Five Ways To Celebrate Your Mum on Mother’s Day

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash Mum’s are precious; there is no denying that. Right from day one they have provided us with endless love. Be that making sure we were fed, picking us up all over town or even giving us some … Continue reading

Four New Forest Things to Do on a Dreary Day

This little spot in the UK is a beautiful location for a secret escape with your loved one or a great family staycay for some quality time together. Boasting fantastic wildlife and picturesque landscapes, The New Forest is brilliant for … Continue reading

Top 5 Christmas Stocking Fillers For The Whole Family

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash Christmas is creeping up on us and if you are anything like myself then you will have already got the major items on your Christmas shopping list crossed off. Yet, it is the Christmas stocking gifts that … Continue reading

Embracing the Wonderful Disorder of the Festive Season!

Photo by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash Halloween is almost upon us and as ever I had thought that by the end of October our house would be finished and ready for a lovely relaxing festive season. This of course has not happened, but … Continue reading

Help! I Need a Baby…Gift!

Photo by Sadık Kuzu on Unsplash

I am beginning to realise that I have entered a stage in my life where half of my friends are settling down to have kids and the other half are out chasing their careers, travelling or still partying. Even though I am pretty much done with partying, it’s not quite the right time for me to have a baby yet. Although, it hasn’t stopped me getting super excited for my friends who are!

And, where there are babies, there are baby showers.

However, with the baby showers comes the dilemma of getting a gift. The level of effort/money put into finding the perfect gift is going to be determined by how close you are, or maybe what the bank balance says at the time. Both issues come with their own stresses, so I have put together my top tips for getting a fail-safe new baby gift.

Get Them Stocked

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Yes, it is that boring. Or at least seems like it.

For many the thought of getting nappies, bibs or dummies are an effortless gift, they believe that it is easy to purchase and can be bought at any time. They may even rather to get clothes, hats or get really creative for their new bundle of joy.

But from being around and babysitting for my good friends, I learned quickly that babies grow super fast and get through A LOT of nappies.

While hats might be really cute and thoughtful at the time, after six other friends have the same idea, there are only so many hats that can be worn before they grow out them. With supplies, if six friends have the same idea, Mummy is going to save a lot of money and be prepared for a growing babies basic needs for the first four to six months. This is a game changer for them.

Personalise It

Source: Pexels

The other problem with getting clothes or a cuddly toy, is it all becomes a little too generic. There is no doubt that there are many awesome kids clothes out there at the moment, but they do not quite get across the thought behind the gift….unless you are throwing obscene money at the situation.

No, the answer is to get thoughtful with personalised baby gifts for the new addition.

They are something a little different and really show that you have put effort into your chosen present, even if it does not break the bank. You can get a piece of art with the family’s name on it to capture to moment, or if the baby’s name has been decided you could get cuddly toy or bib embroidered as this makes the coming addition even more real!

Go Big

Credit: Pixabay

If you really want to treat the new addition or family to something a little special, but can’t afford to go it alone, think about joining forces with friends or family to split the cost.
There are many expensive items that the new family would love to have, that are genuinely going to make their life with the new one a lot easier. They will just not be able to afford all of them in one go when budgeting for their new family member! Despite this, if they are anything like my friends, they would never want or expect anyone to help them out in that way. When we have managed to clubbed together as a group for something a little more hefty however, we have been blown away by how touched our new parent friends were!

I may still be in the independent stages of my life, but I absolutely adore the excitement and anticipation in the air when one of my friends are expecting! Our friendship group are a little more comfortable for cash these days too, so we are able to get something extra special for our parents-to-be friends. Yet, this doesn’t always make it easy to get the right thing! I hope this has given you some inspiration for finding the perfect gift. Please let me know if you have any other recommendations in the comments section, you never know whether a happy announcement is just around the corner!

Glow for Pride: The Essentials

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Get your rainbow colours on because it is that time of year again! Brighton Pride is just around the corner and the whole city is super excited to get out there and celebrate in style. It promises to be bigger and better every year, and my, does it deliver. Eccentric floats and extreme outfits make Brighton Pride the highlight of my Summer, not to mention it’s right on my doorstep! This joyous occasion does brilliantly in bringing everyone together to celebrate equality and diversity. As a spectator, you aren’t required to dress up however, it is the perfect time of year to splash on some colour and be confident in your skin.

This is our ultimate Guide to Pride 2017!

Photo by Andrew Robles on Unsplash

Beauty

The key to avoiding beauty disasters is to have a good base to work with. Not your foundation base – but the skin beneath it. It is important to look after your skin all year round, however for special occasions you can up the ante a little to get that extra glow. Using the correct skin care products for your skin type can revolutionize the way the makeup sets on your face. Pride is all about being your best self with confidence and what better way than to show off with a confident summer glow.

Highlighters and radiance cremes have been massive this year, they are perfect products to help you get luminous skin when you need a little pick me up. Unicorn and, of course, rainbow highlighters are a hot favourite for this year. The rainbow metallic style colours are just beautiful and will have you lighting up at the parade like a disco ball!

Once you have that smooth, naturally glowing base…time to get creative!

Scouring Pinterest, it is almost obvious that rainbow eyes are the classic favourite. From rainbow eyeliner to colourful brows, there is no stopping the force of the rainbow! If you are wanting something a little less bright, but still a showstopper, confetti or glitter liner is a great way to go. Layer on the glitter and light up the room, like the true star you are.

Clothing

The weather will play a huge part in what you choose to wear but my advice to you is, be prepared. The UK is famous for its irrational weather, especially with Brighton being so close to the sea. Saying that, the past few years have been bright and sunny so I am hopeful that this trend will continue.

If the weather is a temperamental, don’t be caught out! You will likely be dancing and drinking well into the night too, so ensure you wear more than one layer. A light cardigan or jacket can easily be tied around your bag to free your hands up for dancing.

Standing and watching the amazing floats can take its toll so well fitted, comfortable shoes are an essential. Clothing-wise, leave the dark colours at home and dress in bright colours – loud and proud. The rainbow flag is the iconic symbol of the LGBTQ+ community and during the parade there will be a sea of rainbow colours, so get involved. Usually there are people who walk along the parade route before the event starts selling rainbow flags and accessories, a perfect chance to add some more colour to your outfit.

Bag

No one wants to carry a bag around Pride, however you’ll likely need one to pop your essentials in. Aside from the basics like your purse, phone and keys, here are three things that you may not have considered taking:

  • Portable Chargers, these will be your lifesaver. Unlike us humans, phones do not have the party-lasting power. The last thing you want is to lose your friends and have a dead battery. To avoid any loss of communication, bring a charged up portable charger so your phone can last as long as you!
  • Sun cream, if the weather is good bear in mind that most pubs and clubs will be jammed encouraging you to take the party to the streets. In all the fun, you may forget to apply sun cream. Don’t risk waking up the next morning with a hangover and Reapply factor 30+ every two hours to protect your skin.
  • Identification, most people carry this key to pubs and clubs any way. However, some don’t – double check you have this little card with you before you leave the house otherwise you will not be getting in anywhere!

Transport

The parade as fun as it is, makes getting from A to B near enough impossible. Make sure you plan your route in and out of there. Check the Brighton and Hove Buses social media and website for updates, even the app will have news and information regarding bus times and delays. Book a taxi in advance and beware that the fares may be a little higher than expected as it can take longer to get into town. Returning to your home or hotel, it is best to book a taxi before in advance – trust me, you do not want to be waiting in a long queue at two in the morning.

Along with those awesome tips do remember the safety basics as you would whenever you go out. Have a confirmed meeting point with your friends if you lose each other, never put down your drink and trust your instincts. With all that in mind, have a wonderful, safe and glowing Brighton Pride!

Perfect Staycation Locations UK

The sun is shining and the UK cannot get enough of it! The time for holidaying is upon us and I am super excited to take some time out from working life and really relax. Oh, and spend some time with my other half – of course! We are currently having debating whether to go abroad or not. Mike is wanting to escape to the sun however, why run to the sun when you have it right here? There seems to be so much negativity in the news now with regards to travelling and strength of the pound, that I have been searching a little closer to home for the perfect staycation. But first, I need to work on my persuasiveness, so here is a quick summary of staycations are better than vacations!

  • Smaller travel costs – No catching planes or taxis to hotels when we can simply drive there!
  • Easy planning – We know the language and currency
  • Inexpensive – We can easily find the best deals and take things like food from home

Beach Break: Cornwall

Credit: Pixabay

It seems to be that in Cornwall, everything is in walking distance! Falmouth is a tourist hotspot, with cute cafes, pubs and independent shops. I also found that you can catch a boat from Falmouth to St.Mawes, where you can visit St Mawes Castle and take part in water sports if you fancy it. They have lovely sandy beaches, which there is a lack of here in Brighton, and lots of caves to explore!

City Break: London

Credit: Pixabay

Brighton to London isn’t very far, the only thing we have to worry about here is if there is a strike on. London has tons of attractions, from visiting the queen in Buckingham palace to visiting Harry Styles at Madame Tussauds! There are so many places to stay however, with it being the capital and everything – prices will vary. To solve this, you could stay slightly out of London to cut costs, then travel into the city easily with the tube. However, if you are looking for a relaxing holiday, it may not be ideal, as during the summer there are lots of tourists making it busy and crowded.

Relaxing Break: Cotswolds

Credit: Pixabay

No not the shop, but the 800 square mile area of rolling hills which has loads of lively market towns and historic landmarks buried within them! I can picture a long day of exploring, then retreating to one of the traditional Cotswolds cottages in one of the historic villages! It is such a good excuse to get my bike out the shed as this place has so many walking and cycling routes that I would love to explore with my other half.

Active Break: Lake District

Credit: Pixabay

Did you know there are six National Nature Reserves in these 885 miles of land? What I love about this place, is that there are so many types of accommodation, from glamping to hotels! As with the Cotswolds, there are loads of walking routes for all levels. I especially like the look of Helvellyn, a mountain famous for its twin ridges. However, it seems a little steep but I bet it will be worth it for views! For a more organized adventure activity, you partake in a treetop trek and tree top nets – imagine flying and climbing through the trees. You would have to have some guts to do that!

Spa Break: Snowdonia

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I know what you’re thinking – that there are spas closer to home. However, when you go on holiday you want to feel like you’re away! Snowdonia has a range of spa hotels and with breathtaking views – it definitely makes for a romantic holiday for two. The area is also home to a multitude of heritage sites and outdoor activities – bit of a contrast between the two, but I can see how there would be something for everyone. This one could be on the cards depending on how adventurous we are feeling!

All of these locations look incredible and I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that some of them are in the UK. Armed with this comprehensive list and my persuasive skills – I’m pretty sure I have the upper hand in deciding where we will be going this year!

Go the Distance – Making Birthdays Special When You’re Apart

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Friends are so important, both old and new. They celebrate with us when we’re happy and comfort us when we’re down. As we get older, some of them inevitably move away, sometimes to the other side of the planet! But just because they’re not around, it doesn’t mean that we forget about them or their birthdays. In fact, it may be when they’re furthest from home that they most need a reminder that you’re still there.

Schedule a Skype call

When a friend moves abroad, we promise to stay in touch and Skype once a week (at least darling). It seems like it will be the easiest thing in the world to keep up-to-date with their lives, after all it only takes a few seconds to send a text, right? When they’ve actually left though, it can suddenly feel a lot more difficult. Firstly, there’s the time difference to contend with. They’ll be free in the evenings when you’re just getting back from work and desperately in need of food and a shower. Or you’ll be up and fresh and they’ll be busy getting ready for a big night out (we’re not jealous at all).

This is normal, it happens to the best of us. But when it comes to your friend’s birthday, this is the time to make an effort! If they’re far from home, they may not be with their family and could still be making new friends. So, this is when they will need to see a familiar face most. Make sure you book in time in advance if you can. Or at least figure out the time difference and make your best effort (even if means waking up early or delaying bedtime) to have a quick catch-up and let them know you care.

Send them a cute gift

Get your friend’s address as soon as they get to their destination, or even before they leave if you can. This means when it comes to their birthday, you will have it to hand. It may be a little tricky to figure out postal time and cost but I have found a way around this – Etsy! Not only do they have super unique and cute gifts, but you can also filter through the origin country of the suppliers (eBay and other sites also have country specific sites too). So, if your friend is living in Australia, you can find the perfect gift for them from an outlet that’s already over there. It’s also good because they usually give an estimated delivery date so you can plan your purchase. I did this to surprise a friend and she was over the moon with the thoughtful gift.

Write a card

This is another great way to make a friend feel special on their birthday. It’s an opportunity to tell them how important they are to you and also any life updates you haven’t been able to share with them recently. Hand-written cards are the best as they’re more personal, so make the time to pick one out and pen your message. There are some lovely services for sending handwritten birthday cards online which are perfect if you’re running short on time.

It’s a little more difficult when you’re in different places to show your friends that you care about them. That’s why birthdays are an important time to remind them that even though you haven’t seen each other in a while, you’re still there and always will be.

How To Throw The Perfect Party

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Something I really look forward to during the festive season is the parties. The work dos with fun activities, dinner parties with friends, not to mention News Year’s Eve! There’s something about sharing jokes over a few glasses of wine and getting down on the dance floor with old friends and new that makes me feel alive. I also love to host my own, and over the years I have discovered a few tips and tricks that turn a good party into a great one! If you’re planning a shindig, then keep reading for ideas on how to make your event one to remember.

Invites

Firstly, everyone loves receiving something special in the post. Secondly, nothing sets the tone and gets people pumped for a party like a chic invitation! So, if you’ve got the time, get some heavy card and gold or silver pens from a stationer and get crafting. They really don’t have to be too fussy, just pop in the details of the location, date and time and draw on some holly for Christmas, or hearts for Valentine’s Day, etc., and you’re away. If you are pushed for time, there are tons of online services where you can design, print and send invites at the touch of a button.

Social

I don’t know about you but I would probably miss half the events I’m invited to if it weren’t for Facebook! Therefore, in addition to paper invitations, you should create an event page with a relevant image and invite everyone you’ve put down on your guest list. You can also use social media to get people excited before the event. Give people little snippets of information in the run up, post photos of the venue and outfit ideas, etc. Do remember to keep it a private event – you don’t want the whole world turning up!

Theme

As you can probably imagine, I love fancy dress. If you’re a big fan too but are struggling to come up with a concept, there are some fantastic party theme ideas online. We went to a Great Gatsby do the other weekend and it was fabulous! However, as Mike always reminds me, there are lots of people who aren’t so keen. If you decide not to go for a costume party, it’s worth remembering that most people still love an opportunity to dress up a little bit. Setting the dress code to smart/casual gives everyone the chance to put on their glad rags without worrying about going over the top.

Lighting

Make sure it’s not too bright; nothing kills the atmosphere like strip lighting! Equally, going too dark can be unsettling, so you’ll want to be somewhere in the middle. My go-to for any evening event is string/fairy lights – they are sparkly and pretty, and make any location feel special, whether you’re outdoors or indoors. If it’s a daytime event, although the natural light may be beautiful, be sure to keep a few lamps at the ready in case it’s overcast and gloomy.

Decorations

A great party needs a great environment and this applies whatever the theme or nature of the event. If you have tables, they should always have cloths and be styled (I like a shabby-chic table setting, personally). Little details go a long way with decorations; for example, adding ribbons to folding chairs which match your colour scheme will tie everything together beautifully. Also, my policy with any party is that there is never enough glitter.

Music

I cannot stress how important a good playlist is to the success of a party. The right songs will fill the dance floor, and people are, in my opinion, at their happiest when they are so caught up in the music they get lost in the movement. To keep things fresh and exciting, make sure you have a mix of genres and throw in a generous handful of cheesy tunes. You’ll be surprised who you find shaking it to MC Hammer!

Relax

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that your guests have an incredible night. But don’t forget to relax and enjoy all your hard work too! People will have the best time if their host is.

Please comment with any other tips or stories you have. I always love reading them. And enjoy all your festive parties this year!

5 Top Tips For A Super Organised Christmas

Beautiful Christmas Tree

As I was enjoying a local firework display this weekend, I felt a sudden surge of excitement despite the freezing temperatures. As much as I love fireworks and sparklers, the end of Bonfire Night means that I can FINALLY get excited about Christmas!

Anyone who knows me will know I am a huge fan of the festive period, so keeping my enthusiasm at bay for this long is usually a challenge to say the least! As soon as I start seeing those Christmas ads on TV and chocolate advent calendars in the shops, I know it’s time to start preparing!

Whilst it might be a bit too early to buy the turkey, there are still lots of things I do to prepare myself ahead of time. I usually go over the top on food, decorations and presents, so I’m always glad to have started planning in early November. Then when it gets to mid-December and my social calendar is jam-packed with fun festive activities, I don’t feel stressed about my Christmas To Do list!

I thought it might be useful to share my top Christmas prep tips for the super-organised amongst you. These are all the things you can do in advance to free up more time later, because really, it’s never too early to start planning for Christmas – is it?!
Decide on Your Plans for The Day

One very basic thing you can do now is to decide on your plans for Christmas Day & Boxing Day. If you’re going to be hosting then make sure you have enough dining space, chairs, crockery, and anything else you might need, so that you can buy or borrow any extras ahead of time. And if you’re not going to be at home this year, then you can make the appropriate travel arrangements ahead of time, particularly if you need to book flights or trains.

Set Your Gift Budgets
I have a history of getting a little overexcited when it comes to buying presents for my nearest and dearest, which has cost me substantial sums of money and many sleepless nights come January. These days I have to set myself a budget to make sure I don’t overspend. There are tonnes of ways you can do this, and in the past, I have used the Christmas Money Planner from the Monday Advice Service to help me figure out my budget breakdown!

Update Your Christmas Card List and Shop for Cards

I like to try and keep on top of my address book all year around, but inevitably it often falls low down my list of priorities. I keep a Christmas card list document on my laptop, so I’ll usually spend an hour or so checking through all the names and addresses to make sure it’s all up to date, as well as adding any new ones.

I also buy my Christmas cards early on so I have more options to choose from. Personally, I like to take this opportunity to support a charity close to my heart, so this year I’ll be buying these cancer charity Christmas cards to send to my loved ones!

Start Shopping
I like to get my shopping done as early as possible. Not only does this mean you can spread the cost over 2 or even 3 months, but it means you can make the most of any early flash sales. I will definitely be checking out the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this year to make my money go further!

Check your Christmas Decorations
There’s nothing worse than buying your tree and bringing it home ready to decorate, only to find your box of baubles has smashed, or even worse – you’ve spent ages untangling all those fairy lights and half of them don’t work. If you’re like me, then decorating your tree is serious business, and the earlier you shop for decorations, the more choice you’ll have! I like to spend a lot of time researching Christmas tree ideas to visualise how my tree will look.

I hope these tips will help you kick off your super organised Christmas, so you can have a stress-free festive season!