum

Saturday, 22 September 2018

How to rock your own style through pregnancy and beyond

Image licensed via Creative Commons.

Is it possible to be a style queen and also expecting a baby? Until recently, you could have been forgiven for saying no. With limited maternity lines in the standard retailers and clothes for pregnant and nursing women either being highly expensive or chintzy and frumpy, it felt like you had to park your sense of style the instant those two little blue lines appeared on the test.

Thankfully, with the advent of internet retailers with lower overheads, it's been possible to cater to more tastes, and the maternity fashion market has bloomed - there is now more choice at far better price points, and mainstream retailers have had to up their game, too. The result is that it's now possible to have a truly stylish pregnancy. Here’s how…

Seek Professional Advice

Pregnancy is a time when your figure - and your feelings about it- can change on a daily  basis. Some days you may want to hide away in an unstructured, oversized sweater but the next, you may be happy to rock your bump in something bodycon. The good news, there are now maternity clothing options for all moods and occasions. Understanding your options and what will suit you can be a minefield, so don't hesitate to seek out advice from a personal shopper or a guide to buying maternity and nursing wear to better understand what you need.

Develop A Go To Look

It's a good idea to come up with a capsule wardrobe for your pregnancy  - a small selection of well-made, great fitting basics that can be worn for work or play and across seasons by using accessories to style them up different ways. Items such as a black wrap dress, a couple of pairs of maternity jeans, some great waterfall cardigans and selection of plain tees can be made into wonderful outfits with a sharp blazer, statement necklace, killer pair of ankle boots or a patterned scarf.

Add Some Colour

Don't feel that you have to hide away in dark colours - unless you prefer them! Colour can be a great way to add interest to a stylish maternity wardrobe. Wearing bright tones can have a cheering effect on your mood. If you don't like to wear bright shades in your  clothes, you can always add interest with colourful accessories like shoes, bags or scarves.

Find Pieces You Can Re-Use

Although it may not feel like it at the time, you're pregnant for such a short period of time, so it's not worth overspending on clothes. Either sign up for the newsletters pof your favourite shops to be notified of sales or use charity shops or sites like eBay to pick up some pre-loved pieces. If you want to invest, choose pieces with stretch that will work for a growing bump and beyond. Go through your existing wardrobe and find things that can work with your pregnancy figure - anything stretchy, oversized or drapey can work, or raid your partner’s wardrobe for chunky knits or oversized shirts you can belt above your bump.



Monday, 17 September 2018

How To Boost Your Child's Academic Potential




Your children may not always care much about their school education - as you call tell by their moans and groans 
when they have to get out of bed to get into their uniforms - but you should. To help your children do well at school 
and beyond, you can be the person who helps them boost their academic potential.

You can do this in the following ways.


Research available schools. Not every school is the same. There are those places that achieve good Ofsted 
reports and those who don't. There are those who come out on top in academic league tables and those who 
remain at the bottom. Leicester High School achieved fantastic GCSE results this year, as an example, and are an 
inspiration to anybody looking for the best place to send their children. While it isn't always down to poor teaching 
or leadership when schools fail, you can still do your bit to look for those schools who consistently perform well. 
This will give your child the best start in life, as they move from primary to secondary education, and beyond.

Support your child's school. Get to know what is on the school curriculum. Find ways to extend certain lessons 
back at home, such as looking on the internet to research certain subjects, or visiting places of interest that can 
increase subject knowledge. Speak to your child's teacher and find out where there may be weaknesses in your 
child's learning, and work with the teacher in bridging skill gaps. Find out what books your child reads, and discuss 
these books at home. If you have time, volunteer in the classroom or attend parenting groups, to show your child 
that you take their education seriously. Do all you can to help, as you will have a better awareness of your child's 
educational needs if you do.

Encourage your child to take part in after-school activities. These may be things the school puts on 
themselves, from sports clubs to homework clubs. There will be groups in your local community, with such things as
 holiday clubs out of term time, and evening groups, such as cubs and scouts, and anything organised by local 
churches or community groups. Your children will continue their learning in informal environments, be that gaining
 knowledge in certain skills, or learning how to socialise with others.

Offer your child praise and encouragement. When they do something well at school, show them you care with 
an encouraging word and the occasional reward. Even when those accomplishments are small, they are still worth 
recognising to show your child that you care. Offer encouragement by attending special events such as sports days
 or school tournaments. Your presence means a lot to your child, and you can show your encouragement, whether 
they succeed or fail. And on that last point, remember that it is okay to fail. If your child makes mistakes, don't 
criticise them harshly, but rather show them how to pick themselves up, move on, and do better.


Do all of these things to boost your child's academic potential. It will help them today, and it will help them well into 
the future. And one day, they may just thank you for the support you gave them.





Saturday, 2 June 2018

Getting the right plant for your office space // Sponsored


A dose of green - compact and classy Creeping Figs

If you’ve got the space, and can afford a significant landscaping budget, you can opt for elaborate
landscaping themes with lots of faux plants, flowers and trees. But if you only have a small office
space, it is best to not build a fictitious jungle. Adding a couple of potted creepers can be just the
right bit of decoration. Creeping Figs are dark green in colour, which is the colour of money. What
can be more perfect in your workspace than the colour of money? So, you can choose to add a small
Creeping Fig replica or two, and add a lovely charm to your workspace.
 

The uniqueness quotient of creeping figs
You’re guaranteed of impressed visitors and happy employees when you bring in the magical charms
of these amazing faux plants to your workspace. Whether you line them up against hallway walls, or
use them as compact desk plants, they are sure to create an impression of classiness and style in
your office. No wonders, contemporary office stylists are depending on creeping figs as their faux
landscaping product of choice.
 

Choose the right replica
When you are buying an artificial plant from a reputed company, you are sure to get the best
products. But if you pay attention to detail then you might want to select your own plant instead of
letting others choose for you. If you want the closest copy then here are a few things that you
definitely should keep in mind:


 The Creeping Fig is an evergreen plant with dark green leaves. The leaves are elliptical like in
shape and can be between 2-4 inches long. So if you are buying a small potted one then
make sure the leaves are smaller and are dark green.
 

 When the plant matures it has small green flowers, then green pear-shaped fruits which
eventually ripens to turn purple. Since the smaller plants are not supposed to be mature it is
best to get the ones without any flowers or fruits on them.
 

 Since the plant is a creeper, it does not hold shape on its own. The stalks and branches of the
plant are very thin. So, if you find a copy that is holding shape do not opt for it. The more
droopy the plant the better.
 

 If you are making an addition to your desk then ensure that you find the right size that does
not take up too much desk space. But if you like a larger faux Creeping Fig then you can
arrange to hang it.
 

By paying attention to the details you can add a beautiful decoration to brighten up the office d├ęcor.Creeping Fig requires very little indoor plant care. If you cannot provide the care needed then youcan opt for an artificial Creeping Fig. By comparing the artificial plant to the real one you can get theperfect copy of the plant for your office space.

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*This article is sponsored*

Monday, 23 April 2018

Why The Caribbean Should Be On Your Bucket List This Year



The Caribbean is a group of islands which is situated just above South America. It is a stunning area of the world and a very popular place for people to go during the summer months. If you haven’t ever been to this small part of the world, now is the time to get out there and experience everything the Caribbean has offer.

Beaches
The Caribbean is the home of some of the most stunning beaches in the world. If you want to good reason to visit this group of islands, the shimmering sands and crystal clear waters will make you want to stay here forever. The beaches provide a paradise for people to visit throughout the year, and it honestly feels as if your daily life is just a distant memory when you are there. They are stunning, relaxing places for you and your loved ones to enjoy during the summer.

Diving

One of the wonders of the caribbean is the vast amount of wildlife which graces the land and the sea surrounding the islands. If you want to see some incredible creatures during your summer holiday you can book a diving session in the sea and come face to face with bottlenose dolphins, turtles, tropical fish and coral. It will feel as if you have entered a whole new world and you can experience firsthand how these extraordinary creatures live their lives.

Amazing accommodation

With the Caribbean being such a tourist attraction, the people who own hotel here go that extra mile to make sure you can enjoy the most luxurious accommodation possible on your holiday. If you want to truly feel like royalty as you travel on your summer holiday, a hotel such as the Courtyard Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago will be the perfect place to stay. You’ll have access to lots of amenities, amazing food and stunning views.

Festivals

The Caribbean as a whole is huge on its culture and they love to celebrate their diversity and history with the wider world. During the summer you will be able to experience some of the amazing festivals held on it’s islands, for example,e you can enjoy watching steel drummers, floats and dancers parading on the streets of Trinidad and Tobago. You’ll feel like part of their world as they invite you in and make you feel like one of their own.

The food
Because of the wide range of cultures and ethnicities which grace the Caribbean, you will be able to experience a whole new world of flavour and fusion food. From spicy fish, jerk chicken and spicy rice to the mellow coconut dishes, plantains and tropical fruits. It is certainly an experience for any food lover and you will likely come home with some new favourites to try at home!

The sunsets
At the end of the perfect summer day, you will be able to see a colourful, vibrant and stunning sunset on the beach. Sit back on your deck chairs with a coconut cocktail in hand and watch as a rainbow of colour dances in the sky. 


Monday, 5 March 2018

Photowall - The next best thing in Canvases


If you were to come to my house and walk into my living room, the first thing you would notice is what I affectionately call 'The wall of fame' which is where all the family photos hang. Having photos on display is something I have been adament about for many years and I cherish each one of them but what I really love, is having special images of my loved ones placed onto canvas.

A few weeks ago, a lovely lady called Jennifer contacted me on behalf of a swedish canvas printing company called photowall.com and asked me if I would like to have a canvas made - needless to say I nearly bit her hand off.

She explained the whole process to me about how it all works and I was surprised by how unique the concept is. You head onto the website and you are given the option to either purchase one of their own prints on canvas (this can either be singular or in collage form) or upload an image of your choice which is what I opted for. The next part of the process is fantastic, instead of having set sizes for canvases which is what alot of companies have, you can choose your own dimensions. This particularly appealed to me as I have ordered canvas prints in the past and they have been considerably smaller than what I was expecting and they never quite looked right on my wall. 

I opted for a 60x80 size which may sound rather large but in my house, the walls are quite high which leaves alot of wall space that needs to be covered. Having got the tape measure out to double check the dimensions, I knew that this size would be fantastic for where I wanted the canvas to hang. Once all the details were put in and the order was placed, the canvas arrived within a few working days and I was in for a big surprise when it did.

The canvas itself arrived in a long, thin (ish) cardboard box and when I opened it, I saw that the canvas was nicely rolled up (but in no way wrinkled or damaged) and the frame was a case of putting it together. I loved this as it makes transport of the canvas alot less likely to sustain any damage (perfect considering it travels from Sweden) and this is the finished result...



 As you can see, I chose this adorable photo of my kids and I have hung it on the feature wall in my bedroom. I chose to have the picture done in black and white so that it would compliment my bedroom's colour scheme so for this, I just edited the original picture (see below)



Considering this photo was taken quickly on my Iphone and I was unsure if the quality of the image would look good when transferred to canvas, the quality itself is absolutely faultless and it came out perfectly.



From the side image, you can see how thick the frame is. It's the perfect thickness so that it doesn't float over the wall once it's been hung. You can choose to have the canvas come with a frame or not when you are ordering, again this is another fantastic feature that I'm sure appeals to alot of people.

Overall I am so impressed with this company and the quality of their items. The whole process from start to finish was so straight forward and the canvas itself is absolutely stunning. You might think ordering from abroad can be a little hit or miss but I assure you that photowall put 100% into their work and it really shows on the finished piece. 

I have to give a big shout to Jennifer who really helped me to understand how it all works and she was also kind enough to give my readers a discount code if you would like a print of your own! Woohoo!

Simply go to photowall.com and go through the ordering process, then at checkout, enter the code 
PiecesOfKateCampaign2018
to receive 20% off your canvas! Now you've definitely got no excuse to get printing those memories.





Sunday, 18 February 2018

Fun At The Festival


I love a good day at the races and try my best to get to at least one race day every year and even throw a cheeky bet in here and there. Admittedly, I only ever attend York or Beverley as they are the closest to where I live but I fancy broadening my horizons a bit more and heading a bit more further afield so I had a good old nosey on Google and came across a betting website - bettingtop10.com/ie and I was surprised by how different it was compared to other betting sites. Usually with the bigger known sites, you have your basic betting 101 which is you pick a horse, throw your money on it and hope for the best. But with this one, it also provides all sorts of news regardless of which sport you are betting on and also mentions events that are happening at certain places throughout the year and that's when I found out about The Cheltenham Festival.

Pic credit - cheltenhamfestival.net
According to the website, The Cheltenham Festival is a four day national racing competition where the best of the best from the UK & Ireland come together to compete in 28 races so that pretty much works out to 7 races each day. It starts alot earlier than most racing competitions which usually start in the peak of summer (this one starts on March) and takes place at Prestbury Park. Additionally from what I've read, this festival is a big deal and is the biggest highlights of many Jockeys calendars. 

I've had alot of people ask me what I enjoy so much about going to the races, with alot assuming it's just because it's a good excuse to get dressed up to the nines and drink cava from the bottle but that's not what the races are about for me. It's such an enjoyable day out and even if you don't know the first thing about betting or prefer to keep your money in your purse/wallet, there is no rule that says you must put a bet on if you go. You can simply stand and watch the horses hurtle past with the crowds screaming for the favourite to come in. It's also a fantastic day out for children too with lots of courses accomodating families in areas that make sure they can see all the action but are kept at a safe distance.

Pic credit - bet-share.co.uk

Having done alot of research on the Cheltenham course and the festival itself, I'm actually considering putting it into my calendar as a strong contender for next years racing festivities. Unfortunately with it being so close to march and currently renovating two rooms in my house, it's just not an option but I love the look of this course and I would love to experience the festival in all it's glory and who knows, for once I might actually win more than £20! - Well, fingers crossed.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Top Tips for Keeping your Child Safe on Social Media


If your child has a phone then you will understand how much stuff they can access on the internet. 
You will also understand that so many kids are now using social media in an attempt to connect with 
others. Social media certainly has its benefits and it is a great way for your child to chat with their 
classmates out of school hours. The problem is that children can now share more information than 
ever on social media, and sometimes it is encouraged. For this reason, you need to do everything you 
can to protect your child when they are on social media.
Educate Yourself
If you want to protect your child on social media then it helps to learn how the platform works yourself. 
You’ll want to be aware of the different social media sites that your children are using and it also helps 
to familiarise yourself with the various platforms that are available. Try and create your own account 
and use some of the apps yourself to find out how they work. There is a huge difference between 
sites such as Snapchat and Tumblr, and by knowing the differences, you can then understand some 
of the risks that are commonly involved with them.



Age Limit
If you don’t let your children use social media then it helps to work with them so that you can establish
an age where they can. If a child feels as though it is never going to happen then there is a high 
chance that they will go on to set up their own profile in secret. Keep in mind that most social media 
sites ask for people to be aged 13 or over when signing up, and this is because there are various acts 
in place that prevent information being gathered of those who are under the age of 13. Social media 
is ideal if your child is shy or if they have a problem socialising because it gives them the chance to 
chat with other people without having to do it face to face. This opens up new doors for them and it 
can even help them to make new friends as well, but if they are under the age of 13 then they should 
not have a social media account.


Phone Usage and Social Media
If you have a computer then you can easily place your computer in a common area in the home. 
This gives you the chance to monitor how much they are using the social media platforms that are 
available. The problem is that if they have a phone then there is no telling how much they are using it. 
A safe app for children’s entertainment is the best way for you to go here as it means that they can 
access a huge range of chat rooms and even games without you having to worry about whether or 
not the app is safe.
Apps like this can be downloaded on a huge range of phones, so you won’t have any problems when 
the time does come for you to get started.