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ukbreakaways competition.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Most people have fond memories of a special place somewhere in the UK. For me it's Devon, the place I spent every Summer holiday as a Child. It's where all of my memories of playing on the beach are, where I learnt to swim, enjoyed Family BBQ's and many more irreplacable memories.

Of course it could be something completely different for you, the place you met your soul mate, got married or the area you grew up in.
What ukbreakaways are asking you to do is share your passion for the UK destination of your choice in a travel related blog post. 

What you could win:

1st prize - £250 cash

2nd prize - £100 of holiday vouchers from ukbreakaways 

3 x runner up prizes of £50 holiday vouchers from ukbreakaways.

You could write a post about the best places to eat, best beaches or top attractions. Just use your insight and creative writing skills to make the judges want to visit your chosen destination.

Here are 3 things you need to do to enter:
  1. Write a travel related blog post (up to 600 words) on the UK destination of your choice. The post must bot have been posted eleswhere and be original. Please make sure you mention ukbreakaways in the post and include a link to the competition page or another relevant page on the site.
  2. Tweet two Blogger friends inviting them to also take part in the competition.
  3. Lastly, to confirm your entry just tweet @UK_Breakaways with the link to your Blog post.
Remember that the winners will be chosen based on the content of their blog post and also making the Judges want to visit their chosen UK destination so make it appealing!

The closing date for entries is 31st August 2014 with winners being notified no later than 6th September 2014.

Please make sure you read the full terms and conditions over on ukbreakaways competition page. 

Posted in association with ukbreakaways.

A bad photographer blames their tools . . .

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

I have learnt a huge lesson this month, and a costly one at that.

It turns out after cursing at my old camera for the last year or so, it wasn't quite as rubbish as I thought it was. Yes it was a few years old so the megapixels weren't as high as they could have been but apart from that it turns out the issue was quite simply ME!

After investing in a brand new Nikon bridge camera and playing around for a few weeks, I have come the conclusion that I'm simply not a natural photographer. In any shape or form. At all. 

My Sister in Law on the other hand has a natural flair with a camera, even if it's on a mobile phone, she has tried to show me how she works but I find you can never really imitate another persons way of working.

I have spent hours looking online and reading all kinds of hints and tips but everything I've found is far too complicated and aimed at professionals.

When this photography tips for amateurs guide dropped into my inbox my heart sank expecting more pages of overly complicated photography terms I don't understand, mixed in with a lot of numbers and symbols like the other "guides" I've seen, making me feel like I'm back in school looking at equations in maths!

As you can see, it is in fact nothing like that at all. It's a simple, straightforward actually helpful guide in simple English! I *may* have made a little woop when I saw it!

The steps are easy for even a complete novice like me to follow, I can't wait to get started with my new piece of kit.

You know the old saying "practice makes perfect"? Well that is about to become my mantra! Watch this space for some super duper amazing photos . . . . . Maybe!

Disclaimer: this guide was sent to me and created by Photobox.

Our first trip to the Royal Welsh Show.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Last week we decided to head out to the Royal Welsh show for the first time. I have to say I wasn't that convinced when my Sister in Law first mentioned it but it turns out I should listen to her more often as we had a great time!

The sun was shining down on us as we spent the day browsing stalls, watched the sheepdog trials, some amazing horse parades, the very talented Equus & Falco and The Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team – The White Helmets.

It also became apparent that Liv is no longer intimidated by animals, she stroked some sheep, donkeys, cows and enormous pigs. She also hugged a goat, milked a pretend cow and made a candle from bees wax - great fun!

About the Royal Welsh Show:

"The role of the modern Royal Welsh Show is a rounded one. As well as its principal function of showcasing the cream of Welsh livestock and the high quality food and drink produced in Wales, it encompasses the wider spectrum of farming and rural life and successfully bridges the gap between town and country.
It provides something to interest everyone through its kaleidoscopic range of activities including forestry, horticulture, crafts, countryside sports, Sports Village and a 12 hour programme of exciting entertainment that continues throughout each of the four days of the event."
We also did a bit of shopping, with so many lovely stalls it would have been rude not too! 

I was particularly proud of my purchases in the Joules sale. I managed to get Liv a Girls Chambry spot shirt  for £12.95, a pair of Girls Chambry spot jeans for £11.95, a creme Broderie dress for £14.95 and some lovely yellow denim shorts for £9.95.

All for just under £50 - major bargain!

I would definitely attend the show again - wearing more comfortable footwear next time!

There is so much we just didn't have time to see, I think to see it all you would need to be there for at least two days. A lot of people seemed to be staying at nearby caravan parks so that's something to bear in mind for next year.

Disclaimer - I was provided with free entry and a Joules voucher in exchange for an honest review, all opinion is my own.

Returning to work after having a Baby.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

After I had Liv I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving her from 8am to 6pm, 5 days a week. The company I had been working for over the last the 6 years had no part time positions available, so sadly I handed in my resignation and started to look for a part time job. 

Eight months later we still hadn't found anything suitable that would even cover the Childcare fees we would have to pay, so we made the decision to try to survive on my Husbands full time wage so that I could be at home with Liv.

I won't lie, it's been a tough time financially but we have managed. Seeing Liv thrive has been worth every single sacrifice and I am so thankfull that I have been able to spend this time teaching her and helping her reach her milestones.

This time next year Liv will be starting nursery so things should be looking up for us on the job search front.

A lot of former colleagues have retrained to enable them to work from home, one Lady I know is now an accountant, I know several freelance writers, a photographer and a Childminder.

I also know a few people that have bought some equipment from somewhere like Capital Hair and Beauty and started up a hair/nail/tanning business.

image: www.freeimages.co.uk

Personally I would rather pay a professional who has set up in their spare room or converted the garage. You get a more personal experience and I like knowing the person you get your treatment from is the one that will benefit from any profit rather than some huge company eating it all up.

It's not often that I get any kind of treatment these days, I usually just buy some wax strips and end up butchering myself! I desperately need to book in for a haircut and maybe even treat myself to some professional leg and eyebrow waxing ready for our holiday. 

Post in collaboration with Capital Hair and Beauty.

Never ending decorating.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Last month we decided to start decorating the hall, on stripping the wallpaper we discovered that we couldn't really do the hall without also doing the stairs and landing. 

All paper stripped, we found the walls underneath were half plastered and uneven so not only did we have to find a wallpaper we liked, we had to buy filler, sand paper and lining paper too.

Once we had chosen our wallpaper we realised the 3 black light shades we have up would not look good with the champagne tones of the wallpaper so I decided to remove the black ribbon and beads, spray the frames cream and recover them with a champagne ribbon, time consuming but worth it.

Now everything is done and ready to start wallpapering, we went to collect the wallpaper and ended up leaving with paint and wallpaper for our bedroom too.

Now my mind has started to wander to the next job. I'm thinking a lick of paint in the dining room, maybe a new table from Fortune Woods and some lovely new frames with some updated family photographs. 

Not a big job right? Now to tell the Husband my plan . . . .

Posted in association with Fortune Woods.

170 sleeps until Christmas!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

I know you all think I'm a bit mad starting shopping for Christmas back in May, but we have so many people to buy for (7 Nieces and Nephews, parents, Aunts, Uncles Friends and their Children), the further I can spread the cost the better as far as I'm concerned.

I have almost finished Livs Christmas and Birthday shopping so I'm starting to look at gifts for other people now.

A good site for quirky Christmas gifts is The Great Gift Company. The first thing I found was added to my own Christmas list!

Being a big champagne lover, I would love one of these Giant champagne flutes that is the size of a bottle of champagne!  Just the one glass then!

My Sister in Law is very crafty, this needlework and sewing box would be perfect for her. 

My Mother in Law is a top baker - see last years Christmas cake below - This I heart cake mould would get used a lot in her kitchen and it's a super cute idea. The mould is kind of a flower shape but when you cut a piece out it is in the shape of a heart!

There are lots of lovely gift ideas. Pop over and let mr know what you find.

Posted in association with The Great Gift Company.

Family cycling.

We are now in July and we still haven't really done anything serious towards our New Years Resolutions - to lose weight and get fitter.
As much fun as we have at the park and soft play etc I think we need to start up something a little serious excercise wise.

You may have read recently that we have bought Liv her first big Girl bike for Christmas, it has been many, many years since I have been out in public on a bike but I think it sounds like a fun Family thing to do together to help all our fitness levels.

Liv will only be three and definitely not able to ride along by herself so I am thinking about getting one of those trailers - for Daddy to pull of course or maybe a trailer bike.
I am hoping Santa might bring me something like this Ladies hard tail mountain bike from Fatbirds. I also love this lovely pink safety helmet with Purple Hearts. It would be perfect for Liv, it comes in a few sizes and the colours match her new bike too.

We will need kitting out with the right clothing and safety items but it will be a small price to pay for all the fun Family time we will have in return!

Posted in association with Fatbirds.

Cirque Du Hilarious family entry giveaway.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

We are very lucky to be off on a family day out to Blackpool later this month to watch the Superstars of slapstick - Cirque Du Hilarious. 

We have heard such great reviews from people who have seen them at holiday camps that I am really excited!

A snapshot from the show.

Learn more about "The funniest show in town" at www.cirqueduhilarious.co.uk

To be in with a chance of winning entry for a Family of four, fill in the Rafflecopter form below - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My dream job.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I would absolutely love to be a Wedding Planner, yes seriously!

I know it wouldn't be the same but I absolutely loved planning our wedding and helping my Sister in Law with hers.

I did absolutely everything I could myself, I made things and hand tied what felt like a million bows, not to save moneybut instead trying to add a little of our personality into every aspect we could.

For exmple the Ladies at our wedding were given handmade (not by us!) wooden Welsh Lovespoons. I then made little tags with our names and the date on and hand tied them to the Lovespoons with a little ribbon. 

Even though we got married 6 years ago, I still have Friends and work colleagues asking my advice or reccomendations because they know how much I researched everything and how much I enjoyed it.

My number one wedding planning tip:

Make a decision about the ceremony as soon as possible

If you both agree on a Church service it is a good idea to try to find a reception venue nearby as not all of your guests will drive. If you can't find anything suitable, you could consider looking at a company like Neptunus and have a marquee at home?

If you decide you don't want a Church wedding, your venue could be further afield as guests dont tend to mind travelling when they will be spending all day and evening in the same place.

Everything else starts to fall into place afterwards, I honestly think the venue influences every decision from there on, right from the dresses and suits to the flower arrangements on the dining tables.

Most of all, be you. It's your day, don't try to please everyone because you can't so please you and your Husband/Wife to be instead!

Posted in association with Neptunus.