Category Archives: Lifestyle

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Thank You Cards

Collaborative Post

Do you send Thank you cards?

I think one of the most wonderful things to receive after a big event, especially a wedding, is a thank you card. It shows that your attendance was appreciated! Weddings are such busy days, and I know on my big day I got the chance to speak to everyone but it was brief as there were other people needing my attention! So, I think a thank you card is not only a way to say “thank you” for a gift, but more importantly it’s also a way to say thank you for spending our big day with us.

Which Thank You card should I choose?

Choosing custom thank you cards is a lovely way to thank you guests with a unique card. I think choosing a thank you card is as important as choosing your wedding invitation. Take time to choose a style of card which suits your style. It doesn’t have to be a formal design, make sure you choose a card which is obviously from you, it will mean so much more to the recipient! You might want to use colours from your wedding theme on the invitation, I always think this is a lovely touch.

Did you know that Basic Invite have 180 colour options? Enabling you to choose the perfect colour way – this may seem like a simple thing, but being able to tweak small details makes such a difference in creating your perfect design! Basic Invite also allow you to order a printed sample of your finished design, so you can check that it is perfect before you place your full order.

Custom Thank you card

When choosing your wedding thank you card consider using a photo of your big day, or maybe a photo from your engagement photo shoot? A very close friend of mine used a photo of their entire wedding party on their thank you cards, it was lovely as often you’re in wedding photos, but never actually get to see them! With Basic Invite you can also choose to add foil to your card, in a choice of gold, silver or rose gold. I have to confess I love foil on a card, I think it gives it a really sophisticated finish.

Basic Invite makes sending cards easier.

If you’re anything like me, my address book is always no where to be seen, or in need of updating. Basic Invite offer an address capturing service, to help keep you on track sending your cards by post! They’ll provide you with a link which you can share on social media to enable your friends and family to share their address with you. Basic Invite will store the addresses, and give you the option to select them for each recipient during the final design process. It really couldn’t be easier!

Everyone knows that weddings are expensive, and so to help you save some money right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51

Is Looking After Stuff the Easiest Way to Go Green?

Things I still hear often… Going green is expensive. Replacing things with greener alternatives is costly. So, how about looking after the things you have instead? Going Green can be one step at a time. Let me explain.

Learning to care for the things you own.

What do you do when something gets broken or worn at home? Do you instantly throw it out and replace it? Or do you look to ways you could repurpose or repair it? There are some things I do not attempt to repair, for example broken glass. But when the handle came off my favourite milk jug, we smoothed where the handle had been and turned it into a vase. Our electricals and cars we repair over replace. This is something I need to look into more though, as would it be better to scrap them and replace with newer more efficient models? How many years use would I need to offset the carbon produced by recycling / scrapping the old ones?

It’s not always the cheapest option to repair. Sometimes the call out fee to just have an appliance looked at is a high cost. But here are a few ideas on ways to care or repair things you already own.

Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

Caring for your wardrobe.

Clothes and shoes need care. Darning the whole in your favourite jumper, washing it with care and learning how to store clothes correctly will elongate their useful lives. I am not great at sewing, but have learnt to make basic repairs over the last year or so. Which has extended the life of a pair of pyjamas, jeans and several jumpers!

Washing with care is really important, and ideally avoiding using a tumble dryer. Tumble dryers are really harsh on fabrics, and make the wear faster. Though I confess this winter has been so wet we have resorted to the tumble dryer as line drying just wouldn’t work. Roll on spring!

Shoes need to be stored with care, cleaned and polished if necessary. Finding eco-friendly shoe cleaning products is something I am still investigating. But, I feel that prolonging the use of a pair of leather boots or shoes by using a tin of shoe polish is perhaps better than potentially ruining and throwing away a pair.

Mending cafe…

Mending libraries or mending or repair cafes are worth looking out for locally. These are often pop ups, where people lend their skills to fixing things for others. I’ve not used one yet, mostly as we have a good group of skills within our family for fixing a variety of things.

Sourcing spare parts..

Someone recently posted in a local group that they were seeking a specific part to fix something weird and wonderful. Within 10 minutes a potential source of the part had been located as it turned out the item was not quite as weird and wonderful as the owner had first thought! So it’s always worth asking if anyone knows where tp get parts!

Ikea keeps many spare parts in stock in their stores. Local hardware shops are great for missing nuts and bolts. And of course ebay! I have also discovered that LEGO offer spare parts if you’ve lost a part from a kit! So before you throw it away, why not thinking about fixing it?

Couch to 5k

Yesterday I re-started Couch to 5k. I needed some structure in my exercise, and I needed to start the process again. I’ve not run for several months, it is amazing how missed days turn into weeks and then months. I’ve gone from running a couple of times a week to not running at all. So, with Spring on the way and the urge to get out there increasing! I decided the most sensible thing to do was to start using the Couch to 5 k app once again.

What is Couch to 5K?

I’m using the NHS Couch to 5 k (C25K) app, it takes 9 weeks to take you from not running to running 5 km. I don’t mind admitting that I find the structure of the app both beneficial and frustrating. It’s beneficial as it puts in place much needed routine, but it is frustrating as there are times when I’d like to keep going but the app tells me not to. However, I think the benefit of the app, out weighs my feelings of frustration.

The first time I used Couch to 5 K, even the first week of runs were tough. I was red faced struggling to catch my breath. I tell you this as I remember feeling ashamed that I was so unable to run even for a short time! But, I got through it. I took some advice from a friend, and repeated weeks I found really tough – especially if I felt tired. This time, I got to the end of the first run and barely felt like I had done anything at all. This showed me two things, it was worth the battle the first time, and this time? Well, this time half the work is already done. But, I don’t want to skip weeks, as this is a gentle journey with a bigger goal which I’ll talk more about in another post.

New Year – New Diet?

I’ve lost track of the number of diets I’ve tried. Calorie counting, cutting food groups, virtual starvation, and an attempt to eat a well balanced diet. The latter was hardest, and had the best results, but unfortunately I began to ‘cheat’ and lost my way. So here I am in a new decade, looking at my winter weight gain and eager to shift the lbs but also well aware that fad diets are no good for me if i want lasting weight-loss (which I do.)

I don’t want to be thin, just have my trousers fit comfortably around my belly. Which is something post-Christmas they don’t. Ahh but do I regret my Christmas chocolate binge? Not a bit. I loved every moment of cake indulgence and every sneaky festive chocolate. It reminded me of being a child, where Christmas and Easter were the only real times of indulgence.

I think my main desire to lose weight is to be able to move easier, 7lbs doesn’t seem much extra weight, until you are carrying it.

Healthy eating is it expensive?

Eating a healthy diet is probably cheaper than my usual diet if I’m honest. Fruit and vegetables, rice, pasta and a choice of proteins can all be purchased cheaply.

I love frozen berries with my breakfast oats. Frozen berries are so cheap to buy and I love them! I don’t mind frozen vegetables, but prefer them fresh so I will try to stick to seasonal vegetables which should help with costs.

I am not a nutritionist or dietician and so i am just going to be using an app to track my food. I guess I am technically calorie counting – although primarily I am using the app to monitor carbs/protein etc. I have honestly absolutely no idea what I’m doing other than trying to avoid processed sugar packed foods. Well, I will still be allowing myself a couple of treats… But I want to choose them with care and really enjoy them rather than eat them in a hurry as I’m hungry! Anyone else fall into that trap?

My initial target is 7lbs, which should mean my jeans are comfortable again! I’ve two birthday celebrations in the house this month so it may be a challenge, but it isn’t a race!

Patchology Best Food Forward – Review

It is Sunday and I’ve decided to start reviewing some pampering treats for Self-Care Sunday. Today I tried out Patchology Best Foot Forward, softening foot & heel mask. I wanted to have a bit of a pampering session while reading a book – the perfect Sunday evening in my opinion!

Patchology Best Foot Forward is easy to use, it’s literally a case of unwrapping the booties and putting your feet in them. So perfect if you’re busy, or don’t want any mess. The idea is to leave them on for 10minutes or more if you wish. I kept them for about 20minutes as I was reading.

So, the big negative is they are plastic and single use. This is not a good thing. They come in a cardboard outer, but they’re packaged in a plastic packet and are made from plastic.

Does Patchology Best Foot Forward work?

I didn’t feel the warning sensation I was thinking I might, in fact my feet felt quite cold. Before I took my feet out of the booties I massaged them through the booties – to try to ensure I get all the cream onto my feet!

When I took the boots off I could instantly see my feet look moisturised. My very dry heels looked like they had been pampered a little! And my feet definitely feel softer. It isn’t a replacement for a pedicure or using a foot file on very hard skin, but it is certainly a good way to treat your feet.

The Patchology Best Foot Forward Softening & Heel mask costs around £10.

Our garden in November

Collaborative post.

How it is November I’m not entirely sure. I feel as though I’ve been hurled through the year so far. Now, it is almost next year!

Winter I both love and loathe. I don’t enjoy the shorter days, but winter walks – especially if there’s a little sunshine – makes me smile!

Since I was a small child, I’ve always been told to look at the berries on the trees to see if we will have a cold winter. This holly bush rarely has any berries, but this year it is heavily laden. So if the old wives tale is true, it will be a cold hard winter. I have often thought I ought to keep a diary to see if there is any truth in the tale? Perhaps this year I will.

Winter wildlife

We had to rescue to young hedgehogs. They were out in daylight sunbathing, and after a call to a rescue centre we decided we needed to take them in. The rescue centres closest to us were full, so we had to drive to one a little distance away. The good news is that the centre are hopeful they will be able to be released into our garden in the spring. I spoke to someone at length about whether we should have just fed them, but these were very small hedgehogs, and even being fed it was unlikely they would survive the cold months.

We’ll be feeding the birds again this winter. We feed our birds a mix of nuts, fatballs and seed. Daily checks on food and water for the birds have already begun!

Our Garden in November

I don’t do many jobs in November in the garden. The main one is dealing with the mass of fallen leaves! I am sure we get more every year! The other thing which I am doing is moving more delicate potted plants into sheltered areas of the garden to protect them from the weather. It’s also the time when I plan fence repairs, of which we have a few to attend to!

.

GiffGaff Gamers party

Keeping in touch with friends.

Post in Collaboration with GiffGaff.

When did you last catch up with your friends? If I start to answer that question, my response is often the same. I liked their photo on Instagram, replied to their joke on Facebook, or on a good day… sent them a text asking how they were. But when did I last have a proper catch up with my friends?

Life is busy. We are all busy. Work, family, life! Sometimes it is hard to find time to spend with our favourite people. I find myself very caught up in the world of social media, so I do stay in touch with people – but I don’t see them very often. I’ve got out of the habit of calling people to see if they’re free for a drink. Instead my phone does all my socialising. But what if I used my phone for something greater…

GiffGaff

GiffGaff the peoples mobile phone network, challenged me to host a games night with my friends and family. GiffGaff are run by you, and they are all about keeping you in touch with those closest to you. They offer some great bundles, and I tried out the £15 Goodybag – this gave me 15GB of data, Unlimited texts and Unlimited Minutes. I have to say that, unfortunately the signal in my home was not the best – but I do live in a very poor signal area for all networks. What I did notice, is that when I had signal the 4G worked quicker than my usual network provider – which is a huge bonus! You can get a free sim card, and as always when you change network, you can keep your mobile number if you want too.

So, how to use your mobile to really keep in touch..

Texting your friends

The tragedy is very few of us ever phone each other for a chat. We are so used to just sending a text. I always worry that something is really wrong when they phone me. So, I decided to text my friends their invites to come over. It was quite fun as my phone pinged to tell me whether people were coming over or not! – PING! – (You get the idea!).

Games Night

So, with text invites sent and replies accepting received, there was not much more to do…Well, apart from get ready for the party! As part of our party pack from GiffGaff, we received games from Big Potato!

The thing about a board games night is there is plenty of time to interact. You can’t pick up your phone and mess about on social media while playing a board game – or you lose concentration! (Or get accused of cheating!). Now, we are hugely competitive as a family, so I was a bit worried that we may be a bit ruthless, so I had already planned that we would ensure we mixed up rather than be on the same side… (Remember that Pingpong ball scene in Friends with Monica and Chandler? That could so easily be us…).

Data

Of course, I could have used my data when I had my friends round for lots of reasons! Firstly – Order a takeaway – yes who needs to spend hours cooking when you can click through an order – and save money by applying a discount code too if you can! Send those funny snaps you’ve captured during your games night – not forgetting sharing with your group the video footage of the Victorious Winners of the Giff Gaff Games Night 2019 Trophy… (I would have shared it with you if I was allowed…) Oh, and connect to Alexa so she can entertain us with songs all evening – thank heavens for “Alexa, Play Happy Music!”.

Who WON?!

Well, the games went down really well – we especially liked “Weird Things Humans Search for”. However, be aware that if you play this after a few drinks, it is even more hilarious – some of the answers which were being written down were hysterical!

Unfortunately, I did not win. I personally think I was robbed of victory, and that actually I should have won, I blame my friend Ani for distracting me. Not that I’m bitter. Ok, perhaps just a bit. That trophy was shiny!

Phone a friend…

The funny thing is, after you have had a great night with friends, you feel closer to them. It is suddenly easier to call them and say “Hi, thank you so much for coming over! Shall we do it again sometime soon?”. Having a get together has opened up the doors of communication once more. I think it was a great opportunity to get together and talk! We will definitely be doing it again, maybe next half term?

Grief – Talking

Grief is awful. It’s the most horrible feeling. It sort of sits on your shoulder, and you carry it around. While it sits there, quietly, it’s totally bearable. Then suddenly when you least expect it, it leaps in front of you bowling you over. SURPRISE! Although, it isn’t a surprise. You start to become accustomed to carrying it around, but, as time goes on, when you get bowled over it is easier to get back up again. It does get easier. It might not feel it, but it really does.

There’s this even more awful thing though, and that is knowing whether or not to speak to someone about their deceased loved one.

I have really struggled with this. Part of me thought that if we never spoke about them again, it would be easiest. There would be no awkward moments, and no emotions – that would be easiest wouldn’t it?

I quickly discovered that not talking made me personally feel worse. It was like I had bottled everything up, and I got to the point where I just couldn’t not talk about it anymore.

So now, I will say “OH! Gosh she would have loved that – she adored those!”. Or I will talk about those funny times, or where a photo was taken. It still hurts, don’t get me wrong – it does. But it also makes me smile. But that is me. I have the idea that by talking about my loved ones, I keep their memory alive.

However, I also totally understand those who would rather not talk about their loved ones. Sometimes the pain of remembering them is too great. Verbalising a loved one in a past tense is too painful. To try to not think of them, or at least not think of them as gone.

My advice, if you know someone who has lost a loved one, just say something to them. You can talk about the weather, your favourite cake, or ask them if they’re ok. They may cry, they may ignore you, or it may bring you closer.

Eco Panda Re-usable Make Up Pads – Review.

Gifted – Review Post

I’ve been taking steps to reduce our waste for several years, and each year I try to tackle something new. But, one of the first switches I made years ago, was rethinking my make-up removal. I switched to re-usable options from single use facial wipes. Yes, many years ago, I too was that person who bought into facial wipes. They seemed an easy option, and I didn’t realise how awful environmentally they were until someone explained. My first switch was just to a flannel, and then years later I got my first re-usable facial wipes.

Many of my friends are still facial wipe users, or buy cotton wool pads wrapped in single use plastic. It’s all about ease, and re-usable is hassle – right? Well no. Re-usable wipes are such an easy switch, and actually will save you money oh and from running out! I think most of us have been there, with a full face of make-up at the weekend and no way to clean it off…

Re-usable Make-up Removal Pads

Eco-Panda sent me a set of their make-up removal pads, they come with a container to store them in – which looks beautiful in the bathroom or on your bedside table. Each pad is super soft, and so they glide across your skin – use your normal make up remover with them. Once used, pop them into the net laundry bag included – it’s made from cotton so no nasty micro-plastics to worry about. When you’ve enough in the laundry bag, you can wash them in the washing machine just pop the bag straight into the machine. I’ve only just needed to wash mine as you get a good supply – 18 in total, plenty for a weeks supply!

Eco-Friendly Packaging

I really like the fact the the pads come in a storage container and with a laundry bag. It makes the whole process so easy! I was impressed that they arrived in a cardboard box – no plastic waste to be seen. The pads and the container are made using Bamboo. Bamboo is a great material as it is bio-degradable and fast growing. The pads are also Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, for the absence of harmful substances. So keeping your skin and the environment really clean.

I have to say, I am really keen on the Eco Panda Make-up removal pads. They feel lovely on my skin, and are beautifully presented. They would make a wonderful Christmas gift for any beauty fan. You can buy reusable make-up removal pads from Amazon.

5 Ways to Beat The Monday Blues.

So you’ve had a great weekend, and then Monday comes along. Back to the school run, back to work. Monday brings the stresses of a new week, and all the stuff left over from last week too! So I’m sharing my 5 favourite ways to handle the Monday Blues!

Make a List

This sounds so obvious, but having a clear list of tasks needing doing really keeps me on track! Whatever my plans, I find I’m lots more productive if I have a to do list to work with. I put everything on the list, including school runs. This means I tick off something before the day really begins and put myself into a positive mind set!

Check your diary

Anything exciting happening on your Monday afternoon? I try to make plans to have coffee with a friend on Mondays. It’s a great distraction, and it almost makes Monday a part of my weekend!

Monday is a good day…

Starting the day with a positive attitude helps me bound through Monday. I try to imagine what great things are ahead, what potential opportunities may present themselves! So, instead of worrying about the things I can’t change, I try to be positive about the good things which might happen!

Get Moving

Make Monday a day when you walk to work or school. Take your lunch outside, or sit out on your doorstep with your coffee. There’s been research which says getting out in nature is good for you. Well getting out for a walk in nature may not be practical on a Monday, but taking the children to the park after school might be a great way to burn off their energy and give myself a dose of fresh air!

Monday Music

Create a playlist of all your favourite songs, the ones which make you feel as though you can do anything! A Monday playlist will make your day great, play it at every opportunity! Not a big fan of music on a Monday morning? Look for an amusing podcast. I have to have music as I can’t concentrate on podcasts while I’m dashing around on a Monday! But my playlist keeps my mood high, and makes me laugh – as honestly it is the most ridiculous mix ever! But it’s my way of making it through Monday with a smile on my face!