Remembering Last Christmas

Christmas 2018 is probably the Christmas time I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Every year I get so excited for Christmas. When Summer is officially over, I am then on the countdown for Christmas. I love getting the tree out, the decorations up on the wall, setting up the Christmas lights and I also love organising all the Christmas presents for family and friends too. It's always been my favourite time of year.

Our usual Christmas is spending the day at home with the kids, as a family. Opening presents, visiting my partner's aunty and uncle, before his parents come over, then we just relax for the day. Of course, we have a delicious Sunday lunch too. Although Christmas Day itself is amazing, I always look forward to Boxing Day.

Boxing Day is a day where we as a family head off to my Nain and Taid's house and the whole family is there. There are lots of gift openings and lots of food on a buffet. We normally have some music, play games, have a little drink and just talk away the whole day. But, last Boxing Day will probably be the day I will cherish forever.

It was the last Christmas we spent as a full family together, as my Nain sadly passed away August this year.

My Nain was like me, loved Christmas. She always went overboard with her Christmas lights, tinsels and decorations. In fact, she gave me one of her tinsel Christmas trees a few years ago, I've put it up every year, and I love it. She always looked forward to Christmas, and loved the boxing day's we all had together, she really did cherish family time.

Last boxing day, we did our usual, chilled in the morning, before getting ready to head off out and spend the day in my Nain and Taid's. I was really nervous this time around because I had a gift for my Nain and Taid that meant a lot. It was a canvas photo drawn by someone who merged about 5 photographs together. I went for my Nain and Taid in the middle, their late-parents beside them both and then all the great-grandchildren along the front.

I remember ordering the canvas, and I was so nervous but excited to give it to them. I told my partner that it felt the right time to order a gift like that. A photo of their parents with all the younger children in the family. My Nain and Taid were speechless when they opened their gift. I filmed it, and I am so glad I did, I keep looking back at the video and just seeing their faces is priceless.

The photo now sits nicely on their wall in their dining room, the room you come into as you enter the house.

As always, my Nain brought out lots of different gift bags for us all, and we opened up all of our presents. The kids always loved opening their gifts there, theirs were full of new pyjamas, new clothes, toys, books and stationery.

Afterwards, it was buffet time. From then on it was a very chilled out afternoon. We had a few drinks and played a game called 'Speech Breaker'. If you've never played it before, I can definitely recommend it. The afternoon and evening were full of smiles and laughter.

Although my Nain is not around to celebrate Christmas with us this year, I know she will always be looking down on us and celebrating along with us from up there. This year I have some beautiful personalised baubles that have a photo of my beautiful Nain inside. I knew I wanted to find something simple, nice and special, and I personally think these are just perfect.

- This post is in collaboration with YourSurprise. No payment was involved with this collaboration. We were kindly gifted some items mentioned in this post. However, all image, opinions and words are entirely our own.

This post is linked up with Keep Calm and Carry On Sunday

3 Top Planning Tips For Building A Home Extension

As your family grows and your kids need more space for themselves, you may find that your house
starts to feel cramped. It’s tough when your family outgrows your home and you’re all living on top
of one another because it feels like you don’t have a space where you can really relax. The clutter
starts to take over and before you know it, your house doesn’t feel like a home anymore, so you need
to make some changes. The most obvious thing to do is to move to a bigger place, but that isn’t always
ideal. If the house is close to school and work, and you like the area, you might not want to move away.
But you need to find that extra space, so what do you do? You can have the best of both worlds if you
build an extension on your home. You don’t need to move but you can add the extra rooms that you
need. However, building an extension is no easy task and if you don’t plan properly, there are a lot of
things that could go wrong. If you think that an extension is the right choice for your family, here are a
few tips to help you get it right. 

Decide What The Extension Is For 

It’s important that you have a clear idea of what the extension is for before you start building it. You
can’t just decide that you need more space, that’s too vague. Do you need a new bedroom for one
of the kids, maybe another living area, or maybe a bigger kitchen and a second bathroom? You need
to decide what the extension is for before you do anything else, and make sure that you plan for the
future. For example, if you have a few kids that are near to that age where they will want their own
space, maybe consider building two extra bedrooms instead of one. If you plan for the future, you
only need to do the work once, but if you don’t, you’ll find yourself in the same position a few years
down the line. 

Find The Right Architect 

Once you have decided what kind of extension you want, you need an architect to design it. It’s
important that you find the right architect, which means finding people that have experience designing
buildings in the style that you want. There’s no sense hiring somebody that specializes in modern,
minimalist design if you want a traditional feel. That’s why it’s important that you meet with different
architectural practices and see some examples of their previous work. Finding the right people to
design your new extension is vital because the design is the foundation of everything else. 

Be Accurate With Your Budget 

Building an extension is so expensive, and if you don’t budget accurately, you may run out of money
halfway through. But so many people miss out a lot of small expenses, like fixtures and fittings, that
quickly add up. People also forget to include extra money in the budget to account for mistakes or
unexpected problems, which are going to happen. Make sure that you have a solid budget in place
before you do anything else. 

As long as you take your time during the planning stages and follow these important rules, you can
extend your home without any major disasters. 

Collaborative post.

Finding The Right Tyres in Scotland

Scotland is a place I have always wanted to visit and is currently on my bucket list of things to do and places to visit. For many years it's been a goal to go and visit and travel all around. I personally think it will be a great experience, something to remember. Something that catches my eye with Scotland are the views - they are just amazing. I have seen many videos and many photos, and they're all just breathtaking. 

Not only is Scotland a popular choice for some travelling due to its beautiful sceneries, but Scotland also have some tricky and super busy roads in its local towns. If you drive a car, it's always so important to make sure you keep on top of your car tyres. Car tyres are often neglected as not many people think to check them, but it's essential that you do, especially by keeping an eye on the tread depth. If your tyre tread depth is below the minimum 1.6mm then it's illegal and you could face penalties. It's dangerous to drive your car with car treads below the legal tread depth. 

It's important wherever you travel that you know where to get new tyres from if they are needed. You can buy tyres in Dundee from Fife Autocentre, and the authenticity of the tyre fitter is also essential. Choosing the wrong place for tyres always has its consequences and will only cause trouble later down the line. So it's always good to go to the right place, to begin with. 

Keeping an eye on your car tyres also keeps you safe and will help your car perform to the optimum level. So, whether you are travelling around the country, going for a long ride for the day, or just popping to your local town, always be sure to check your car tyres regularly.

This is a collaborative post. 

Creating a Child-Friendly Garden for 2020

When your little ones start getting old enough to crawl, grab hold of furniture and eventually walk, they will begin to enjoy spending time outside in the garden finally. Having a small area that’s abundant with wildlife is great to stimulate children’s minds and get them interested in the outdoors. Finding a balance between child-friendly and sophisticated design can be quite tricky, but with a bit of planning, you can easily create a space that cultivates a balance between the two.


Having a child-friendly garden doesn’t necessarily mean you have to install a set of swings; however, a bit of compromise will be necessary for kids to enjoy the space. If you’re reluctant to install a full metal-frame swings-set, then a tyre swing could be a cute addition, provided the tree is structurally sound.

If you are happy to invest in larger, more space-consuming features, then you have a number of options to choose from, depending on space:

·         Football goals: You could even get collapsable versions if you’re unwilling to compromise on the condition of your lawn.
·         A treehouse: You don’t even really need a tree for these anymore, a small house on stilts could suffice.
·         Playsets and games: These could be permanently anchored to the ground, or these could be taken indoors when playtime is over.

A wildlife pond

The wildlife ponds of our youth don’t always bring back attractive memories. Usually sectioned off and surrounded by grass, these murky ponds were host to plenty of fish and creepy crawlies. The truth is, any pond you put in your garden is going to be a wildlife pond. You don’t always have to sacrifice appearances for a pond that’s full of pond-dipping fodder. Frogs, newts, and insects will naturally make their way to your pond over time. You can, of course, arrange with a friend who happens to have a pond to pinch some of their wildlife to get your small ecosystem going!

To keep the water relatively clear, the best approach to take is to invest in a filter. These can be found at websites such as and are ideal for getting your pond water see-through enough to spot what’s inside.

Wooden decking

If you have particularly energetic children, then you may be worried about bumps and bruises occurring as a result of falling over during games and running around. If the idea of stone paving makes you wince, then wood could provide a softer alternative. Of course, it’s hard to beat grass when it comes to soft surfaces. Bear in mind with gravel that toddlers and smaller children have a tendency to put small items in their mouth; gravel could fall into this hazard.

Creating a child-friendly garden is all about compromise. You may have to sacrifice some of your personal style preferences in the short term, but they will soon grow out of their desire for trampolines, games of footie, and tendency to dig up your prized flowers.

Essential House Viewing Tips For First Time Buyers

Buying your first home is exciting, but it can be daunting too. As the largest purchase, you’re ever
likely to make, this task is one that deserves a lot of time and thought. Far too many first-time buyers
try to rush the process and settle for properties they’re not entirely happy with. This silly mistake
wastes time and money, resulting in unnecessary stress. Before viewing a potential property, you
must be prepared. Buying a family home is a life-changing experience, after all, and should be
treated as one. With that in mind, here are seven house viewing tips you must know.

Write Down Any Questions
The experience of viewing a house can certainly be overwhelming. Because of this, it pays to make
a list of questions you want to ask before you arrive at the property. If you don’t, you risk forgetting
to ask something important, which could cause problems later. There is no such thing as too many
questions, so write down every one you think of. Even if you don’t end up asking them all, you should
still have the chance to. These questions can be on paper or on your phone.

Look Into The Area
With the internet at your fingertips, there is no excuse for visiting a property without researching it first.
When you arrive at a house, you should already know where the bus stops are, what the schools are
like, and other important information. Learning these facts ahead of the viewing means that you won’t
waste time asking them later. Depending on what you learn from this research, you might decide that
a property isn’t for you before you even attend the viewing. 

Arrive There On Time
When buying a home, first impressions count. After all, the homeowner will make the decision whether
or not they want to sell to you. For this reason, you must make sure that you arrive for the viewing on
time. Leaving the homeowner waiting around isn’t going to reflect well on you. You might also miss
your chance to view the property if there are other appointments shortly after yours. If you think you
might be late, at least take the time to call and let the homeowner know. 

Bring A Friend Along
Although it might seem easier, you should never attend a viewing by yourself. Make sure you always
take a friend or relative with you, or, better still, attend the viewing with your estate agent. Two heads
are better than one because it always helps to bounce ideas off another person and ask for a second
opinion. Viewing a home in pairs is also a much safer choice. Houses might seem like very safe
spaces, but you never know what could happen in a stranger’s home. 

Take Plenty Of Time
When you buy your first home, it’s one of the largest purchases of your life. Because of this, you
shouldn’t allow someone else to rush your decision. Make sure that you take your time during
viewings and be as thorough as you can be. Look in cupboards, check under the sink, and turn on
every tap. Homeowners that have nothing to hide shouldn’t have any problem with your inspection.
If, at any point, you feel pressured or rushed, you must stand your ground or leave. 

Keep Emotions In Check
You should always be able to imagine yourself living in a house before you buy it. However, you
shouldn’t make the decision to buy just because you do. When you view a property with rose-tinted
glasses, you tend to overlook glaringly obvious problems. You’re also more likely to pay than you
necessarily should. This is why you must keep your emotions in check. Don’t allow yourself to fall
in love with a home, or it could ruin your chances of finding the right one.

Visit More Than Once
With so much to think about, covering every point you need to in one viewing is difficult. That is why
you should go back for a second look. It’s important that you view potential properties at least three
times - Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. Houses can look different
at different times of day, especially in big cities and near busy roads. Going back for another look with
either confirm your first thoughts or chance them entirely. 

Viewing a home is an important step to take towards buying it. Hopefully, with the advice above, every
viewing that you attend will be successful.

Collaborative post

Rainbocorns Plush Big Bow Surprise Review

Anything rainbows, sequins, big bows, you name it - my girls love! So when the girls were kindly sent the new Rainbowcorns Plush Big Bow Surprise they were super excited. There are 3 Rainbocorns Big Bow Surprise's to collect: Bobbi the Llama, Bowi the Unicorn and Belle the Flamingo. Each Rainbocorn come in their very own large egg which your child will need to hatch open to reveal their very own Rainbocorn.

Not only is there the flully most adorable Rainbocorn plush, but there are lots of surprises to be found too! 25 surprises to be exact - which is fantastic. From fluffy wristbands, beaded bracelet, unicorn headband, big bows and 3 surprise mini eggs called Bow-Bowcorns, inside! They're super adorable. Each mini egg has a figure and a ring that you can wear. You can also use your Bow-Bowcorns as pencil toppers - how fab is that?! 

Each Rainbocorn comes with their very own big bow which you can on the outside of the egg, you need to detach it from the inside. Also, on the outside of the egg is a sequin heart that you place in your Rainbocorns. Which sequin pattern will you find? My girls found a burger pattern - which they loved.

The Rainbocorn Plushes are just so adorable and they are most definitely going to be a hit this Christmas. Selling at just £39.99 (October price) at Smyths Toys, I personally think it's a reasonable price with everything that is included. Which Rainbocorn will your little one hatch?

- we were kindly gifted these items in return for an honest review

Finding the Right Clothes for All Occasions, All Year

maple leaf illustration

Keeping your wardrobe up to date throughout the year can be overwhelming, and no matter how many clothes
you have, there still never seems to be enough. Nothing ever seems right, and this can affect your preparation
for when the weather twists and turns you on your head. 

But it doesn't have to be such a struggle. Instead of waiting until the last minute to restock the family's wardrobe,
get ahead of the game. There are so many different events and places you'll visit throughout the year that you
need a plan before these things happen. 

Outdoor Fun

Who doesn't love going on adventures whether they are spontaneous or labouriously planned? Getting out into
the great outdoors is a chance for exercise, fresh air, and something different than sitting watching TV.

Whether you love to hike, climb or play, you can ensure the house is full of clothes for whatever the weather is
like outside. In summer, shorts and t-shirts are ideal, and when the weather gets colder, you'll need coats,
jumpers, and jeans to cope with the temperature. Make sure you get the right shoes for the occasion, too. You
don't want to wear your finest flats and come home with them soaked in mud. 

Party Time

Even before celebrating, you're having fun. There's something about getting dressed up in your best clothes
ready for a night of excitement that helps you forget all about the stresses of regular life. But this stress can
rise again when you realise no one has anything to wear to go out. 

Whether it's anniversary parties, date night, or kids' birthday parties, having everyone's wardrobe stocked is
essential. You need to look classy, but not too classy. You also need to be comfortable, so anything too tight is
out of the question. You don't get to celebrate very often nowadays, not like you used to, anyway, so when the
opportunity comes you must take it. 

The Serious Stuff

As much fun as it is getting outside, there are still jobs to go to and school to attend.
While the school uniform is easy enough (despite the rising prices, especially for large families), you've got to
think about you and your spouse, too. 

The clothes will depend on the job, of course. But modest office attire is cheap and easy to find at most budget
shops in the city or even supermarkets if you need something in a pinch. If you need something a little more
casual, consider reimagining your old clothes or shopping at charity shops to give something back while you
get something new to you. 

Ready For Anything

The UK weather is, in a word, unpredictable. We've all had the weather play tricks on us, with the gorgeous sun
emerging from grey and windy mornings and, likewise, caught in a downpour when the weather was crisp and
delicious when you step out the door earlier. Being prepared for the inevitable will save you getting soaked to
the skin or sweltering in your jeans so take advantage of it when you can.

Treasuring Family Memories with Nixplay Seed

I must start this post by saying that I had originally written a completely different post for the review of this amazing product. It was a difficult post to write as it was about my beautiful Nain. But sadly, she passed away before I published the post and it doesn't feel right to publish the post now. This post, however, is all about treasuring your family memories and capturing those precious moments.

Kids grow up too fast, life goes too fast, before we know it the days, weeks, months and years have flown by. The kids don't want as many snuggles on the sofa anymore, they don't want to go for family days out, or visit family as much as they used too and this is why it's so important to be sure that you live for every single moment in life. Capture all those special memories, the birthdays, special occasions and even the random days. Take those selfies, capture those random moments the kids are dancing in the living room.

It's so important to be sure that you capture as many photos as you can throughout your life, especially with your loved ones. It's always lovely to look back on photos throughout the years, and certain photos are even more special and important after a loved one has passed. Many people don't like getting pictures taken, but once you have lost a loved one, you will cherish every single photo.

These days not many people print out photos and I am one of those people. I adore capturing the moments and capturing special memories but I rarely print out any photos. This is where the Nixplay Seed comes in. This smart digital frame is a very modern way of showing your photos. You connect the product to your Wi-Fi and your phone.

There is an app to download on your phone where you can make albums and then choose which album you want to show on your Nixplay Seed. The digital frame has a honeycomb pattern back with a woven power cord to stand it up. The quality is amazing and you are able to choose the style of the slideshow you want.

Having the Nixplay Seed has been great in our home, we have lots of old and new photos being shown and I love that there's a mix. The kids will ask for stories of the photos sometimes and that's a lovely way to bring us all together. Not forgetting special photos of my Nain too.

- I received this product in return for an honest review. However, all words and images are my own.

5 Ways To Drive Safely

Although I haven't passed my driving test yet, I am a person who thinks strongly about safe driving. I think strongly that no one should be behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, or even behind the wheel while texting or on the phone to someone. I am a very anxious person as it is, but I think it's very important to keep to the driving rules when you are actually behind the wheel. If you do not follow the rules then not only are you putting yourself at risk, you are putting other families, children, the elderly and other people at risk too.

Kwik Fit have currently launched a campaign called Driven to Distraction where they have created an interactive quiz where you can see how easily distracted you can be when a mobile phone appears. I have also taken the quiz, and I was shocked by how slow I actually was. The phone and text messages sure did distract. Here were my results:

I thought I'd share five ways to drive safely, there are many other ways too, but here are five:

Silence Your Phone
Mobile phones can easily distract you when you're driving. From texting, phoning or catching up on notifications. When you hear your phone ring or beep, it's tempting to take a look, but from the second you move your head to concentrate on your phone your distraction and concentration on the road becomes less and less which causes you higher risk at causing an accident. 

Don't Speed
Speed limits are there for a reason. You might think you need to somewhere quick, but being a little late somewhere is better than causing an accident on the road. It's so important to keep at the speed limit, there is no point speeding. It's not worth the risk.

Be Alert
If you are feeling tired, stressed or upset, take a break or a nap if needed and don't drive until you feel awake, calmer, and refreshed. When you're behind the wheel, you need to be able to concentrate on what you are doing and have quick reactions if needed. 

Don't Drink & Drive
The last thing you want to do after a night out is to be behind the wheel. Not only are you risking your life, but you're risking other people's lives too. If you know, you are going out for a drink or two or more make sure that you have planned your journeys home by booking a taxi or possibly having somewhere to stay nearby if you have a friend that lives close by. 

Car Maintenance 
It's important to make sure that your car is in good condition and up to date with all car services. Especially if you are planning any long car journeys. It's also a good idea to make sure you check your car over regularly too. 

* This is a collaborative post. 

Sure Fire Supportive Parenting Strategies

There’s nothing worse than seeing those parents at the school gates who are boastful and pushy.
They regale you with their little darlings achievements from running the local cross country event
in a course record time to the fact that their little cherub achieved the highest grade ever in the
most recent maths test. When you see the kids come out of school, your kids are beaming and
full of toothy grins, while their offspring look miserable and tired. You need to find the perfect
balance between being supportive and pushy. Some kids need a little bit of extra oomph to get
them engaging with anything, but turn pushy by trying to live your life through your child and you
build nothing but resentment. Instead, look at these ways to flex your supportive parenting muscles.


As the adult, we can become a little too used to hearing our own voices within the home. Instead
of lecturing your kids, allow them to express their views freely. Listen to your little darling when
they explain that they are having friendship issues at school or that they are struggling with a
topic in lessons. If you don’t you risk your child bottling up their feelings which is not conducive
to their mental health. Instead, you need to help their self confidence to flourish. Suggest hiring
the services of a tutor or encourage them to check out some of the worksheets available from
Cazoom Maths if they are struggling with number, trigonometry or algebra.You might fancy giving
them some extra tablet time to explore educational games and apps. Make sure that you don’t put
too much pressure on them and simply listen before rushing in and trying to rectify a problem.
Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.


If your child is not academically gifted, they will have other talents that you should encourage.
Don’t put pressure on them to get better at maths or English or science. Many parents
dream of their kids becoming lawyers, doctors or financial experts. However, not every child has
an aptitude for this sort of career. Even if they do, they might prefer to explore their artistic, creative
or sporting abilities. If your child shows an interest in a hobby, support them. They might want to try
martial arts, learning a musical instrument or acting. Find them a local club and let them explore their
passions. These hobbies may peter out but they might become something more. Be there and be
supportive. Extracurricular activities will do wonders for your child’s confidence and will help them
in new social situations when meeting new people.


Many families struggle to spend time together in the twenty first century. Social schedules may
mean that you are like ships passing in the night. While this is natural, it’s vital that you make some
time for quality family moments. This might be a movie night every Saturday and having at least three
dinners each week together around the dining room table. Here, you can talk about your days, your
plans and your exciting family holiday for that year. Being together is key to foster your supportive
parenting skills.

Being supportive means being encouraging rather than pushy. Follow this guide and your kids will
appreciate your parenting skills.

Collaborative post