30/06/2017

Wedding Outfit Shopping Tips for Families!

As you know I am a big fan of weddings. Ours is a day that still brings me joy whenever I think about it. Attending other people's weddings always brings back happy memories, and makes it easier to create more, as a family.

However, it does mean going shopping for outfits for everyone. The more I do it the easier it is to get the whole family looking great without spending a fortune. To help you to do the same, I have outlined my top tips below.


Check out the larger retailers first
My first tip is to avoid the boutiques. These days, most department stores stock beautiful occasion dresses and formal wear that are not crazy expensive. There is usually plenty of choice. They update their ranges regularly, making it easier for you to stay on trend.
Perhaps, more importantly, you can usually buy everything you need for the whole family under one roof. This is a huge time saver, which is an important consideration when you have a busy family life.
Keeping control of your budget is also easier when you shop in this way. Most large retailers target family buyers. They want to be the first place you think of whenever you need something, so they work hard to keep prices at a reasonable level. Boutiques want you to buy from them regularly too, but economies of scale and the fact you are only going to occasionally need a special outfit makes it hard for them to keep their prices really low. 

Photo credit: SimplyBe

Do not be afraid to ask for a discount
However, that does not mean that you can never find an affordable outfit in an independent boutique store. That is certainly not true. Often, if you ask an independent retailer for a discount they will be able to meet you halfway. Generally speaking, the more you are buying the easier it is for them to offer you a good deal.


Shop in the sales
Of course, if you shop in the sales you will save money. Set up a separate email and sign up for clothing retailer website newsletters. Make sure that you include the smaller retailers when you do this. I say this because, these days, most of them have websites, and market themselves in the same way that the bigger stores do. If you do this you will be notified of most of their sales and special offers. It is also worth signing up for the bigger voucher and coupon sites.
You do not have to read every single email. Just sign in a week or two before you are due to go shopping to see who has sales and offers, so you can focus your shopping efforts. 


Re-work what you have
Updating outfits you already own is another option. Usually taking this approach saves you time as well as money. As you can see here, you do not necessarily have to be able to sew to alter and update items of clothing that you already own.


Collaborative post


 

22/06/2017

Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 - Review

Hubby and I never have too much trouble falling asleep, but he has to get up ridiculously early for work and often sleeps fitfully, waiting for an alarm to wake him. I always wake when he does (no matter how quiet he is) and then try and doze until I have to get up, to get the monkeys ready for school! 

We've had conventional alarm clocks, mostly of the radio variety, but at 4.45 neither of us want to be woken by the radio and neither do we want to risk disturbing the monkeys at that hour! Therefore when I was given the opportunity to review the Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500, I was very pleased to give it a go.

The Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 allows you to wake and rise with a gentle sunrise and sunset, along with aromatherapy (if you wish to). I've often wondered if, in the winter, whether I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), so I'm keen to see if falling asleep and waking to a Lumie Bodyclock will help! Obviously being summer now, I won't know the true effects of whether this helps with my (undiagnosed) SAD until the winter months.
What's in the Box?
Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500
Remote control & cell battery
Adapter
Instruction booklet
Specifications
  • Sunrise/sunset duration: 15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90 minutes
  • Optional beep alarm
  • Dimming bedside lighting
  • Snooze feature
  • Fully dimming display
  • Nightlight feature
  • Security light option
  • Power failure back-up
  • Two chambers for sunset/sunrise aromatherapy oils
  • 7-day alarm
  • Remote control
  • Bulb(s): Warm white LEDs
  • Size (H x W x D): 17 x 23 x 15 cm
  • 3-year warranty
  • Class 1 medical device
  • Weight: 850 g
Using Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500
Set up is easy (if you follow the instruction booklet) which looks thick as it's in multiple languages. Simple plug the adapter into the wall and into the underside of the clock. Put the cell battery into the remote and follow the set up instructions on the display on the clock to set the time. For this you need to use the remote.

The Body clock can be used as a bedside light which has a variable light intensity. To alter it just press the top left button on the remote or the up and down arrows. The display will show the chosen bedside light intensity. We use the Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 as a bedside light each and every day.

Having not read the instruction leaflet fully, it took me a while to realise you could adjust the display light too! Doh! I'm so glad this is possible, as it can be set quite bright (and I did find it too noticeable to begin with). To alter the display light intensity or turn it off press the multifunction button on the middle of the unit (seen in the below photo) or use the arrow left and arrow right buttons on the remote. We tend to leave the display light off or very low.
The Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 can be used with aromatherapy oils to help soothe you to sleep or wake you in the morning. They are easy to add to the chambers. One for sunset and one for sunrise. Just lift the top off the unit and there you will see the aromatherapy chambers. Both are marked with a symbol for which one they are to be used for. The Oils must be mixed with distilled, filtered or deionised water. Remove the chambers from the unit before filling. We've used Lavender Oil for sunset (which is lush) and Orange Oil for sunrise. Before using the aromatherapy setting though, you need to set the alarm.
Setting the alarm is easy. Just decide if you need to use the daily or weekly alarm. The daily option allows you to have a sunrise and optional beep sound alarm at the same time every day. Each time you go to bed just chose this option if you want to use it the next day. 
The weekly alarm means you can chose a different wake time each day independently. 
Following the instructions in the manual, using the remote and with on screen display showing your progress makes this process quite easy, though at first the written instructions look a little daunting! We use the daily alarm (set for 04.45) and just don't activate it when hubby isn't starting work at such an early hour! 

Once the alarm is set you can then follow the instructions to fall sleep to a sunset (display light dims) and wake to a sunrise (display light brightens). Adding in the option of the aromatherapy and beep alarm is optional at this stage too. 

There's even a security mode (to set the light to go on and off when you are away). Now that's cool! The instruction booklet lists what each symbol on the display indicates.

Conclusion
The Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 retails for £160. It's expensive as alarm clocks go but this is no ordinary alarm clock, but a great bit of kit. If you want to fall asleep with a 'gentle hand' (15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90 minute sunset to wind down ready for bed) or wake gently (15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90 minute sunrise to wake you naturally) then this really is worth the money. 
We've loved settling to a gentle waft of Lavender and waking to the smell of Orange but have found it's taken time to get used to all the settings and the functions of the bodyclock. No more fitful sleeping for hubby, waiting for an alarm to go off (or indeed stirring before it sounds, so as not to wake the monkeys)! We've completely done away with our bedside lamp (as this provides all the light we need) and are loving using this product. Do read the instruction booklet and have a few practise runs if you need to. Would I recommend this product? Yes I would. There are other clocks available and spares for the Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 too.

I was gifted this Bodyclock and the oils for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We're going on an adventure





20/06/2017

Family Holidays - Choosing What's Right For You!

When it comes to choosing family holiday's there's a lot to consider. Not least the cost. The budget you have can affect the type of holiday you chose vastly. To date, we've only ever taken the monkeys on UK holiday's. This is largely due to finances but also personal choice. Now they are older though, they would love to fly somewhere and to be honest I'd like some sunshine, with a pool close by! We've not flown since we went on honeymoon and that was ten years ago.

Depending of your needs (and budget), choosing the right holiday needs to take into consideration various factors. These might include the type of accommodation you stay in, whether to hire a car, go on a package holiday, a self catering one, or go all inclusive for example.

I often sway between an all inclusive package holiday with well known travel firms and the lesser known travel companies that specialise in 'build your own' holiday's.

A self catering holiday in a villa, with it's own pool and the use of a hire car for island exploring is probably more suitable for us as a family. With the monkeys being aged 6 and 9, I think fending for ourselves in a villa, where we can eat when we like, dine out, explore and use the pool as we wish, appeals more to our current needs. As much as 'being waited on' sounds fabulous, our first holiday abroad may be more relaxing and less 'alien' to the monkeys if we stay in a villa and go self catering.

Photo credit: Villa Plus

I've been on self catering holiday's before and never found a problem with shopping in local supermarkets for produce. Eating out amongst the locals can be a great learning curve for both adults and children and gives us all an opportunity to see some culture and diversity. We've hired cars before (pre children) and really enjoyed exploring where we've been. Staying in a villa means you're 'home from home' and pretty much on your own in terms of what you do. Most come with barbecues which of course the hubby would use and I just think they offer a more relaxed atmosphere. Of course, they come in different shapes and sizes too! With hotels, a family of four often have to share a 'family room', yet villa's often offer 1-2+ bedrooms, some living space, a bathroom and kitchen.

Choosing a villa can of course also depend on your budget but there are plenty out there that would suit most budgets. Of course choosing where to hire a villa is another factor to consider! We're thinking The Balearic Islands for our first family holiday abroad. Not too far away and oh so pretty. Menorca is my first choice. I visited many years ago with my brother and parents and loved visiting the white washed villages. We went self catering then too!

Photo credit: Villa Plus

I guess we'll keep looking for something for next year and in the mean time get passports for us all. They're not cheap are they! 





 

15/06/2017

Celebrating 70yrs with Marigold

Did you know that Marigold celebrate 70 years this year?! That's 70 years of yellow rubber gloves and other household products to help you clean, cook and much more!
Since being a young girl my Mum and Nan would have a pair of Marigolds for the washing up! We've a dishwasher now (something they've never had) but oh how I should have followed suit for actually washing up and worn gloves (they come in all colours and sizes!) My hands make me feel old! 
Now, Marigold do much more than yellow rubber gloves, there's scourers, all purpose cloths, microfibre cloths, extra tough outdoor gloves and more for a brighter clean! 

I've thought of 5 cleaning tips that may help those hands and make lighter work! 

  1. Clean little and often to keep on top of it.
  2. Use good quality products which will last longer and give a brighter clean.
  3. Always keep a pair of rubber gloves under the sink, they will always come in handy and save those pinkies! 
  4. Use natural things to clean where possible. White vinegar and lemon are said to be good! 
  5. Get someone else to clean for you! 
Joking aside, trustworthy products that you know are good will help to make lighter work of those household chores. 

Looking at this photo below, I need to get my sink gleaming with that white vinegar or lemon and one of these great Marigold products! 
Happy 70th Birthday Marigold. We salute you! 







13/06/2017

Schleich Wonder Woman Figure!

With the release of Wonder Woman in cinemas and good reviews (from what I've heard) I was keen to see the Schleich Wonder Woman Figure! 
This figurine is aimed at ages 5+ and comes boxed. It is not suitable for children under 3 due to a choking hazard with it's small parts. 

Ready for battle with a shield and sword Wonder Woman is hand painted and true to detail. This Schleich model is just £8.99.
An ideal gift for any Wonder Woman fan and a great accompaniment for the new film, she is well made and robust but fairly petit at 5.5 x 3.3 x 7.3 inch (W x D x H). She has on the exact outfit from the film!
The collection can also be added to with other Schleich figures that can be seen here! There are also DC Comics Catwoman, Hawkman and Shazam.

I think she makes a great collectors item! 


07/06/2017

Men's Personalised Watch

Hubby is really difficult to buy for (I think!) He does love watches, trainers and jackets but there are only so many of those one person can have!
Inevitably he does end up with one of those things for Birthday's, Christmas or Anniversary's though.
Last week it was our 10th Wedding Anniversary. He and I went away on a lovely two night break to one of our favourite places and we exchanged gifts. One of the gifts I gave him, I was kindly invited to review on the blog, was an engraved wrist watch. GiftsOnline4U.com are an online gift shop with 4,500+ personalised gifts for all occasions. They create and manufacture 99% of personalised gifts in-house in Lincolnshire. Just up the road from us! 
This particular watch has a Quartz Movement, silver roman numerals on a white face which are surrounded by minute markers and standard numerals. It is made from silver plated alloy with a  black faux leather strap.
There is room on the back for five lines of personalisation, with a limited number of spaces per line for your chosen text. With at least 6 script options to choose from. I chose the Gabrielle script for the message I wanted. A gift card is optional.
The watch looks really smart, the inscription is great and the quality seems fab. It's presented in a good quality box and the order and delivery process went without a hitch. It costs £49.99, with free standard UK delivery.
Hubby is very pleased with the watch. With Father's Day coming up, GiftsOnline4U have a great selection of ideal personalised gifts for Dad. 
How about one of their bottles of wine from their own exclusive collection of personalised alcohol gifts with PEWTER labels?

Or even a fabulous Personalised Men's Pocket Watch? These look like prticularly good gifts for that special Man in your life.
We even got a little surprise in the delivery box with our watch! A little something to say thank you. How sweet is that (pun intended). The monkeys were pleased!
Best I take another look at the website and search for that perfect gift for my own Dad for Father's Day.
Thanks GiftsOnline4U we're very happy with Hubbies Anniversary gift.

I was gifted the watch for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.








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