My Winter Decorating Tips

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

There’s a long winter ahead and the change of seasons is a great time to change up your décor, so here are some tips for seasonal styles to make your home comfortable and easy on the eyes.

Warm and Cosy

I find that designing a room around warmth is practical as well as appealing. As the winter chill sets in families and guests will naturally draw closer together, so instead of letting half of an open-plan room go unused, draw your furniture together around a focal point of the room like a fireplace or television.

You can also keep blankets around, draped over furniture to provide a nice old world vibe but ready for duty should you need to wrap up warm. Even things that just create an image of warmth can help keep the cold at bay—pillows always liven up a room, and ones covered in creamy faux fur go well with any look or colour scheme, so they make a great accent during the colder months.

Use Colour and Light

Speaking of warmth, one of the best ways to create a cosy, comfortable atmosphere is with warm colours. Dark reds, browns, and oranges can create a feeling of heat even when there’s a blizzard outside, so use them where you can. This means wooden furniture fits quite well into winter décor. They also have the advantage of matching well with the gold, brighter reds, and dark greens of festive decorations if you get your house gussied up for Christmas, so you can use them without fear of any clashes.

These warm colours can even last beyond the season if they’re used in the right places and ways. An overabundance of dark or reddish colours can be a little cloying in hotter weather, but if you use them in a room that gets plenty of sunlight this will open up the room and diminish that effect.

I also find that offsetting these tones with a few cooler colours like whites and silvers can keep a room feeling open without ruining the warm atmosphere for winter. You can get a wide variety of silver Georg Jensen accessories from Skandium to match any look for your home.

If you bear all this in mind your home will be ready for winter, whether that means holiday soirees or quiet nights in with the family.

Christmas shopping for the Man in your life? Hopefully my gift guide will help you.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016


I don't know about you Guys but the Men in my Family are far harder to shop for than the Ladies. Between my Husband and Dad, I am always getting stressed out about what to buy them.

So to help you - and myself - I asked them for ideas for a gift guide and included a few of my own.

I hope it helps!


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Grooming essentials.

Braun Multi Groomer. Shave, trim & style. This all in one grooming device offers not only an extra wide shaver head with flexible SmartFoil, for a smooth and clean shave in few strokes. It also doubles up as a trimmer with three attachments for ultimate versatility. It is also 100% waterproof for in-shower use and the powerful battery will easily provide 30 mins of cordless shaving/trimming

Making it easy to create the perfect goatee, sport stylish stubble or a clean shave, the Braun Multi Groomer 3-in-1 system allows you to trim, style and shave all with one product.


Available at www.Braun.com for £69.99

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A stylish watch.

My Husband has secretly had his eye on this gorgeous Michael Kors stainless steel Jetmaster Chronograph Watch. However with an RRP of £279 I thought it was way out of budget.

That was until I discovered Michael Kors at Love the Sales! Within moments I found the same watch priced at £167!

No complaining at that price, maybe Santa will grant his wish this year after all!

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A new camera.

Check out the LUMIX TZ100. From the first LUMIX TZ camera in 2006, a lot has changed to get to the new LUMIX TZ100. Known to be the Panasonic Travel Camera of choice for wanderlusters, capturing beautiful images from around the world, the new LUMIX TZ100 is the most advanced yet. Boasting a combination of innovative features like post focus, which actually allows you to adjust the focus-points of your images after you've taken the picture, it truly lets you capture those unforgettable travel moments in incredible detail. 

Other features include:
20.1 megapixels
Optical zoom: 10x
3" / 76.2 mm LCD touchscreen
Built-in WiFi
4k recording

*Tip from me*
If you have asked Santa for a camera like this, don't forget to remind him that you will also need a high performance memory card, as they determine how fast an image is saved and uploaded. If you're taking HD videos and high resolution images then it's best to invest in a good memory card too.

Available for £549 from www.panasonic.com


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Jockey Everyday Pyjama

With a traditional button up jacket, featuring a collar and pocket, this red and blue check Jockey 100% cotton pyjama set is both traditional and functional. The trousers are a relaxed fit, made for comfort with an elasticated waist and buttoned fly.

Completely crafted out of fine quality pure cotton, this set would be perfect for old and young alike.
Made from 100% soft cotton and completely machine washable, they are easy to care for, stylish and comfortable. A great gift idea this Christmas.
100% cotton to machine washable.
Priced at £44
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Their favourite aftershave.

For my Husband it is HUGO BOSS - BOSS Bottled Intense.


Available in EDT 100ml, for £63.50 at The Fragrance Shop, BOSS BOTTLED is the fragrance for the stylish Man of Today.

An updated version of the classic BOSS BOTTLED, BOSS BOTTLED. INTENSE is brimming with lovely spicey and wood scents. The overall effect is a lovely fragrance that isn't sweet, very luxurious, and classically masculine.



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Some stylish new shoes.

My Husband has these Chester leather ankle boots from Chatham marine and he absolutely loves them.

A boot shape with the classic brogue style these Chester boots are made from premium burgundy leather, feature a padded collar, pebble leather heel and classic brogue detail.

Available in sizes 6 all the way to 15 and priced at £79.99 from www.chathammarine.co.uk

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Their favourite drink?





Cockburn’s Special Reserve port.

An integral part of Christmas, this port is the perfect tipple for the festive season. One of our Family traditions for many years has been an indulgent cheese board complete with a glass or 3 of Cockburns Speacial Reserve on Christmas Even. We even leave a glass for Santa - if there is any left!

Introduced back in 1969, Cockburn’s Special Reserve was so ground breaking that it created a whole new Port category and has since been the drink of choice for families and friends toasting those special moment. 


It's unique flavour, with notes of strawberry and plum, comes from being matured in oak casks, which in turns gives it the full bodied dry finish which made it the benchmark for all Reserve Ports.

Available from Waitrose, Tesco, Morrison’s. RRP £12.00 for 75cl


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Grant’s Family Reserve Whisky

It's a classic for a reason! With over five generations of expertise, this blend is crafted in three types of wood to make it triple good. Grant’s Family Reserve is Scotland’s oldest family run blend, which will keep you coming back for more with it's smooth, Rich, and Mellow taste.

Whether he enjoys his whisky neat, on the rocks or with a mixer, he will love Grants.

The Grant’s Family Reserve Whisky (70cl) is priced from £17.19

Learn more at www.grantswhisky.com


*Did you know?*
William Grant & Sons has been honoured as 'Distiller of the Year' by the prestigious 'International Wine & Spirit Competition' and the 'International Spirits Challenge' ten times over the past 15 years

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Happy shopping!

*Disclaimer - some items in this guide were sent for me to consider featuring. However all opinion is my own.

Family time is so precious.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Something we all know but sometimes need reminding to bring to the forefront of our thoughts, is that spending time with Family is very precious and something often taken for granted.

This year alone there have been several Family health scares, just last week while I was laying out her School uniform in her bedroom, Liv climbed onto the toilet cistern and fell from standing onto the tile floor and bath. She couldn't breathe, turned blue and passed out in my arms. 


I can honestly say I have never been more terrified in all of my life. An ambulance ride and 48 hours concussion watch later, she was so very lucky to be given the all clear but my goodness do things like that make you think about how your while world can be turned upside down in a split second.

That's why we have decided that this year Christmas is about spending as much time having fun with Family as possible, because let's face it, all that is left when we are gone are memories.

Speaking of which, on a happier note a large number of us enjoyed a fantastic Family holiday at Haven this Summer.

Back in August myself, my Husband, Liv, my Parents, Mother in Law, Brother & Sister in Law and 5 Nieces and Nephews all headed off for a week of Family fun.

And boy did we!


During the day we enjoyed plenty of fun activities like swimming and beach days.






We also managed to squeeze in some go carting, Mini golf and pedalos - which were all somehow turned in to a competition between my Husband and Brother in Law!

 Thankfully even they couldn't do that with the lovely nature walks.



While at night we took full advantage of the on site arcades, parties, fancy dress, shows, meeting the characters, Bingo for the Adults and even enjoyed a fabulous Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime.

In fact we enjoyed it that much that we have decided to do the same again for 2017!

As much as we loved the Haven we went to this year, we have decided to look around for another site. We all agreed that our favourite free activity was definitely the nature walks, so with that in mind we started to research and discovered that Haven Holidays have put together a handy guide showing where to spot some of the UK’s rarest wildlife From brazen birds and beautiful butterflies, to charming reptiles and magnificent mammals. I honestly didn't know that there are countless rare animals living right here on UK shores!

The favourite so far is Devon Cliffs in Exmouth where the magnificent basking sharks can be spotted. Reaching up to 12m in length they are quite large and have always fascinated me. With their huge mouths, they have quite an intimidating appearance, however they are peaceful plankton eating sharks so we are much safe around them.

How exciting would it be to see them in person!

If you have any recommendations, please let me know where in the comments below.

Mens fashion - Christmas gift ideas.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

This year instead of looking around for gifts that my Husband will like and hoping for the best, I have just asked him to show me some things he likes so that I can choose the final gift myself.

It is so much easier and he is so specific and picky when it comes to Mens fashion and shoes that I would rather him have what he wants than something that will rot at the back of his wardrobe.

So 3 of the things on his list when together to make an outfit well so I thought I would get them and not be able to get anything else judging by the prices! After some shopping around though I found all three items on sale on a site called stand out.


These Lacoste trainers are reduced from £69.95 to £58.95 

These charcoal Levi jeans are reduced from £64.95 to £44.95

Finally this gorgeous Tommy Hilfiger cable knit jumper is reduced from £109.95 to £92.95


That is a total saving of £88 on one outfit! I will definitely be bookmarking this site for future purchases and buying myself a little treat too! 

My places to visit wish list.

Hands up how many of you have been to Ireland?
A lot I bet! It is one of the places to visit on my wish list as I find the views and scenery absolutely breathtaking, don't you agree?







I think I have narrowed it down to Dublin now, it's beautiful historic buildings like Dublin Castle - dating to the 13th century, and St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191 are right at the top of the to do list!

Then there is St Stephen’s Green, Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo too. Bustling, shopping on Grafton Street and to listen to some of the famed buskers. even Hubby would be happy with tours available at the Guinness Storehouse and Old Jameson Distillery, with a sample or two of course - it would be rude not to!

While I have been researching, I have came across this information about the most dangerous drives in Ireland.

I also discovered that in a recent poll, while Dublin has so much to offer to tourists, it has also been voted the County with the most dangerous roads. Check out the infographic below for more details.


It won't put us off from visiting but obviously this is why the correct car insurance is very important, especially while away on trips.

Having had personal experience of needing to use car insurance while on holiday, I can't advise you strongly enough to make sure you are fully covered.

Where do you most want to visit?

My Christmas wish list!

Apparently - according to my Family and Friends - I am THE hardest person to buy gifts for because I never, and I mean never have anything to ask for.

While I absolutely love buying things for other people and hate asking what they want - where is the fun in handing over a gift the other person has chosen?!

People used to buy me gift cards but now they have cottoned on to the fact that I spend them on other people or the house so we are back to them asking what I would like *sigh*

So, this year I have spent weeks trying to come up with ideas.

I have come up with the following:

1) Some new perfume - you can never have enough right?!

2) A new case for storing my make up (my last one broke)

3) Some nice jumpers 

4) A new case for my iPad mini as the one I currently have is on it's last legs.

My lovely Husband always manages to pull off something amazing (that I didn't even know I wanted!)

After almost 10 years years together, I don't think there is one year that I haven't had a piece of beautiful jewellery for Christmas, even some stunning vintage jewellery

Last year he surprised me with an absolutely stunning half carat solitaire Tanzanite ring in 18ct white gold - I was literally in shock for days!

In fact I really hope he doesn't find this list as he does a far better job on his own! 


5 Great Companies Offering Telecommuting for Full-Time Mums

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

As a full-time mother, your priority is likely to be spending time with your children. With 'mummy-guilt' on the rise and the costs of childcare becoming prohibitively expensive, staying at home is becoming an attractive option. But what if you can't afford not to work?

'Telecommuting' is a popular term for the practice of working in the comfort of your own home. Also known as 'teleworking' and 'remote working', you use your computer, email account and telephone line to earn money without leaving your house.
In busy, industrial cities working from home is far preferable to maneuvering your car through rush hour traffic, arriving at the office stressed and spending hours of the day worrying about the well-being of your children. Usually, all you need to start a telecommuting job is a desktop computer or laptop with a reliable broadband internet connection, a webcam and a headset with earphones and a microphone. Many of the companies offering telecommuting jobs provide full training and if specialist software is needed, they'll usually take care of installing it for you. To find the best telecommuting jobs you can use one of many job search tools like Jobrapido, the easiest way to find jobs in Birmingham, the place where the biggest and most reputable companies in the UK are hiring for telecommuting jobs. Find the complete list below.

1. Amazon
The internet shopping giant often offers 'remote location' jobs, allowing you to work for them even if you don't live near a physical Amazon office or depot.

2. Kaplan
This global education powerhouse offers schooling solutions worldwide and, in these technologically advanced times, also has a number of work-at-home options. If you are a qualified teacher or education specialist, it's worth contacting them. 



3. Apple
One of the world's most recognizable brand names, technology experts Apple employ 'At Home Advisors' to assist their customers with a wide range of queries.

4. Xerox
Originally famous for photocopiers, Xerox now build an extensive range of office hardware. They also pride themselves on their flexible working solutions, including roles in support and product management.

5. WorldTravelHoldings
If travel is your thing, you could be working for WorldTravelHoldings. Wouldn't it be nice to plan vacations from your sofa?

So, no longer do you need to suffer being separated from your children and paying extortionate amounts for childcare. 

Why not look into working from home today?

Comfortable smart wear for Men this Christmas.

Friday, 4 November 2016

With the Christmas season fast approaching, my Husband has yet again started moaning about his uncomfortable trousers.

Honestly, every year it's the same, just the thought of Christmas dinner and he is shifting uncomfortably in his seat!

You see he like to dress smart so wears formal trousers and a shirt or jumper, but for some reason he bloats while he is eating so is very uncomfortable after dinner.

Not only on Christmas day but we have another Christmas day on Boxing day too so double the pain!

I suggested finding some trousers with an elasticated waist but he looked at me like I had grown 2 heads.

So I headed to the internet with the full intention of proving him wrong!

I have to admit it wasn't as easy as I had first thought, site after site was showing older Gentlemen in older looking clothing.

That is when I stumbled upon Chums, their trousers look just like any smart tailored trousers you could find in the high street but with the added comfort of secret elastic in the waistband.


Take a look for yourself!






Not only are they smart and a lovely colour, they are also just £15. I have a strong feeling that once he tries these out he will be looking at buying the other colours too.






I think paired with this lovely half zip sweater (priced at £30) they would make a lovely (and comfortable!) outfit, not just for the festive season either.




So I hope to have a very happy Husband on Christmas day, not only with his new outfit but also his comfort after eating his Christmas dinner!

Halloween 2016 with Poundland.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Every year at this time, we hit the local Poundland for the Halloween party essentials. Of course now you can use the website too and have it delivered to your door like I did.
 
I started with the essentials like plates, bowls, napkins and tablecloth - I LOVE the print this year. I also picked up some matching cupcake cases and decorations and a fab collapsible cardboard cupcake stand too!
 
Next some treats, Liv chose some toffee Ghostbuster popcorn and I selected 2 bags of Swizzels sweets and lollies for the trick or treaters.


 With those party essentials sorted I could move on to the fun bits - DECORATIONS!

There were so many great ideas I really was struggling to stay within budget.

Below Left - "Danger Zombies" sign and Zombie zone, Beware and Crime scene tape, perfect for doors, porches or furniture.
 
Right - this spooky ceramic skull tea light holder is very effective (candle not included)
 

 
This large pose-able spider (below) is Livs favourite. The legs are wired so you can easily hang it from things to scare people! It's even hairy to touch - yuck!
 
 
This light up black glitter owl is my favourite! It comes with batteries so all you need to do is switch it on and you are off to go.
 
 

Halloween just wouldn't be the same without some terrible face painting efforts from your Mother, so dutifully I bought some to try and some  cleansing face wipes  (2 for £1) to easily remove it with afterwards.

 
Now I know this whisk and piping bag aren't exactly Halloween, but I do need them to make my Halloween cupcakes so that's okay isn't it?!
 

For all you need this Halloween visit your nearest Poundland or shop online at www.poundland.co.uk

Halloween haul 2016!

As I'm sure you will all know, a week today is Halloween! We never really participated in any parties or anything until we had Liv, now of course she thinks its fantastic that she gets to dress up and visit the family calling out "trick or treat" at the door with her Cousins.

Every year my Sister in Law and I pool together all the decorations we have collected over the last few years and decorate their house for the Family party!

Here are some of the goodies I have collected this year. Let me know what you do for Halloween.
 
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These lovely pieces all came from the fabulous Aldi. My favourite is this Halloween tinsel wreath, how lovely! It could also be used as a table centrepiece with some of the LED candles below if you are having a party.

As I'm sure you can tell the candles are Led and battery powered, far safer with lots of decorations around and little ones in flowing highly flammable costumes.


Owl cup - £2.99
Pumpkin bag - £2.49
Halloween wreath - £2.99
3 orange LED candles - £2.49
Mask book - £1.99
Monsters activity book - 79p
Glitter witch mask - £1.79
6 battery operated tea lights - £2.49
 

Livs favourite is the drinking cup which she is already using. I'm sure there will be hours of fun colouring in her monster book and making some masks with her Cousins at the Weekend, thank you and Happy Halloween Aldi!
 
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This year Livs costume is from none other than Wilkinsons. She is very excited to be a zombie cheerleader and has been practicing her zombie face for the last week, effective don't you think?
  
 
 
Altogether we received:
3ft light up ghost - £15
Pumpkin drinks jar - £1
Zombie cheerleader outfit - £8
Treat bucket - 50p
Loot bag - £1
Red face paint - £1
Trick or treat bowl - £1.50
"No one leaves" door decoration - £2.50
Skeleton bride - £3
 
I can't wait to see them all in action this weekend! Thank you in particular for the Halloween costume Wilkinsons!
 
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Poundstretcher kindly sent us a package containing some lovely Halloween pieces including a loot bag, loot bucket, battery operated light up skull and some adorable battery operated pumpkin lights. Not to mention lots and lots of Swizzles lollipops to hand out - yummy!

 
In the package we received:
Trick or treat bag - 79p
Swizzles lollies - £1
Light up skull - £1
Pumpkin lights - £2.49
Sweet bucket - 79p
 
Bargain prices at Www.poundstretcher.co.uk
 
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Halloween wouldn't be complete without some yummy Cadburys chocolate right?! We were kindly sent some spooky spiders, ghoulish eggs and not forgetting the Family bags of Heroes miniature bars/bags of buttons.


 

Liv has her sights firmly set on the pink spider, she has already sampled one of the eggs and declared them yummy yummy yummy! 
 
Check out all the different ranges available at www.cadbury.co.uk
 
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Next year I have my eye on adding this amazing Serie noire rug from Modern rugs to the collection. How fabulous is it!? I love it that much, I would definitely leave it down all year round.

(Image copyright Modern rugs


Obviously the first thing that caught my attention was the quirky, modern design, however I was pleased to read that it is made from high quality 100% polypropylene with binding on 2 sides, meaning it will be hard wearing and easy to wipe clean - key with a 5 year old on the rampage! 

The rug measures in at a sizeable 4 foot 5 inches by 6 foot 2 inches and is priced at £219, with free delivery within 7 days, now to get the Husband on board!

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Happy Halloween from Life with Liv!