Star Wars: A New Hope Junior Novel has just been released in time for Star Wars 40th anniversary.

According to my son it is ‘brilliant , really good, makes you not want to put it down!’

I have to say it makes me feel extremely old to realise that Star Wars is 40 years old.

I was just 6 when it first came out and probably a little young to go and see it at the cinema, so I didn’t actually see it for a number of years. I did however spend endless break times at school being Luke Sky Walker and having stick fights with Darth Vader. And oh how I longed to look like Princess Leia and begged my mum to do my hair like hers. Once I discovered the gorgeous good looks of Harrison Ford I was even more smitten with Star Wars.

My OH adores the films and could not wait to introduce my son to them. We bought him a collection of the movie one year for Christmas and he literally watched one a day till he was done.

It is amazing to think how Star Wars has lasted in terms of popularity and how many fresh audiences it has reached.

I guess it has just been too good not to pass on!

The books are great, so engaging and well written and are aimed at 8+.

The atlas is just fantastic and my  son was completely enthralled with it and has shown it to everyone!

My daughter has never seen a Star Wars movie… she’s more into Disney and comedies about dogs BUT she is a massive reader and she was just too tempted by this books. And…she loved them and is now hugely keen to see the films.

How fabulous is that! A brilliant way to introduce a new genre and an absolute Classic to an unwilling 9 year old.

 

So how would you like to win this fabulous collection of Star Wars books to celebrate their 40th anniversary?

The prize includes:
Star Wars: A New Hope Junior Novel
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Junior Novel
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Junior Novel
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Junior Novel
Galactic Atlas
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Wishing you the best of luck. May the prize winning force be with you!

Blog post sponsored by Egmont UK

 

Save

Save

Save

Follow:

I love a nice bathroom.

I think it so important to have a bathroom that really works for you in terms of ease of cleaning, storage, practicality and design. It’s a room you will all use dayy in day out and of course your guests will too. It is also a room you wouldn’t change regularly so making it as you want it from the start is a must.

But how do we achieve that beautiful bathroom on a budget?

Here are my top tips:

Colour it up

Bathroom suites and colour have been a no-no for a while now but that doesn’t mean there should be no colour in the bathroom. Turquoise towels, a bathroom mat in candy stripes or a lovely lime coloured print on the wall can all add a real zing to a bathroom. There is no need to be afraid of colour or personality. A bathroom does not have to be sterile.

Think energy saving

Do choose a bathroom suite that has energy efficient products and is kind to the environment, this will save you money in the long run. Over at Twyford Bathrooms you can find the lowest flushing volume toilets available in the UK. They also have a water saving taps and mixes which are great for the pocket and eco-friendly too.

 

beautiful bathroom on a budget

 

Regular cleaning

Cleaning might sound a bit dull but it an important part of preventing limescale and substance build up that ages and spoils bathrooms. Bodycare products and soaps can  leave behind a lot of residue and this need regularly cleaning away.

 

Little extras

Little extras such as fresh, co-ordinating towels, a fragrant candle, a pretty soap dispenser and a bottle of air freshener go a long way to making your bathroom on a budget look beautiful without breaking the bank. We have recently started adding a few little air plants into our bathroom too and these look very stylish and break up the white. Gorgeous.

It’s all in the detail.

 

Storage

Storage is important, nobody wants to see your cotton buds out on the surface or your feminine hygiene products. A great storage cabinet and a few wicker baskets work brilliantly to scoop up the mess and make your bathroom look serene. In a small space shelves with baskets add height and interest without taking up floor space.

 

 

Ventilation

We all want our bathrooms to smell fresh and be aired and ventilation is important. If you don’t have a ventilation system in your bathroom and are trying to save money then just open up the windows on a daily basis and let the air in. It really works wonders.

 

Space

It is well worth getting some advice on utilising bathroom space before settling on a design

in many bathrooms, moving a radiator or boiler, or re-hanging a door, can make a real difference too. Bathroom suites are a lot more flexible these days, with slimline designs and clever new fittings to help you do more in less space. Measure your room, check what’s available and you may well be surprised

Hope these tips help you create a beautiful bathroom on a budget that you will be proud of.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Follow:

Did you know that Wednesday May 24th is apparently the busiest and most productive day of the year ?

We have summer holidays to book, hay fever in full force and 2 bank holidays to contend with – it is certainly a busy month!

 

The light-hearted formula for multi-tasking day has been developed by Mike Gardner, a time management advisor for Nature’s Finest, the UK’s no.1 potted fruit brand. He has predicted the most productive day of the year based on factors including sickness, weather, workload, and motivation. His equation suggests the 24th May is when  ‘to-do lists peak in conjunction with motivation and drive to complete tasks.’

Oh I do love days where it all comes together don’t you?

I am a huge multitasker and a very productive person so  I was so exited to be asked to share my top multi-tasking tips with you by Nature’s Finest.

Here are my top 10.:

  1. I write a to do list every day, this way I can see jobs that naturally fall together and clump them accordingly. For example if I have to go buy milk I will post my letters and drop off the dry cleaning on the same trip. If I have 3 phone calls to make I will make them together, perhaps taking the phone into the garden and having a coffee at the same time. Clumping tasks really helps get them done efficiently.
  2. On my to do list I allot time slots to my tasks. This prevents them taking all day and keeps me focussed. Some naturally overlap.  I can do my daily Instagram whilst my YouTube video uploads for example…or I can photograph  all my review products at the same time whilst my good camera is set up.
  3. Waiting time is perfect for multi tasking. I use time waiting to answer email, update my social media and sometimes to write my shopping list or meal plan!
  4. I think it is important to be fit and healthy and it certainly aids productivity. An example of this could be scheduling phone calls as you walk  – a great way to catch up with family and friends whilst getting some exercise.
  5. Setting up an auto text response is also really useful for me. I get a lot of emails asking the same questions and being able to send a speedy pre-written reply saves me so much time. I check my emails once every 2 hours so I can complete all my email tasks at once and don’t keep jumping from tab to tab on my computer. I always combine this with a coffee or water break to to ensure I keep hydrated.
  6.  In order to truly multi-task concentration is key. It is all very well trying to do multiple tasks at once but if you take on more than you have planned it will reach a tipping point. I keep a notebook and pen by my side as I work and if something else comes to mind, unrelated to what I am working on, I simply note it down and come back to it later. This way I don’t lose the thought but it also doesn’t pull me off track.
  7. Thinking ahead is a useful skill when you are busy and  really helps you stay organised. At the start of each month I consider who has a birthday/celebration/anniversary by checking my diary. I then do just one present and card buying trip. I wrap and write all of them in one session and then mark in my diary when to post/deliver. Buying for one at the same time as another saves me so much time! This principle can work for lots of things.
  8. Don’t multi-task if you are doing something new or need to fully concentrate. Multi-tasking is best for routine, straightforward, familiar tasks.
  9. Delegate! Sometimes I realise I am multi tasking and stressed because I am trying to do everything myself. Asking one of your kids to fetch the laundry down as you make tea means you are problem less likely to burn it (and teaches them a lot about independence skills too.)
  10. Choosing compatible, complimentary tasks is important. For example, I can craft and listen to my child recite her tables as these are distinctly different tasks for my brain i.e. practical and cerebral, but I cannot write an email talk on the phone as both are about communication and I get confused.

The above are multi-tasking tips that  work for me but we are all different and I think knowing what we can handle and what works for individuals is key to multi tasking effectively and with minimal stress. I would be so interested to hear your tips, so please do leave them in the comments below.

Nature’s Finest  are championing National Multi-tasking Day throughout their social channels so do pay them a visit and find out what others are sharing too

Twitter: @NatFinestFruit

Facebook: @NaturesFinestUK

Instagram: @naturesfinestfruit

 

 

collaborative post

Save

Save

Follow:

Summer is a time for your kids to get some good time with the sun. Your garden will play the perfect host for these types of events, so it needs to be ready. If you have been scaling back on the cleaning out there, now might be a good time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

garden ready for the kids

 

You can make the place great for kids by:

Reviving it

If you have let your garden go, now would be the ideal time to try and get it back. Stet with clearing all the junk you threw in there when the kids were in school and keep it where it needs to be. If the place is overgrown with weeds, get a slasher and go to work. If it’s dusty, hose it down and get rid of the stuffy air. For good measure, paint and spruce the benches in the areas kids are going to want to stay. If you would like to hire a trade to come and help you then I would recommend getting a few quotes and looking at the general cost. If you would like to see a few price estimates then priceyourjob.co.uk could provide a good insight.

 

Installing outdoor play stations

Kids like to jump around over the summer, so make that easy for them. Clear a small patch at the corner for football practice, even if it means that the only thing they can do over there is juggle the ball. If you can, install trampolines right in the middle of the garden and find a vantage point from where to keep an eye out on the kids as they play.

Making it safe

Kids are always running around, so you need to make sure that the places they play in are safe. Get rid of any solid items from the playing spaces and examine the garden for pointy things that might harm them. If you had stowed away some wood for barbecue, you need to put it where it needs to be. Always be wary of accidents and make the area as child friendly as possible. Clear out as much space as you can for the purposes of aeration.

 

feature post

Save

Save

Follow:

Whitestep is a company specialising in cool and innovative baby and children’s products. They have recently undertaken some research around parenting expectations and they have found that 80% of British adults underestimate the cost of raising a child under five.

I am not at all surprised.

I would most definitely have fallen into this category.  I had no clue what impact having a baby would have on my finances. I never went back to work which of course cost us a great deal! And really  everything cost more than I expected it too. I learned about baby budgeting  through experience rather than pre-planning!

I certainly got through a couple of prams!

I never used any paid for child care but I have lots of friends who did and they were truly shocked at how much it cost them.

And what about savings? As soon as my two were born I started worrying about how on earth I would pay for them to go to uni. (9k per child per year!!!) I think we need to move to Germany.

I think the one thing I really underestimated was activities. My kids did so many activities until the day I sat down and worked out quite what I was spending on them. Then we dropped a few! Activity costs can soon mount up if you don’t keep a tally.

Spending on equipment and kitting the nursery out could also have cost me a fortune especially if I had followed the advice of the endless magazines I bought. But we were sensible and we were also very lucky had a lot of help from family.

What about you? Did you find raising a child under five WAY more expensive than you anticipated?  Whitestep decided to create a quiz-style questionnaire to see how your answers about parental expectations compare to the actual results (shown at the end of the quiz.)

You must pop over and have a go at this its enlightening!

 

 

collaborative post

 

Save

Save

Follow: