The Perfect Autumn Jacket



waterproof jacket

*Lighthouse have kindly gifted me a Bowline Jacket for an honest review

There is no doubt about it, gone are the warm summer evenings and hello Autumn, jumping in puddles and crunching through fallen leaves. September has brought a lot of rain with it and as the warm weather starts to drop off it means staying dry is really important as there is nothing worse than being cold and wet. I was recently sent a gorgeous Bowline waterproof jacket from Lighthouse to put to the test and it has been perfect for festivals but it's really come into its own this past fortnight with the constant rain and has prevented me getting soaked on many occasions.

I have tried a variety of outdoor jackets in the past but nothing is as waterproof as this rubberised jacket which is the same fabric as my kids wet-weathers. The jacket is nice and light while still having a soft lined inner fabric and two large pockets to keep everything you need for a day of adventure. What I really like is it's perfect for layering, it's not too think and a jumper underneath keeps me warm and toasty plus with the big hood means I've not even had to take an umbrella on the school runs.

waterproof jacket

Of course, you don't have to opt for a rubberised jacket, they are slightly less breathable than other winter jackets but good news Lighthouse has something for everyone from full-length raincoats to warm down jackets and cosy sweatshirts for layering. This is actually the second Lighthouse Jacket I've had in the past few years - I still have and use my original one although it's more suited for warmer summer days while this one will take me through Autumn and into winter.

As the Swedes say there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes and it's just so true, you really can enjoy far more time outdoors if you're well equipped for what the British weather may throw your way. I really love my Lighthouse jacket so if you're in the market for well made all-weather clothing then do check out Lighthouse.

Lighthouse jacket

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How to take the stress out of making financial decisions


tip jar

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Can you believe how quickly we are getting through this year and I think most people are starting to look ahead to those big yearly events such as Christmas and while it's an enjoyable time of the year it can also be quite exhausting and trying when it comes to the mounting cost.

When it comes to making important financial decisions, it can feel a lot easier to bury your head instead of facing them head-on. It’s hard to imagine the future possible outcomes, and it can often feel overwhelmingly stressful. I wasn't always very good with saving but since having children that has changed and I feel it's an on-going learning experience. In order to make this process a little bit less daunting for you, I have provided some advice on how to minimise stress when faced with a big financial decision.

Get advice from those closest to you

They say that a problem shared is a problem halved, so when you’re facing difficulty, it’s very important that you turn to those closest to you to ask for their advice. Whether you simply want someone to listen, or would value their opinion, by simply talking to someone about your worries, they can sometimes become a lot more straightforward to deal with. Invite a friend over for dinner, or go on a long walk with your other half — you’ll feel a lot more at ease once you’ve got everything off your chest. 


Make one financial decision at a time

When your feeling overwhelmed it's important to attack one problem at a time instead of trying to do it all at once. Write down everything you want to achieve and ways to reduce your out-goings and tick them off as you go along but stay on a clear plan.

Do your research thoroughly

Before making that important financial decision, make sure you understand everything it entails. For example, have you been provided with all of the necessary information from the bank? Have you done your research? Have you made a solid plan? Only commit to something when you have full understanding.

Think about the impact of the different options you could make

While your decision may positively impact your short-term future, have you thought more long-term, too? While you may have made a financial plan, be prepared to be flexible and change it if and when it’s not working.

Scribble down your thoughts

It’s easy to let the strain take over when it comes to making such decisions. However, it’s important that you take a step back to ensure that you don’t do any damage to your health. Why not write down all the pros and cons that come with these all-important decisions? By scribbling everything down, you’ll be able to clear your mind, organise your thoughts, and work towards your goals.

Ensure that you make the right financial choice for you by following our advice above. Start your checklist now, and remind yourself that you don’t have to be at your best all of the time.

I have written before about having to save for a family holiday and how to be a better saver which may offer up some other ideas and if you're having real financial stress it's important to check out the Money Advice Service

scribble down

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The Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan



Macmillan Coffee morning

*This post is written in partnership with M&S for Macmillan Big Coffe Morning 

I feel really honoured to be partnering up with Marks and Spencer and the Worlds Biggest Coffee morning which aims to raise as much money for Macmillian Cancer Support. I have taken part in these fantastic Coffee mornings for the past few years and it's a great way to have a laugh, eat cake and raise money for this amazing charity.

Unfortunately, cancer is most likely going to affect you or someone you know within your lifetime and charities like Macmillan are invaluable during these times. I've lost my Grandfather, Uncle and Aunt to cancer but it's wasn't until 2017 when I lost my two best friends within the space of 10 months to this awful disease that I realised how important it is to do what we can to make sure charities like this thrive and can carry on offering the services they do.

afternoon tea

Macmillan coffee morning

So how can you get involved? The Worlds Biggest Coffee morning is taking place in the 27th September across the UK and there are a few different ways and no matter how little time you have there is a way to enjoy some delicious treats for a good cause. Firstly you can host your own event, small or large, at home with friends, in the wider community or at work. When you sign up online you also get a free coffee morning kit including bunting, cake decorations and stickers.

If your too busy to organise your own, Marks and Spencer stores across the UK are hosting Coffee mornings on Friday 27th September which donations being made to the charity with all coffee and cake sales in their cafe.

Chocolate Eclair

Marks and Spencer cake

afternoon tea

Another option is to pick up some of the specially made delicious Macmillan cakes and goodies from M&S stores and have a little get together at home, which is what we have done this past week. I picked up my eldest on Friday and we headed over to his grandmother's house where we enjoyed some mini victoria sponge, scones and cream and a chat over some coffee (and cocoa for the kids). 10% of all Macmillan products from M&S are donated and it's a nice easy way to get involved although I am still going to be popping into M&S on the 27th as it's always a great atmosphere.

So why get involved? We did you know that it costs over £1000 to provide a Macmillan nurse for a week to provide essential medical, practical and emotional support to those living with cancer and their families. So every pound matters and I know times are tight for a lot of people but we do often treat ourselves to a coffee when we are out and about so why not get that extra feel-good factor from knowing your coffee is going towards raising money for a good cause.

Macmillan Coffee morning

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Valley Fest 2019 Review


Chew Valley

*I received a family day ticket in exchange for an honest review 

Wow we had such a busy summer and if you follow me on Instagram or my other social media you will know we went to a lot of festivals, near and far. Festivals are a great way to introduce children to community, music, camping and often crafts and forest games and it's a welcomed break away from the normal routine.

This year we were invited to check out Valley Fest in Chew Valley near Bristol. With it being just over an hour from our house we decided to make a day trip of it rather than weekend camping which we usually reserve for festivals a bit further away. There are also real pluses to visiting for the day so if your town or city is putting on a festival you should consider a day ticket over a weekend pass as they are usually cheaper and less hassle if you're not keen on camping but want to experience that festival buzz.

Valley Fest

Festival kids

Valley Fest takes place on a beautiful organic farm overlooking Chew Valley Lake, the main ethos of the festival is great music and great food and to have as much fun as possible. The farmer and owner of the farm, Luke Hasell is also the founder of the festival and actively wants people to have the best time they can on his land and the family-friendly atmosphere certainly captured that. The festival also aims to give back and last year helped to raise £14,479 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Our drive to Valley Fest was pretty easy and when you arrive there is plenty of parking, although I do want to point out that parking is £10 whether you stay the day or the whole weekend, you can purchase this beforehand. Once inside the festival you first come in the The Village Green which offers up an eclectic mix of shops, independent retailers and fun things for kids to get involved with such as circus skills. Then it follows on to the fairground with a variety rides such as the ferris wheel and the room of mirrors. Just beyond that is The Yard with it's firetruck DJ booth and enough space for all kinds of fun and game such as Hobby Horse Gymkhana.

Live Music Valley Fest

local Cider

Once you hit the main filed and it's a glorious view across the lake, there is a variety of things to see and do, as well as eat! The lineup this year was pretty stellar with Leftfield, Basement Jaxx and Tom Odell to name a few as well as well-curated kids activities such as yoga, crafts, storytelling and theatrical performances. Although we spent most of the time dancing to the live music, trying different foods and soaking up the atmosphere.

When it comes to food there is a focus on local produce and companies putting on workshops, walks, feasts, a large artisan market and a variety of street food. Even the majority of beer and cider is local and they cater really well for everyone including veggies and vegan, gluten, nut and dairy free so really everyone can enjoy something.

While Valley Fest isn't the biggest festival it has a lot of soul and a very relaxed and welcoming feel to it. It's less manic than some of the ones we went to this summer and has a real focus on connecting with the land and enjoying the present. As weekend festival go it's also one of the more reasonably priced ones with early bird tickets currently on sale for £99 for a weekend with camping.

*We were provided a family day ticket in exchange for an honest review 

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6 Tips to find the perfect evening outfit


dinner jacket

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No matter the occasion, looking and feeling good in what you are wearing can be a real booster to our self-esteem especially when it comes to those special life events such as weddings, birthdays etc. If you aren’t feeling confident with what you’re wearing, the chances are you won’t enjoy your night as much. Finding an outfit that’s comfortable, stylish, and makes you feel confident is important, so here are 8 tips on how to help you find the perfect evening outfit, bringing out your best features.

Assess Your Body Shape

It's important that regardless of height, weight, size etc that we know our body shape and how to dress it in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. To find an outfit that brings out your best features can help to make you feel more comfortable so it is important to know what your body shape is. Most women tend to fall into the following five categories, which are apple-shaped, pear-shaped, hourglass, rectangular, and petite - I'm petite so when it comes to more formal events I tend to stick to shops that cater for petite customers.

Stick to a Budget

Before you begin your quest for the perfect evening outfit, it’s crucial that you have a budget in place. I'm always on a tight budget but that doesn't mean having to go without especially when there are some amazing charity shops and also borrowing from friends and family is always an option and a sustainable one at that. The last thing you want to do is get yourself into debt so working out the cost and whether you can afford it is important. 

chic style

Less is more

While you can find evening outfits that are very cheap, you may wish to stick with brands who focus on quality and longevity - although like I said you can source these second hand in charity shops or online such as ebay.  Going for a high-quality outfit usually means neat seams and a more flattering fit. You may want to check out this collection from JVN who sell a range of evening dresses. The company also sells prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, homecoming dresses, and short dresses. To make the decision process easier, you can select by colour and price. 

Choose Colors Wisely

While a dress or outfit may look beautiful on display or on a photo, that doesn’t mean the colour will suit your complexion. When searching for an evening outfit, it’s always best to stick with colours that match your skin tone. The colours you choose will play a huge role in enhancing your features and overall look, however, they can also do the complete opposite too. The last thing you want to do is pick an outfit that makes you look pale when you could be rocking one that makes your skin glow.

Don’t Always Choose the Trendiest

Trends are forever coming and going in the fashion world. Unless you aren’t fussed about wearing an evening outfit that looks outdated in a couple of months, it’s advised to invest in pieces that are classic over trendy and can be used for years to come. Picking an outfit with features that are always in style can bring a ton of benefits. Not only will you be able to wear it on multiple occasions, you will feel confident in it no matter the time of year and shopping with longevity in view is a more sustainable option over fast fashion.

black brogues

Use Accessories

Accessories can take a rather plain outfit and totally transform your look for the better. If your clothing has elaborate details, make sure to use minimal accessories, otherwise, you may end up with a cluttered look. If your outfit is plain and straightforward, the right shoes, necklaces, clutches, and hair accessories can add a touch of sparkle and glamour to your outfit.

Assessing your body shape first, finding an evening outfit in your price range, sticking with good designer collections, as well as choosing the right fabric are just a few tips you can use to find the perfect evening look.
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Sunflower Fields at Rhossili Bay



Rhosilli Sunflowers

One of the highlights of the summer for the boys and I was spending an evening watching the sunset over the fields of beautiful sunflowers in Rhossili Bay, planted there by The National Trust. It's really fantastic to see nature in it's full force and in one of the most beautiful locations in South Wales. Rhossili Bay is one of our favourite places with it's award-winning beach and stunning headland walks along rugged clifftop which eventually leads you to Worms head.

The sunflower fields this year were magical, it was great to see so many families and children running free through the head hight sunflowers, as well as all the wildlife it was attracting too. Getting there just before sunset only added to the atmosphere.

sunflower fields


The sunflower fields on The Vile in Rhossili wouldn't have been possible had it not been down to the four rangers and eighty volunteers from The National Trust who have spent the past 2yrs recreating traditional 12th-century patchwork farming and bring life back to The Vile. They also planted a variety of other crops including millet, oat and spelt.

It's great new to hear that because of all the amazing sunshine we got this summer that they have had a very productive crop and have been harvesting the seeds this month using a 1970's combine harvester. Some of the seeds are going to be dried out and left behind to attract birds and wildlife.

sunflower fields

Welsh sunset

The sunflowers are going to be back in 2020 which is really a positive thing to hear especially as it's completely free to walk through the fields. Unfortunately, some people also felt it was fine to pick the sunflowers which of course it's not, so if you do plan to visit next year please be respectful.

Sunflower fields

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5 Ways to get your home ready for winter



burning candle

*Contains Affiliate links

If you haven't already heard the news that the UK is apparently going to have the coldest Winter for 30yrs this year! Yes, apparently we are going to be hit with another Beast from the East around January time according to a long-range weather forecast. While we can't really depend on such long-term predictions and if you live in the UK you will know that the weather changes pretty much on the hour but regardless our winters do seem to be getting colder year on year and now is the time to start getting your home ready for the deep freeze.

Getting your home ready is all about putting preventatives in place so that you save money, not spend it and you don't have to be a DIY guru either, just some elbow grease and common sense is key when it comes to home maintenance. Here is a list of essentials you really need to find time before the winter season starts.

1. Clear your gutters and drains - not the most exciting or favourite of chores to do but an essential one none the less and again this simple task can end up saving you a lot of money. The main reason for clearing debris such as leaves and mud out of your gutters and drains is to stop a build-up that may block the drainage and cause a leak and affect your roof and walls.

2. Check all windows and doors for leaks - we should be doing this about twice a year and it only takes a couple of minutes and can really help to prevent heat loss as well as reduce the chance of damp or water damage. You need to check the weather-stripping around the windows and door frames for any wear and tear and replace where necessary.

old window

3. Get your boiler serviced - an annual boiler service is something we really shouldn't overlook and I can tell you this first hand after our boiler broke down 2 weeks before Christmas, while it was snowing (and freezing) and we couldn't get anyone out to fix it for weeks - cue borrowing lots of electric heaters from friends, no fun at all. You need to make sure that you get your serviced checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer and should cost around £72. You can find more impartial advice about this on the Which website.

4. Swap out your bedding - the main thing you want to focus on is keeping warm for less and one of the easiest ways to do that is have summer bedding and winter bedding with a higher tog. Winter is the time to get the thicker duvets and throws out the cupboard and make your bed a cosy retreat for those colder days.

cosy bed

5. Have proper fitting blinds - having the right type of blinds, preferably custom-fitted and professionally installed can trap a layer of air between the window glass and fabric and thus helping keep the natural heat inside and using less energy in your home. Roller blinds or Roman blinds can over a more solid cover than Venetian or slats and offer a stylish alternative to thick curtains while still retaining heat.

Other simple ways to keep warm and cosy during winter in your home is of course to layer up, wear more jumpers, thick socks and keep warm with blankets on your couch alongside a hot drink. Taking a nice long bath is always a good idea as well as putting rugs down on cold surfaces such as tiled or laminate flooring.

winter home

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