4 Reasons to encourage your family to be active


surfing family

Perhaps you’re frustrated that your family has fallen into some bad eating and exercise habits, or maybe you’re desperately trying to get your family to take on some healthier habits in order to get fit. Whatever the situation is, it’s always a good idea to try and get outdoors and active together so that you can live a healthier (and often cheaper) lifestyle. It also brings the family together which is fantastic if you’re struggling to rekindle a family bond or want to spend a bit more time together with your kids. So to help convince you, here are a couple of good reasons why you want to get your family in shape.

It can be a fun way to get the family together

Whether it’s getting together to repaint the house, go on walks or even play sports together as a family, getting fit as a group is a lot of fun if you can approach it with the right mindset. Not only is it a great way to stay healthy together, but you’ll find that you can also use it as a way to bring the family together so that you have something in common to talk about and do every evening or weekend.

pick your own

Your weekly costs will actually be lower

Being more active and raising your energy often means eating healthily, you’re less likely to eat fast food or buy expensive sweets and snacks. Instead, you’ll be focusing on a healthy diet that is focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and other sources of nutrition that are much better for you. These typically cost a lot less than your average sweets and snacks, making it a fantastic way to lose weight and reduce your grocery shopping bills every week. As long as you’re willing to learn about healthy cooking, you’ll find that you can save a lot of money and improve your health drastically.

It leads to a much better lifestyle

Getting healthier also means being able to lead your family to a better lifestyle. They’ll learn all kinds of different workouts and healthy eating habits that they can expand on and use as positive things in their lifestyle. For instance, while you might be wondering “what is calisthenics” right now, you could start learning about different types of workouts that will lead to more frequent gym visits, more workout opportunities at home and stronger bodies which means no trouble carrying heavy objects and no running out of breath when you’re walking to and from the store.

bike ride

You’re less likely to develop conditions or diseases

A healthy family is a healthy body. By getting into shape, you’re less likely as a family to suffer from all kinds of diseases and weight problems that could lead to nasty conditions. By teaching your family better habits, you ensure that they’ll be healthy for the rest of their lives and can pass down those good habits onto other generations. It’s a fantastic way to ensure that you’re protecting your family.

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4 top tips for buying clothes online

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red trousers

I recently wrote a post about how you don't need deep pockets to be able to buy ethical or designer goods, so I thought I would follow up with a few of my top tips for buying clothes online, especially as we head towards summer when people like to enjoy being outdoors, attending social events, weddings and celebrations and you may be on the hunt for something a little bit special.

We all know that online shopping is great for those who are short on time and struggle to get to the shops as well as those who like to look for deals as it's so easy to do price comparisons as well as search for discounts and buy second hand on sites like Ebay and Depop. Shopping online is easy and convenient, but it could be easier and more convenient if you know how to shop efficiently, especially if you're looking for an outfit you need in a hurry.

Here are four convenient tips to make your online shopping experience smooth sailing and hassle-free.

1. Shop At Stores With Greater Options

The reason you shop online isn't limited to being more comfortable and more cost-effective. A typical disadvantage of a high street store is the lack of stock or the lack of available choices. Online stores remedy that because online stores tend to have more stock available. In addition, there are also online clothing sites such as Asos which stock a huge selection of different brands, so instead of traipsing around 20 stores, you can do it all easily with the click of a finger.

One example of the service is Modvisor, which is similar to a boutique experience. All of your favourite fashion stores can be seen on one platform, giving you a variety of choices on the spot. This is a good idea because you're out of time and you want to choose from a lot of dresses online. You can even set the filter for a specific designer.

Also if you shop online then always search for coupons or discounts, it's an easy way to save money even if it's just free postage, but there are some fantastic deals out there like Nordstrom coupons.

2. Know Your Measurements Ahead

The one major difference with shopping online is, of course, you can't try the clothes on like you can in store so knowing your measurements ahead can really help reduce having to send things back due to not fitting properly which can be a waste of time and resources. 

In addition, there are a lot of online shopping platforms that are being more innovative and integrating new technology. One such example is the augmented reality shopping apps that let you try the dress in front of your camera. You can also try other products like shades and necklaces besides dresses and other apparels. If you need some guidance of how to get your measurements properly, shop your shape have a great online guide.

street style

3. Make Sure To Read The Return Policies Before Purchasing

This is also an important part of shopping online, especially on dresses. Even if you diligently tried to make the most out of online shopping tips, there are still chances that you will have a delivery disappointment. In this case, there is no other way to remedy than to return your goods. Maybe the colour is wrong or the quality is not up to scratch.

Knowing the return policy of a store before purchasing takes a lot of hassle in returning. Ideally, you should look for free and fast returns. Also, make sure that the policy allows the reason regarding why you're going to return your item.

4. Look For Free Delivery

The one thing that does annoy me is delivery costs, as you don't have any of that when shopping on the high street. Many online retailers now offer free delivery over a certain spend or if you sign up to their mailing list will often send free delivery codes every now and them. If you're in a rush it's also good to check a place offers same day or next day delivery - of course, you will need to pay extra for this, but it does mean getting your outfit sent as quickly as possible.


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6 Ways to take care of your kids teeth


happy child

It goes without saying that every child is the apple of the parent's eye. As a parent, you are always willing to walk the extra mile when it comes to the health and safety of your child. One should understand that oral health is equally important as overall health and the key to good oral health is a set of sparkling and decay-free pearly whites.

Strong and healthy teeth have a vital role to play in children as they are an integral component for the development process of speech and nutrition. Good teeth help the child have proper food and enables the child to talk properly. Some may feel that milk teeth aren't as important as adult teeth. That is wrong! Milk teeth form the foundation of well-aligned adult teeth. When milk teeth develop deep cavities and get pulled out before its designated time, the space for the corresponding adult tooth (that is lying within the jawbone) begins to close. Therefore, the adult tooth emerges in a wrong position and disturbs the entire bite pattern. The child may need braces subsequently. If you really wish to save yourselves from future headaches, it is your responsibility to inculcate good dental habits in your child when he/she is young. Remember that nothing can be costlier than fixing a bad mouth and as they say prevention is better than cure.

Here are a few tips that you can make use of to ensure that your children have cavity-free and healthy teeth

1. Brushing twice daily

Brushing teeth after getting up in the morning is a habit that you teach by default. To bring in the practice of brushing the teeth before bedtime is what can sometimes need more effort as by the end of a long and tiring day you want to hit the sack desperately and it can be easy to overlook this. Nighttime brushing, however, is even more important as allowing the children to sleep with the food debris within their mouth can be likened to adding fuel to the bacterial activity. You can, however, make brushing fun but letting kids choose their own toothbrushes with their favourite cartoon character or maybe their favourite colour. Let them also choose the toothpaste in their prefered flavour and just have fun with it, also remember a fun 2-minute timer to encourage them to brush for the whole 2 minutes. There are some excellent brushing tips over on the NHS website.


2. Flossing once a day

Brushing teeth rubs off the food particles on the teeth surfaces but fails to clean the debris stuck between two teeth. Flossing takes care of these interdental areas. Using floss may not be easy during the initial days. As a parent, you may have to handhold most of the time. Once they become capable of doing it by themselves, you may have to supervise them for a few days before they become experts completely. 

3. Routine dental checkups

Routine visits to the dentist is as vital as the practice of oral hygiene measures at home. Your dentist is the best person to figure out if the teeth of your child are in a healthy state or are in for need immediate attention. A small decay, when left untreated, can destroy the entire tooth and spread to the neighbouring teeth. Children that fall in the age range of 6 to 12 years have a mixed set of teeth, where they have both milk teeth and adult teeth. The problems with alignment can creep up right at this age and can be diagnosed and corrected right at the initial stages itself, so you may not have to invest in braces later. Taking your child for routine dental check-ups can keep a number of dental problems at bay. 

4. Professional dental cleaning 

Most adults will have visited a Dental Hygienist, in fact it's recommended to visit one every 6 months to keep on top of your dental hygiene. What I didn't know until recently was that children can also benefit from having their teeth polished and can aid towards preventing decay. The hygienist can use child-friendly flavours while polishing making the whole experience more pleasant for the child.

5. Get fluoride treatment done

Fluorides fortify the teeth and give an extra protective layer of protection against dental decay which is essential when more sugar is being added to the food we eat. You should consult your dentist to know if your kid's teeth should have fluoride application done or not. In cases, when the drinking water has sufficient levels of fluoride an extra application may not be needed. Otherwise, the application of fluoride varnishes on your kids' teeth is highly recommended to ward off bacterial activity. Your dentist can offer a fluoride varnish treatment every 6 months and if they only offer fluoride gel kindly ask them to use fluoride varnish since the varnish works better and doesn't make kids gag. The office can get free fluoride varnish samples from several dental websites so that you can make sure your child gets the proper dental protection they need.

happy child

6. Healthy Eating

If you really want to shower your love on your kids then don't opt for the sweet, sticky or sugary confectionery every time. Soda or fizzy drinks is another important thing that needs to be restricted to kids. The importance of healthy eating needs to be instilled in their minds right at a young age. Once they learn the benefits of eating sensibly, they will follow these small lessons throughout their lives. The rule of moderation and avoidance of snacks in between meals are another two things when it comes to modifying one's diet. Replace fruit juices with whole fruit as that contains more fibres that provide good roughage as well.

As parents, we need to do what we can to encourage excellent dental hygiene for both ourselves and our children. You can also encourage it through fun books and videos that gently focus on the importance of dental health. you can make the children watch videos or read books on dental health and hygiene. Also don't forget to be encouraging and reward them with kind words and a hug every time they brush their teeth. There is more info about why it's so important to keep on top of your kids dental health over on the Oral Health Foundation.

Collaborative post 

kids dental health

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My Home and Interior goals for the summer



Chalk paint

The time has finally come to really work through the snagging list in the house, the thing I have been wanting to do for a while now but when your in the mists of baby and toddlerhood your main focus is usually just trying to get through the day in one piece, let alone start thinking about house renovations. Of course it's possible with very young children - we did a lot of renovations when my eldest was in his early years but with two boys, working from home, school runs and everything else in between I wanted to wait until we got out of those initial stages of chaos. Now that my youngest is four things are getting much easier and finally more time and effort can be put towards getting the house to a place I am happy with. I thought I would share with you a few plans I have to get the house looking the best it can.

Paint, Paint Paint

Grubby fingers alert - while we repainted most of the interior of the house only three years ago, let's just say having two young boys has meant there are marks and stains on many parts of the wall, which is just a fact of life when you have kids, no matter how careful you're trying to be. With a baby learning to walk, then weaning and eating independently, crafting and deciding the wall is the perfect canvas, has meant our kitchen, lounge and hallway all need new coats of paint, along with the skirting boards and all our internal doors. The great thing about painting is how much of an immediate impact it can have on a room and is one of the most budget-friendly ways to improve a room. I have been eyeing up the vegan range of paints from Farrow and Ball and I am still trying to decide what to go with as there is such a fantastic range of shades and colours - dilemma!

home improvements

New Carpet

When we moved in a few years back the first thing we did was replace the bedroom carpets with the view to redo the lounge and stairs. In a way, I am glad we didn't do all of it as the living spaces are where we spend most of our time and now that it's endured potty training and weaning I feel it's a good time to get some new carpet as we are out of those stages now. My dream would be to have real wood flooring but right now that's not an option so I know having a new carpet in the living room and stairway is going to make a huge difference to the space and I am very excited about getting this done in the next month.

Breath life in our decking and our garden

When we moved in the decking outside was in very good condition but after a few bad winters, despite our efforts to keep it looking good, it's now in desperate need of a professional clean. We have a Karcher K4 Full Control pressure washer that we are going to be putting to the test over the next week or so and I have high hopes that it's going to make a big difference to our outdoor space.  We are also doing a lot of work on our garden in general. We are lucky to have a decent size garden but of course, that takes longer to maintain and this year we are repainting the walls and shed, investing in a chiminea for those summer evenings as well as general landscaping.


Replace the front door

As they say, first impressions count and I have never been a fan of our front door, which was here when we moved in. I think some much can be said about making those small personalised changes to a house that then turn it into a home. I want my home to represent more of my own style and that should start from the moment you step in. I have been eyeing up a few from https://www.threecountiesltd.co.uk/ that I really love and are not only stylish but also safe, secure and high energy performance meaning less heat is lost and hopefully lower energy bills (which would be amazing)

Minimise and re-design the kids rooms

As my eldest is going to be 9 this year and my youngest is four it's time to update their bedrooms - while we have never done "themed" rooms as they thought, to be frank, makes me cringe a little, I do feel their spaces could be updated and decluttered. As we are trying to be more minimalist it's also time to pass on toys that are no longer being played with or they have outgrown. Every 6 months or so I do a Kids market which allows to me make a little bit of money from things they no longer use and this can then in term be used to perhaps get some prints done for there rooms.

Of course, there are a host of other smaller jobs I want to do such as a new fire surround, covers for the radiators, new toilet etc and while we cannot do it all right now I am planning to make a real start this summer.

home improvements

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A peaceful nights sleep with a nanu pillow



nanu sleep

This post is a paid collaboration with Nanu Sleep

Do you know that most of us sleep on a pillow that is over five years old and 40% of Brits never wash their pillows!! I know I was pretty shocked reading that too but in all honesty, I can't remember the last time I bought a new pillow, it has a lot to do with the fact that the past few years I've been knee deep in nappies and just trying to get through the day so I know I've slipped on a few things, although good to say I do wash them every now and then.

With sleep being so important to our mental and physical wellbeing how come we are so slack at making sure we have a decent pillow to lay our head on each night? I mean it's an essential purchase and yet something a lot of us seem to overlook. Well, I've been working with the fantastic people at nanu who are running a pillow amnesty and encouraging everyone to make a switch every 3yrs and not just for any mediocre pillow but for a budget-friendly customised one that fits your needs perfectly.

I am sure many people already know the benefits of sleeping but with so many people getting fewer hours of rest than ever I think it's important to drum it home. Firstly sleeping on the wrong pillow can cause you to have broken and restless sleep as well as potentially neck pain. Once you do find the right pillow the benefits of sleep include lower blood pressure, stress reduction, improved memory, keep your heart healthy and could also reduce things like depression.

personalised pillow

nanu sleep

I know I have been using a pillow not adequate for my needs, soft and flat, for the past year or so and it's certainly affected my quality of sleep, which in term has affected my productivity during the day as well as my mood and ability to deal with stress but being so busy I've just lacked time to find the perfect pillow. That's the great thing about nanu is I can design my own customised pillow online and it's delivered within a couple of days all for £35 including delivery and comes with a 30-night free trial, 2yr warranty and it's allergen free.

If your wondering how they customise it well it's super quick and easy and they take into account your height, weight, the way you sleep (front, back or side) and firmness to create the pillow of your dreams, literally! I have been using mine for over a week now and the difference is incredible and I'm now almost annoyed with myself for not doing something about this sooner.

What I love even more about the nanu is that it's British Made as supporting local companies is important to me but also it's an environmentally friendly option too as the super soft filling is made from recycled plastic bottles - total win!

personalised pillow

nanu is also running a great competition over on their Facebook for the chance for 50 people to win their own customised pillow all you have to do is like their page and share a photo or story about your pillow habits. All entrants will also receive a "£5 off" voucher.

The Competition ends at 11:59pm GMT on 31/05/19. Winners notified within 14 days via the means entered. UK residents only. You must be over 18 to enter. 1 entry per person. No cash alternative. Full T&Cs: http://bit.ly/2Uu3Eq4

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11 Of My favourite foodie spots in London



Drinking Wine London

Living in Cardiff means I am only a 2hr train from central London, making the English Capital an accessible and easy destination for day trips, weekend breaks and work events and luckily I get to visit on a fairly regular basis. This, of course, means I have a variety of favourite foodie spots from family-friendly dining to cocktails, coffee on the go to brunch and breakfast spots. In collaboration with SquareMeal, the UK's best-known restaurant, bar and venue website that offers unbiased reviews and an easy to use booking system, I thought I would share my favourite foodie places in the Capital city.

Breakfast and Brunch

La Boheme, Soho

Located in the heart of Soho, Cafe Boheme, a very cool and chic long-standing French establishment that has been going for 25yrs and serves up some of the best french toast with Chantilly cream and rhubarb around as well as pastries and cold-press juices and is somewhere I love to have an indulgent treat when I'm in that part of town. Open until the early hours of the morning this is also a great place for a late night coffee and chat with friends or indulge in one of the many traditional French dishes they offer.  They also have live jazz every day from 3-6:30pm.

Hotel breakfast

Leicester Square Kitchen, West End

The boys and I enjoyed a really fantastic breakfast at Leicester Square Kitchen last year and while it's a very upmarket space they were very accommodating of my two young children. While the kids loved the freshly baked Pain au chocolat  I opted for The Peruvian scrambled eggs with coriander, chargrilled sourdough and crushed avocado and chillies - it was delicious and one of the best breakfast I have had in a while. The location is also fantastic being right in the heart of the West End.

Cool Lunches

Wild Food Cafe, Covent Garden

My go to spot for a relaxed, healthy and plant-based lunch is a colourful and eccentric atmosphere. The wild food cafe is also a bit of a haven of calm from the rest of London and feels like a place you can chill out and indulge in some freshly made vegan food. I love that the menu is always changing and the staff are always very helpful and happy - my kind of place. 

Wild Food Cafe London

Bar Gansa, Camden

With so many great places to eat in Camden, you are really spoilt for choice but I what always draws me back to Bar Gansa is that it's a nice relaxing place to sit down after a morning of exploring Camden and enjoy a lunchtime cocktail with some delicious Spanish Tapas. I've never had a bad experience here and the staff clearly love working here and that Spanish passion comes through in the food and drinks they serve up.

Last year we had the chance to try out the Kids Pizza Masterclass at Bread Street Kitchen and it was so much fun and I highly recommend it if you're visiting the capital with your kids. Kids are given the chance to make their own pizza creation along with with a delicious dessert, plus the leave with with a special Tillys Treats apron. Best of all is there is a brunch course with a glass of champagne for the parents so everyone wins. 

PIzza masterclass

Casual Evening dining

The Hoxton Grill, Shoreditch

Set in the hipster district that is Shoreditch a visit to the Hoxton Grill will not leave you feeling disappointed. The menu is contemporary and offers lots of modern twists and I'm not lying when I say I have had one of the best vegetarian burgers here. The interior is very cool and welcoming with an open kitchen so you can watch your food being prepared while getting comfy on their large leather American diner style seats. 

Family Fun at Planet Hollywood, West End

While I am not a huge fan of chains something does have to be said for how fun and over the top Planet Hollywood in London is and the kids absolutely love it. Family dining at it's best and you don't worry about the kids being loud or singing along to the music and the food portions are generous to say the least. The dessert menu will have your kids eyes on storks with massive chocolate sundaes. The surroundings are of course Film and movie orientated and will keep children entertained. Recommend this place if you're in the city with kids. 

Fancy burger
My Halloumi burger at The Hoxton Grill

Drinks with Friends

The Ship, Wardour Street 

Wardour street in itself is a somewhere I love to wander around as it's so steeped in the British Film and music history and it was once home to The Marquee Club which hosted acts such as David Bowie, The Who and the Sex Pistols before closing it's doors in 1988. However, The Ship pub still stands and that was often frequented by Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon (who was eventually barred for his riotous behaviour) and Sean Lennon. Knowing these greats of modern music sat and had a pint at The Ship, have always made it a favourite for me and while it may be small and unassuming it's a place full of heart and culture.  

French House, Soho 

I don't even need to mention a place like French House which Francis Bacon and Dylan Thomas have already deemed as near-perfect but if you have not heard of it before make sure it's at the top of your list to visit on an evening out in London. It attracts a bohemian set and those who enjoy a good conversation over a half pint (they don't do pints) as there is a no music, no tv, no phone rule but that doesn't mean it's not full of electric atmosphere as it's near to full every night with people bustling around in deep conversations in every corner of The French House.

On the Go

Part of a very small independent chain that roasts its own coffee, I think there are 3 Monmouth Coffee houses in London and they all take their coffee very seriously. Saying that the proof is in the pudding and the coffee is excellent as is the inviting atmosphere of the shops making them a great place for a quick stop with a slice of cake thrown in. 

Not only is Portobello Road Market great for finding a bargain but it also offers up an array of delicious street food from curries to freshly made fruit smoothies, I have never been disappointed and have also found excellent vegetarian and vegan options as well. The market is so Vibrant that you can easily spend a couple of hours there. 

Portobello Road Market
My son enjoying a fresh Watermelon juice at Portobello Road Market

I would love to hear what your favourite places in London to eat are and if you have any recommendations of your own. Most of the places I have mentioned above are long-standing establishments as many places come and go in the city over the years, I have done this to make this guide as relevant as possible but it is always worth checking online before heading somewhere.

In collaboration with Square Meal

London food guide

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Getting creative with I'm a Stylist styling head


Creative boys

*This is a paid review post in collaboration with Britmums and I'm a Girly

My boys will jump at any chance to get creative whether that be baking up edible treats in the kitchen, making a fort out of cardboard, painting, drawing or devising their own new board game, they love to try something new. My eldest also really enjoys anything to do with hair, as you may notice he himself has very long hair which is his pride and joy, I'm sure one day he will want to cut it but that's not for me to decide and I respect that completely. We have always had a very gender-neutral home with regards to toys because I believe that all well-made toys should be enjoyed freely without pre-conceived ideas of who they are meant for so while my boys play with things like lego and Hotwheels they also have dolls, prams and wooden cleaning sets, so when I told them that we were getting a I'm a Stylist styling head to review they were very excited.

I don't think they could get it out of the box quick enough and then laying out all the accessories that go along with the I'm a Stylist head, excitedly talking about what they had planned for her. My first impressions were how well made the head is and how realistic the hair falls and feels. This offers the perfect platform for children to start experimenting with hairstyles and different looks without causing any damage to their own hair while still sparking that creative feel when it comes to expressing yourself.

brushing hair

Brushing hair

So what are the main features of I'm a Stylish styling head?

  1.  Full-sized 33cm styling head 
  2.  Magnetic eyelashes that are easy to apply
  3. A removable and washable top
  4. Cool accessories such as face gems, earrings and hair clips
  5. Suction cups on the bottom giving the head extra stability
  6. Interchangeable high-quality wigs available in different colours, although these cost an additional £39. It does mean however if your child gets a little creative with haircuts the wig can easily be replaced 

With the head being 33cm, larger than similar products out there, it makes the head easier for kids to work with, even younger children such as my 4yr old. The boys were both really impressed with how realistic the hair felt and really enjoyed putting it up in different styles. Another big hit was the face jewels and accessories which they enjoyed apply and putting together a bit of a festival look.

face jewels

The I'm a Stylish styling head is recommend for ages 8-15 although personally, I would say, with adult supervision due to small parts, that younger children can enjoy this as my youngest who is 4, loved brushing the hair and watching the face jewels go on. 

These styling heads currently retail at £89 which also includes magnetic lashes and accessories and yes while they are on the pricey side I would like to point out that they are very good quality and really made to last. I'm a Stylish styling head is currently available online and Harrods and Hamleys.

Made by the I'm a Girly brand, the brand promotes inclusivity and diversity and their products are aimed at both boys and girls with their Be A Girly dolls having natural proportions, diverse skin tones, hair colours and textures and their products are designed by a group of girls and boys ages 9 to 13 which make up their KIDS4KIDS panel

I'm a stylist

Your child could be part of the KIDS4KIDS panel!

Do you have a child aged 9 to 12 who’s creative and interested in design and fashion? They can win a place on the KIDS4KIDS design team designing clothes and accessories for the product range. The winners will have the opportunity to meet with the I’M A GIRLY team in London and design clothes for the Fall Winter collection. It will be an afternoon full of drawing, playing with fabrics and brainstorming outfits!

Let your little designer show their creativity by entering. Here’s how!

Download this sheet with an illustration of the I’M A GIRLY doll: IAG _ Drawing Template
Your designer can draw on it, create a collage from images, fabrics and colours etc. to create their very own and individual outfit

Once their creation is finished, take a picture of it and send it to info@imagirly.com

Competition ends 21 May 2019

The KIDS4KIDS design team will choose the best designs and winners will be announced 24 May 2019

The winners are invited to take part in the design session in London on 15 June 2019 2-5pm*

*travel not included

The project is sponsored by I’M A GIRLY.

Read the Terms & Conditions

hair stylist

Disclaimer: This post is part of a paid collaboration with I'm a Girly and Britmums. Words and thoughts 100% my own.

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You don't need deep pockets to buy designer or ethical goods



It feels like everything is costing more and more and the idea of buying a nice outfit for summer is enough to cause me to break out in a sweat. I don't want to compromise on quality, style or ethics but having kids means I am like most people on a tight budget. There are however plenty of options that allow you to purchase those wanted threads but at an affordable price which means less compromise. Here are my top tips on being able to dress with style as half the price.

1. Charity Shop Finds

There is absolutely nothing wrong with shopping at charity shops in the run-up to the seasons changing, in fact it;s incredibly ethical way to purchase clothes as you can find lots of never worn or hardly worn clothes for a massively discounted price as well as stop them going to landfill and give them a new lease of life. I come across some amazing finds over the years from high street and designer brands that would otherwise be out of my price range and I, in fact, have a jacket from a charity shop I bought 15yrs ago that I still wear today!

2. Ebay

Anything you can think of you can find on Ebay! While prices fluctuate massively there is still a good chance of being able to pick up a bargain. Also many high street stores have outlet shops on Ebay, offering some of their goods for half the price. What I also love about Ebay is that it's a marketplace for you to sell your own unwanted goods, which helps declutter your home as well as put a little bit more money back in your pocket.

3. Depop

Unlike Ebay which you can literally find anything, Depop is more focus on fashion and style, mainly for the millennial types but offers up some great bargains and on-trend pieces as a massively reduced price, as well as style inspiration. Super easy to use and upload, again you can use this platform to recycle your own clothes instead of sending them to landfill which is always the best option (as well as making some extra money).

4. Clothes Swaps

Most cities and towns will host Clothe Swapping nights, I have been to one before and it's a great way to meet up with friends, have a fun social night and bring 3 pieces you no longer wear and leave with 3 nice pieces of clothing. This is a fun, simple and ethical way to pick up some quality clothes without making a dent on your wallet as you usually only a pay a few pounds, if that, to join in with the clothes swap.

5. Utilise flash sales

Nearly all online retailers host seasonal sales and flash sales and if there is one particular online store or brand you love then it's worth joining their mail list to be kept up to date on any specials and sales which can save you on average anywhere between 10-50%. I personally sign up to People Tree and Asos to be kept up to date - but don't join too many mail lists otherwise, your inbox will quickly be filled and can cause overwhelm. Also buying off-season is a great way to score a bargain although you do need to think ahead about trends and only make purchases you feel will last into the next season - as they say more is less so don't buy something just because it's reduced.

I bought this People Tree top in the Sale and trousers and shoes at TK Maxx for 50% the normal retail price

While I work hard to reduce the number of clothes I have and make choices based on if I really need something, saying that everything wears out and needs to be replaced as well as enjoying fashion and feeling good in what you wear. Our tastes change over the years and we should allow ourselves to embrace that as fundamentally clothes can make us feel good about ourselves and we should all have the opportunity to feel good.

Of course, if there is a designer bag or something that has really been catching your eye and you have been wanting for years then websites such as High Purses offer a huge range as a greatly reduced amount.

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Why you should consider getting a Home Appliance Warranty

family life

When a person buys a home, there is a variety of things that they need to think about. These things typically include worrying about if they can afford it, getting the right mortgage, what needs fixing, planning the garden, and much more. However, one thing a new home buyer doesn't usually think about is a home appliance warranty and those of us that do think about it may wonder whether it's right for them, with much of this driven by the fact that they may not know much about it.

I personally have been burnt a few times, when appliances have given up, usually just after the standard warranty has finished. Such as when my washing machine gave up the ghost just after having my youngest and wow did the laundry pile up with a baby in the house, we had to call in a lot of favours from family and friends and getting it fixed was pretty stressful. A good starting point would be to seek out impartial and reliable advice on websites such as confused.com.

What Is A Home Appliance Warranty?

The biggest misconception is that many people might believe that a home warranty and home insurance are the same thing. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. While home insurance protects you financially in the case of damage to your home, a warranty focuses on fixing and replacing your major home appliances. Though many manufacturers offer a warranty for a period of time it's usually limited. On top of this, it seems that as soon as the manufacturer's warranty ends is when issues start developing with these products, mainly because they can be quite old by this point which is why getting home appliance warranty can be so useful. 

stylish home

How A Home Appliance Warranty Works

One of the main reasons many people assume that a home warranty and insurance are the same is because they can work in much the same manner. This is because you'll need to pay a premium every year that you want your appliances to be covered, which is almost identical to how home insurance works. This payment can vary considerably depending on your provider, as well as the individual policy that you're getting.

Once you keep paying your premium, you'll be able to contact your provider who'll then be able to send out a professional to fix your appliance. As a result, you'll only need to pay a nominal fee for the repair, which is much smaller compared to how much you might have paid without the warranty. Home warranty providers work with a considerable amount of professionals that specialize in repairs which can give you real peace of mind. 

Benefits Of A Home Warranty

The biggest benefit of a home warranty is that it offers you peace of mind. Should one of your appliances break, the majority of the cost of fixing or replacing it will be covered by your provider. For many, a home appliance warranty can be a wise investment for the majority of homeowners.

Having said all of that, there can be a significant amount of benefits to getting one. There are a number of high-quality home warranty providers such as TotalProtect Home Warranty that ensure it's affordable while still covering what you need. That being said, it's worth looking at what a home warranty is and how it may benefit you before you decide whether or not to purchase one.

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Appliances warranty

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The importance of making a Space where you can relax



How much downtime do you have in life? Really? It seems that now, we can struggle to find anywhere to really relax. Whether you're pursuing your self-education, or you are working all the hours under the sun, you've got to find somewhere that can inspire, but relax you in equal measure. How can you make a space, whether inside or outside your home, where you can truly relax?

Where Do You Want The Space?

It's usually decided for us. After all, we don't have lots of room in modern homes, and even if we do, we naturally decorate the space to make it appear fuller. Picking the right space isn't just about getting away from all the modern stresses, but it's about finding something that inspires you and aids relaxation. A garden is a simple solution because it's the closest you can get to nature without actually venturing miles away. But you have to make sure that the garden space is not going to stress you out. Sometimes there could be so much that needs doing to your garden the very thought of heading out there won't calm you down! It's at this point where you may think about going down the artificial route. You can get artificial plants, or at the very least, plants that don't require much maintenance. And in addition to this, there are companies like New Lawn that can lay down AstroTurf. If you don't have time to look after your garden, and you just need to go somewhere so you can come down for 10 minutes, the garden can be perfect.

Don't Think About The Size Of The Space

We can feel that we need a big space in which to relax and recline when in actual fact, the goal is to get away from all the modern stresses. Even if you have a cubby hole in the corner of the home, as long as you dress it appropriately, and it serves to calm you down, it doesn't matter. You can very easily pick up a cheap armchair, with comforting armrests, and soft material, and as soon as you close your eyes and focus on your breathing, you can be transported away from these modern stresses. It's not about having a large space, it's always about the quality.

Focus On The Art Of Relaxation

Even if you don't like the idea of relaxing, because you can't switch your brain off, it's all about practice. You can't be expected to sit in a quiet area and think of nothing because automatically, your brain will start to go haywire. Instead, think about sitting in a quiet spot and just focusing on your breath for a couple of minutes each and every day, and build it up slowly. We are forever bound by pressures in the modern world, and as such, that opportunity to “relax” in the true meaning of the word is pretty much non-existent. But by getting rid of these distractions, and learning how to practice the art of relaxation, you will make a space where you can truly relax regardless of where you are.

Relaxation is so important for our wellbeing and it can also come in different shapes and forms so even if you are extremely short on space you can usually find a way to disconnect for a while and find a way to slow down.

Here are my 5 favourite ways to relax and practise some self-care

1. Switching off the phone and reading a book
2. Cooking up a really healthy meal that I usually wouldn't take the time to do.
3. Listen to some of my vinyl records and getting lost in the music
4. Take time for the things that give you joy - for me that's skateboarding or going cycling
5. Get outside and have some fresh air - it does wonders for putting things into perspective 

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An Action Packed weekend in The South Wales Valleys


Jumping for joy

This was a press trip with The Valleys

I was recently invited to spend a weekend exploring some of the fantastic things on offer in the South Wales Valleys which I was really excited about especially as I live very close to the Valleys and having the chance to dig a little deeper into what makes this fascinating part of Wales tick was a great opportunity. Over the years the Valleys have faced some scrutiny in the media, after the decline of the coal mining industry which had an effect on the socio-economic stability of the area but the locals are passionate with a deep running cultural heritage they are proud of and times have changed with more funding being invested in the area, which is naturally a playground for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits. I have written many times about a variety of adventures we have had in the area such as glamping in Cwmcarn Forest, running down sand dunes in Merthyr Mawr, our many visits to Caerphilly Castle and Castle Coch or looking for fairies at Mountain Ranch.

I know so many people who have come to the area and have been pleasantly surprised by what is on offer from breathtaking scenery, country parks, museums to the amazing local produce, I highly recommend you put it on your list of places to check it out and here's why.

Tredegar Summit Centre

Tredegar Summit Centre

The weekend started with an action-packed rock climbing group session at the Tredegar Summit Centre which is located in the heart of the Welsh Valleys just 25mins from the M4 and surrounded by beautiful hills and woodland. The centre offers something for every member of the family from bouldering and rock climbing to high ropes and archery as well as an outdoor play area suitable for toddlers.

Having done a little bit of climbing over the years I was eager to have the chance to give it another go as did my 8yr old who joined me for this activity (before heading back home as I carried on the rest of the weekend child-free). The instructor was knowledgable and reassuring and we managed to take on two different walls with my son whizzing up both of them. After working up a sweat we had a relaxing cup of coffee and welsh cake in the cafe that looks out across the outdoor play area. I have already promised my eldest that we will be coming back to try out the high ropes! This centre is perfect for anyone who wants to try something new as well as other outdoor pursuits such as caving, bushcraft and kayaking.

Hotel room

Hotel bar

Heritage Park Hotel

After our rock climbing session, I dropped my eldest back at home and headed to the Heritage Park Hotel where I met up with all the other bloggers on this trip and also check into my room for the night. I aim to be as honest as possible in my reviews and having had attended a wedding here a few years back I wasn't sure what to expect as my previous impressions were that it was a bit tired and outdated, however, it's been taken over by new management and they have done a fantastic job in bringing this hotel back to its former glory and making it a great place for a weekend break.

The hotel is located right next to the Rhondda Heritage Park which is an important cultural attraction for the whole family and offers guided pit tours down into a former working mine. It's also only a short drive from the market town of Pontypridd and around 35 mins from Cardiff, the Welsh Capital.

Walking into the hotel the reception has had a complete facelift and is a contemporary and welcoming space and check-in was a breeze. I was equally impressed with my room which was stylish, spacious and had everything I needed, including a very comfy king-sized bed and seating area. After I settled in I headed back down to the bar for a pre-evening drink and also gave me the chance to explore more of the hotel. The bar is certainly a highlight with large comfortable sofas and modern seating which flows into the rustic and open planned restaurant. While we didn't eat at this restaurant during the evening I did have a delicious breakfast here and it's such a relaxing space and I am planning to dine here again soon.

Welsh brewed beers

Chocolate mousse

Casa Mia

Casa Mia, Caerphilly

Once everyone was ready we headed off to Casa Mia, a family-run restaurant in Caerphilly which opened in 2017 and has wowed diners with the incredible unrestricted view of Caerphilly Castle as well as the friendly atmosphere and delicious Mediterranean cuisine on offer and it certainly lived up to it's growing reputation as it was packed with locals.

Before our food came we were treated to beer tasting of some locally brewed beers including tipples from Tudor Brewery based in Abertillery which has named some of its beers after local peaks including Sugarloaf and the Skirrid, Mad Dog Brewing Company from Penperlleni and Untapped Brewing co from Raglan. Even though I am not a huge beer drinker I was really impressed with the variety of local brews as well as John who talked us through the different kinds and process of making them which was fascinating.

Back to supper and after a busy day, I decided to go for vegetarian Pizza Napoli which was a traditional thin base which I love and followed by a delicious Chocolate mousse, let's just say both plates were pretty much licked clean. I would certainly recommend Casa Mia, I loved the bustling atmosphere and it's a great spot for a special date night or casual family lunch.

Hike Welsh Valleys

Parc Calon Lan

Guided walk around Blaengarw

As a family, we have explored a lot of the nature reserves and country parks in the Valleys but I have never visited Blaengarw so I was looking forward to discovering somewhere new and best of all the sun decided to come out making it a perfect day for a hike.

We met our guide at the information cabin located at the on-site free parking at the entrance of Parc Calon Lan and he gave us the low down of all hikes and walks on offer in the area before we set off up the Valley to reach a vantage point that offered views all the way to Cardiff Bay and the coastline. You can also look out for peregrine falcons and sculptures along the lakeside, woodland and mountain paths which have been carved out of a landscape reclaimed from an old railway and coalmine.

I really enjoy our hike up especially with it being such a beautiful sunny day and the views were incredible, plus our guide was very knowledgable and informative and gave some great insight into the local area, history and culture and this is certainly somewhere I will be bringing the kids over the summer, especially as he also mentioned there was a walk to a nearby waterfall which I would love to check out.

Table flowers

Tondu Farm house

Woodlands Bistro, Tondu

After our energetic morning walk, I was certainly ready to tuck into some good food so we headed off to Tondu in the Bridgend Valley and enjoyed a meal at Woodlands Bistro which is part of an amazing social venture set up to help those in the local community, promote wellbeing and skills development plus it's set on a beautiful 43 acre site. On the site is also a bunkhouse with stunning views across the Valley, which you can hire on Airbnb and is a fantastic spot for a group weekend away.

The bistro itself is a real hidden gem and has a very welcoming and homely feel to it in a beautiful setting. I opted for the vegetarian Sunday lunch and it's been one of the most delicious vegetarian meals I've had in a long time with everything cooked and prepared on-site. The Bistro has started to become a real favourite among locals and as the opening times are limited it's important to book in advance as their Sunday lunches often sell out well before the weekend and for good reason!

Surfing porthcawl

The one thing I can say for the Valley is that the weekend only scratched the surface of what there is to do in the area and actually when I got back home I picked up the kids and the bikes and we headed out on the Taff Trail, a well-known cycle path that runs all the way from Cardiff through the Welsh Valleys to the Brecon Beacons and one of our favourite things to do as most of the trail is traffic-free.

Since this trip I have also taken the kids Geocaching in Barry Sidings country park as well as hiking up Garth Mountain which has paths running up it from both the Cardiff and Valleys sides, we started in Taffs Well and highly recommend it as a family friendly hike. Most recently has been getting back on my surfboard and heading out to Rest Bay in Porthcawl, this Blue Flag beach is great for families and those wanting to get into board sports and if surfing is not your thing you can also hire Fat Bikes in Porthcawl and go cycling on the sand dunes.

It just goes to show how much is on our doorstep right here in the UK, of course I'm not talking anything away from the fun of a last-minute all-inclusive vacation somewhere far-flung (we all love those) but Wales is the perfect option for when that isn't possible or you're looking for something closer to home.

South Wales Valleys

I was kindly invited by The Valleys to be a guest and spend the weekend exploring the area
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