Review: Brompton Lakes Self Catering Lodges in North Yorkshire

Last weekend I was invited to stay for the weekend at Brompton Lakes self catering lodges in North Yorkshire. Myself along with five other bloggers head over the Dales for two nights of relaxation, food and laughter. What I didn't expect was the peace and companionship I found from spending time with women who expected nothing from you but to be yourself.

Review: Christmas Winter Wonderland in Liverpool

We absolutely love December and the build up to the Christmas season and usually have a few different events to go to get us in the festive spirit. For the first time this year, Liverpool have opened their own Winter Wonderland and we were invited along to give it a try. The event is set in the Bombed Out Church in the city centre, which I have never actually been inside before and with lots of activities set up, it looked like it would be a good one.

Men's Winter Style With Jacamo

With Winter well and truly upon us we've dug out our thick coats and put away the lighter, and not quite as protective jackets and raincoats. As always at this time of year, someone is short on a good quality coat - usually due to a growth spurt - however this year it was Mr H whose coats seemed to have had a little too much wear and tear. Thankfully the people at Jacamo offered him some pieces from their Winter range so he could look a bit more presentable.

Between us we browsed their site looking for the right coat - he already has a smart work one but really needed a more casual coat for standing on the side of the football pitch in whatever weather or walking the dog. He can be a bit particular with what he likes, which always makes it fun for me at Christmas ad birthdays, but eventually he opted for a black parka which, with its fur lined hood, would keep him warm and also suited his frame.

Review: Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise

If your child is like mine, they will love slime - I don't think there's many children who haven't latched on to this craze which sees kids messing with glue and chemicals to create something that sticks to carpets and fabric and will not be removed. As you can probably tell, it isn't my favourite trend! However the kids love it and on occasion I have relented and let them get some, and when we were recently sent the new Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise to try that was one of those times.

How to Drive Safely in London's Fog With the Right Tyres

The capital city has some tricky roads to drive around on - even if you have the benefit of being able to avoid them in the rush hour. In the morning one, especially, road conditions can be made even worse by fog which sometimes hangs over great swathes of London. Of course, in foggy conditions, it is harder to see exactly where you are going and you may hit things in the road which damage your car's tyres, such as debris from spilt lorry loads, drain covers or potholes. In addition, fog means that you often get overly cautious drivers on the road ahead which sometimes mean you need to brake hard or even swerve to avoid.

Review: L.O.L. Surprise Pop-Up Store

L.O.L. dolls were the latest in the collectible toy series in 2016 and since then have become one of the main collectible toys for kids. Holly has several of the dolls herself and loves opening the different parts and then dressing up the dolls and swapping their clothes about. The Pop-Up Store is the latest expansion to the L.O.L. doll range and sets to be a bestseller this Christmas - it has actually been voted in the top toys for Christmas by Dreamtoys. We were sent one to try out and I thought Holly's eyes would pop out of her head when she saw it!

Review: AEG Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

AEG Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

I swear by our Dyson vacuum cleaner, we've had it for years and as we have pets it is brilliant for getting up all those hairs that stick down into the carpets and refuse to budge. However after trying out a cordless vac last year we were won over by the idea of not having to deal with wires and cords but also that quick jobs are so much easier to tackle without having to untangle the wire and find a free plug.

Getting Ready For Winter With Simply Be

The last couple of days have definitely seen a cold snap hit the school run and we've started adding gloves and hats to our array of jobs before we leave the house. I am a big coat fan and have somehow collected my fair share over the years, however my old yellow coat wasn't really cutting it for me this year. When Simply Be got in touch asking me if I'd like to add one to my wardrobe I jumped at the chance.

I scoured their site for the perfect coat as there was so much choice. I really loved the teddy coats that are in at the moment, but figured it was probably a bit impractical for the school run and may make me look like a bit of a furry lump anyway. In the ended I went for this pink parka with a faux fur trimmed hood and I'm so glad I did! 

Christmas Gift Ideas For Six To Eight Year Olds

My children now at that really awkward in-between stage where I'm really struggling to know what to get them. They don't play with toys as much as they used to and they already have a lot anyway, yet they're not quite at the stage of clothes or days out as they want things to open on Christmas Day. With this in mind I've put together a few things I've found that will suit this tween age for both boys and girls. I've separated them into 'girls' and 'boys' however thats not to say that any of these have to be gender specific, it's more for ease of writing!

Mrs' Hinch's Top Products & The Best Prices

As a lot of you will be aware, Mrs Hinch is the newest Instagram sensation on the block and has blown up as the go-to person for all your cleaning advice. From naming her products, to keeping her own 'Narnia' of products, there are many things that make this lady so watchable and the fact that she has hit one million followers in six short months tells you how much she is liked by her fans. There are several cleaning products that are Mrs Hinch's go-to's so I thought I would write a handy list for all you Hinchers out there, with some places I have found them and the best prices I can see, for those who are struggling.

Chronic Fatigue: Tips For Getting Through A Bad Day

Chronic Fatigue is a debilitating illness which will change your daily life completely. Some days you may feel on top of things and managing your symptoms well, however there will also be bad days when you struggle to move, are in pain and feel like you just don't know how to go on. I've put together a few tips I've come across in the six years of being diagnosed with the hope these will help you when you're having a bad day.

A Week In South Tenerife with Clickstay

On October 13th myself and two fellow bloggers, Sian and Laura, jetted off  to stay in a villa for a week in south Tenerife with Clickstay. I have visited Tenerife when I was a child, however I don't remember much about it at all so really had no idea what to expect from the island. When I was given the chance to spend a week abroad without my family I jumped at the chance - not because I don't want to spend time together, but I know how important time to yourself is. As a chronic fatigue sufferer, Autumn is a particularly difficult time of year so the chance to spend seven days in the sun and take time away from every day pressures was too good to pass up. Fortunately John was open to the idea and with the help of my mum we managed to sort out childcare so I could go.

A Weekend In Cumbria With Sally's Cottages

A couple of weeks ago I was invited along with eight other bloggers to spend a weekend in Cumbria with Sally's Cottages. This was the third blogging retreat to take place with this group of bloggers, however it was my first chance to attend so I was really excited to get together with all the girls and have a good natter and relax.

6 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home to Sell It Fast

The golden rule of house selling is to remove your stuff. Sure, your belongings are treasured and loved by you, but prospective buyers are unlikely to feel the same. They want to imagine living in your home, without you in it. A decluttered home also looks cleaner, more spacious and brighter. With fewer things to blocking the view, you can show off the best features. Don’t forget, you have only a few seconds to make an impression.

5 Tips for Getting Outdoors in Autumn with Chronic Fatigue #HotterWalkies

As someone with a chronic illness, I know that getting outdoors is both a huge challenge and an important thing to do. Add the cold and varying weather temperatures, Autumn can be a difficult time of year to get outside. Finding a balance between getting some vitamin D and not overdoing it isn't easy. I also have a little sausage dog who adores her walks and whilst my husband does the majority of them, it is a joy for me to be able to go along with them and watch her skipping in delight at all the pleasures of walking outdoors. I thought I'd put together a few tips for getting outdoors in Autumn that I have come across over the years, which can enable people with chronic fatigue to enjoy their walks without overdoing it.

getting outdoors with chronic fatigue

Dunfermline's Tyre and Driving Checklist

Dunfermline may be a great place to live and work but its roads can be a hassle to drive about on. The A823 is frequently congested, for example with southbound traffic queueing for the M90 and the Queensferry Crossing Bridge beyond. There again, Queen Anne Street in the vicinity of the bus station in the town is another hotspot for congestion. At times, the A994 beyond Pittencrieff also gets clogged up, too. Although problems of traffic congestion are not unique to Dunfermline, there are some issues which make it a particular problem in the town, for example, when the Fife Farmer's Market is held each month.

With a mixture of busy town centre streets, supposedly fast-moving trunk roads and a network of often poorly maintained rural lanes, Dunfermline's drivers see it all. That's why you should have a checklist for your car's tyres. Without a good set of tyres on your car, you are more susceptible to the major problems which means you either need to hobble onto a garage or try to change your wheel on a potentially busy street. To avoid such undesirable outcomes, consider the following steps to make sure your tyres are in good condition.

Confirming your tyre tread depth is essential if you want to survive Dunfermline's roads. You need good tread depth to maintain proper traction and to be able to stop quickly if the traffic flow seizes up ahead of you. A simple gauge is all that is needed to tell whether your tyres have enough tread to cut through rain and snow and to provide you with adequate grip. If they don't, then you should order new ones. You can find tyres in different parts of Dunfermline with just a few clicks on the website of Point S. Order the ones you want and have them ready to be fitted when you are ready.

Another good thing to check frequently is the air pressure of each tyre. Too few Scottish drivers do this as often as they really should. Both over and under-inflated tyres lead to a loss of proper grip and you can easily spin off if you steer too hard to swerve around something in the road if they are not pumped up correctly. Given the number of potholes in the vicinity of Dunfermline, you really ought to take this advice seriously!

Whether you are from Pitcorthie, in the south, or Headwell, in the north, checking for debris in your tyres is also well worth it. Sharp twigs and brambles, as well as things like nails and screws, can work their way into tyres, slowing causing them to degrade. Modern tyres are capable of withstanding such abuse – up to a point. You might think your tyres are okay even if they have not been running with a slow puncture to alert you to the issue, but items sticking into them picked up from the road can definitely spell trouble down the line. A simple visual inspection is all that is needed to spot potential trouble.

How Mrs Hinch Has Inspired Me As A Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks you will have heard about the latest social media sensation that is Mrs Hinch. A woman who combines a love of cleaning with an infectious personality, she has gone from a few thousand followers on Instagram to 750k (and counting) in a mere couple of months. Sophie, the name behind the account, names her cleaning products (Paul the Pine and Vera the spray mop, to name a couple), has her own 'Narnia' of products and shows you quick and easy cleaning tips using one hand to clean and one to film as she does. Not only has she swept across Instagram with her stories, she has featured in several national newspapers and bagged a regular slot on This Morning.

Mrs Hinch Mental Health

What Age Should Children Have Their First Phone?

Holly and Jack are only seven and six and yet for the last year they have been constantly asking me for a mobile phone of their own. Of course the answer is no, however it does occur to me how aware of technology our children are at such a young age but also at what age is it suitable for children to have their first phone?

Here’s Why You May Want To Choose Costa Rica For Your Next Vacation

Costa Rica is one of those locations you know you are going to love but you do not really know why. There is an aura of mysticism around it. This is a really popular travel destination that is often listed as being the best according to some categories. You see pictures online of how beautiful a Costa Rica private villa can be and the beaches are always amazing. It is normal to be drawn in but why do people really want to visit Costa Rica? Check out the main reasons below. 

Things You Can Do With Conkers This Autumn

So it's officially autumn, the leaves are changing colour and the conkers are falling. If your children are like mine, their pockets and school bags will come home bulging every day and you'll have more conkers than you know what to do with! I thought I'd put together some ideas I've come across for activities you can do to put these autumn chestnuts to use, from home decor to craft activities.

Blog On Blogging Conference Five Years Later

This weekend I attended the Manchester blogging conference, Blog On. After originally thinking I wouldn't attend this one, I decided I couldn't miss out on the social aspect it brings me twice a year, and I'm so glad I did. I have been blogging nearly eight years now and in that time have attended many a blogging event and conference. Eventually they all fade into a blur of faces, brands and sessions you don't really remember, however there is just something different about Blog On.

The cake
Photo credit: Steph

How I Was Diagnosed With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

It is now nearly six years since I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After thinking initially recovery would be a couple of years, I can't believe I am now so far down the road. Today I thought I'd share my diagnosis progress as CFS can be a difficult illness to diagnosis due to there being no specific test for it.

I have always been a tired person - my mum would have to drag me out of bed most mornings through my teenage years and in my working life I would often have to go to sleep in my car on my dinner break to make it through the day. I've been known to get home from work at six, go to bed until nine and then go for a night out. I always knew I needed more sleep than most but never saw it as anything to be concerned about.

In my early twenties

Summer Holidays 2018

I cannot believe as I write this, this year's school holidays are almost at an end. Usually by this time I am absolutely run ragged with all the activities I've tried to fit in with the children and absolutely desperate for them to return to school and our normal routine. I cannot say I'm eager for them to stay at home but I think for the most part this year's break has gone slightly smoother.

The Launch of the Microsoft Surface Go #GoImagine

Last week myself and Holly were invited down to London to attend the launch of Microsoft's latest product, the Microsoft Surface Go. Not only was I interested to learn more about this product but also looking forward to spend a day with Holly just me and her, as it's been a long time since we've had the opportunity. I left Jack with my mum, who was happy to be taken to the cinemas for his treat, and Holly and I boarded the train, much to her excitement. 

Review: Twisty Petz Collectable Toys

A couple of weeks ago we were sent the new Twisty Petz to try. Twisty Petz are are a new toy from Spinmaster that transform from adorable pets into a beautiful bracelet or accessory. I'd first seen these when I went to the Blog On Conference in May and when I came home with one in my goody bag it was instantly fought over. Whilst they are jewellery and can be technically seen as 'girls toys', Jack loved the pet idea and that they could be twisted and undone. When we were sent a few to try we shared them out between the two and Jack was more than happy to have his share.

Life Update: July 2018

It's been a good long whilst since I wrote much about how we are all doing, and that's probably because it's been such a roller coaster ride over the last few years it's hard to know where to start. But here goes...

Holly is now seven and Jack is six and this week they have doing their 'moving up' days at school where they try out their new classes. Holly is moving up to key stage 2 in September, which is just nuts, and Jack will be in his final year of key stage 1. Their classrooms are now in different buildings which makes dropping them off and collecting them fun, and also just highlights that Holly is in the next stage at school. Someone mentioned today that in the same amount of time since Holly was born she will be getting on for sixteen!!

Tips To Kill The Boredom When You Have A Chronic Illness

Many of us who suffer from chronic illness are housebound, if not bedbound, and thinking of things to do to keep the boredom at bay can be a challenge at best. Over winter and spring I really struggled with keeping myself busy and I find boredom and loneliness some of the biggest factors in my mood and therefore my mental health.

So if you are stuck inside and completely fed up, I've put together a few ideas to keep you going when you cannot think of what to do with yourself.

Giveaway: Personally Presented Gifts

Do you have an event coming you're looking for that special gift for? Well this giveaway is for you. I have teamed up with Personally Presented to offer one person a £50 gift card to this beautiful gift website. Personally Presented have gifts for all manner of occasions from birthdays and anniversaries to graduations and housewarmings. Their website is so easy to use and in no time at all you can find the perfect gift for whatever occasion you need one for!

The enter this giveaway please follow the Gleam below. Good luck! See widget for terms & conditions.

Review: Getting Ready For Summer with JD Williams

With summer here a couple of months early this year, it has been an absolute delight to put all those winter jumpers and boots away and drag out my moth-balled summer clothes. With hardly getting a chance to wear any with our pitiful summer last year, my poor cooler clothes were looking a bit bedraggled and I realised I need to freshen them up a bit. With lots of fun activities planned for May and June I decided a new pair of decent trainers we definitely required, as well as some new swimwear. Fortunately JD Williams offered me some pieces to try, which worked out perfectly.

I love footwear and wear mostly flats nowadays. However I rarely spend much money on them and subsequently they don't tend to last very long and for big days out I always struggle with a practical and stylish pair to wear. I decided the time had some to invest in some decent trainers, so when I looked on the JD Williams site I was thrilled to see there were lots to choose from. It took me a while to narrow it down, but in the end I went for these Gola Classic Harrier Trainer. These trainers just seemed really timeless and in a navy colour they were practical for walking around in, plus they are a suede-type fabric so really soft too.

Review: Moj Moj

Holly loves little collectible toys such as Num Noms and Shopkins, however most toy this size seem to be aimed at girls and so Jack has never really been interested. When we were offered to try the new Moj Moj I thought these would be perfect for Jack to try out as they come in animal shapes, are squishy and soft and lots of fun for boys as well as girls.

Happy 6th Birthday To My Boy!

I say it with every year that passes, as I'm sure most parents do (including my mum despite my sister and I being in our thirties), but I can't believe my boy is six! Whilst the days can sometimes drag by, the years have flown and it only seems like yesterday that we brought our little man home from hospital, with his crinkly old man face, in a car seat first used by his big sister to a lovely welcome from my sister and my mum who had been waiting all day for us.

Returning To Blogging

It has been fourteen months since I wrote this post and said goodbye to blogging. At the time things were all too much and I couldn't manage to keep up with every in my day to day life, let alone throw blogging on top of that. Whilst I gave up blogging, I still uploaded to YouTube as much as I could, yet by January this year that had pretty much stopped.

I'd like to say things have become easier since then and that is why I've decided to write again, but it's not. Everything it still pretty hard going and managing chronic fatigue is definitely a challenge that most days I don't feel I'm up to. Yet here I am. 

I'm not making a plan, and I'm not committing, but I do feel very lost and lonely in this life - at home in bed a lot of the time with little to keep me company, and I have missed writing. I find it helps me process with things and I also want to be able to share my life in some form or another, even if it is only for me or the children to look back on one day.

So here I am, tapping my fingers on the keys, trying to get my words out of my stuffed up head. Whilst my CFS therapist disagrees, this year has felt like one of the worst I can remember and it really gets me down. I have spent far too many hours in bed, sleeping or just wishing for it so I can get away from trying to cope. This blog will see a change too as I move away from parenting two little children to being a mum of more independent and grown children and wanting to share more about my own life. I am hoping to talk about mental health and chronic illness by sharing my own journey but also offering any advice and support I may have to offer others in a similar situation.

I hope those of you who are old-time friends are still around to say hello to and to anyone who is new to me or my blog, hello! I promise to try and be upbeat as much as I can, but sometimes you just have to be truthful.

National Sandwich Week With Num Noms

Did you know it's National Sandwich Week this week? Honouring one of the most British of foods, this week-long celebration is a fun way to put a bit of life into your sandwiches. With a bit of help from Num Noms, we have been enjoying ourselves in the kitchen, making some tasty sandwiches that honour our favourite characters.

We were sent the Num Noms Dessert Tray to add to the fun, which included 10 scented Num Noms as well as two lip glosses, much to Holly's delight. We played a fun game of 'guess which is which' where I had to pick a Num Nom and guess which is was by the smell, and I have to say they all smelt very tasty!

Easter Gift Ideas For Mum

Easter is a fun time of year for all the family, and mums should definitely not be forgotten! Whilst the children running around hunting for their eggs and stuffing down chocolate, don't forget the mum in your life. Here's a few ideas for some lovely little gifts for mums at Easter that won't break the bank.

What mum doesn't love stationary, and there are so many stationary supplier choices out there? This Peter Rabbit Notebook is the sweetest gift and perfect for Easter. Plus it's lockable and £9!

Flooring and your family – what’s best?

Isn’t it great having the budget and the green light to change up a room in your house? There’s so much to think about: the colour scheme, wallpaper or paint? Are you changing the floors, or updating your window dressings? It’s exciting to think of a room like a blank canvas – and you’re the artist, ready to unleash your creativity!

Most people have an idea of the colours they want and the wallpaper or paint they’re going for, but did you know that a lot of home re-designs, miss out another important factor? That’s right! The floor! It can be difficult to know where to begin, particularly if you have a busy household – well, here you’ll get the lowdown on the different types of flooring for your family home and their pros and cons! Let’s get started! Remember, if you’re looking for a reputable flooring company, check out!


Practical Home Decor Tips for Active Families

We try to an active family that enjoys spending time outside regardless of the weather. Living like this keeps everyone fit, blows away the cobwebs, and ensures everyone is ready to sleep, at bedtime. However, keeping the dirt and wet outside can be tricky. So can making sure that the whole family has enough warm clothing close at hand. But, with a bit of planning, it is relatively easy to do.

Create a Lobby
In the winter, you need somewhere to keep everyones coats, umbrellas, boots, shoes, and the pram while they dry out. A lobby is an ideal space for this. It should be simply decorated using materials that can easily be wiped down. Gloss walls, tiles on the floor, clean line easy-wipe bullnose baseboards like the kind you can buy from the Skirtings R Us website are the perfect combination.

Creating a Dream Bedroom for Your Child

Children love their bedrooms. The older they get the more this is the case. For them, it is a personal space in which they can play, read, watch videos, chat with friends and really be themselves. So, it is important to decorate your child's rooms the way they like. Generally speaking, the more personalised the decor is the happier they will be. Below are a few ideas to help you to create a dream bedroom for your child.

Customised prints
Firms like Hello Canvas enable you to take any image and have it turned into a print that can be hung on the walls. They are a really easy way to create truly unique artwork for your child’s room. If you want to you can scan a drawing or painting they have created and have that turned into a print for their room.


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