SLIDER

ADDING A MODERN TOUCH TO YOUR LIVING ROOM

18 Dec 2017

When it comes to decorating, I have plenty of ideas of what I want to do, but don't always have the time or effort to do anything. Next year this will change. My husband and I have decided to work on adding some personal touches to our house and including some of our own personal style. We both like a minimal look, but with a mix of old and new furniture. We also want to make the space feel more open. I thought that I would share how you could modernise your space a little bit.


PLAY AROUND WITH DIFFERENT WINDOW COVERINGS

It's quite easy to stick with traditional blinds or throw some curtains up in a colour scheme that you like, but you can always change the whole feel of a room using different styles of blinds. If our house was a bit bigger, we would love some interesting blinds. We have some plain white blinds, but you can get some interesting ones from places like Direct Blinds...

HOW OTHER PEOPLE HAVE REACTED TO MY SEIZURES

Having seizures in public can be an embarrassing and also scary experience. Whilst having a seizure, you may not be aware of what is going on, or even remember the seizure so you can become very vulnerable. I'm lucky that I haven't had a seizure when I am completely alone, but I do have some bad experiences to share with you, and how I think that people could be better educated when it comes to the best way to respond and deal with a seizure. I'm going to share two experiences with you where other people haven't understood what epilepsy is, and what you should do during a seizure.


THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH ALLIED FLEET
This post is written from a personal prospective and may not be the same experience other people have had. Please note that I'm talking about experiences I have been through myself and everyone has a different experience. 

OUR WINTER SUN FAMILY TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

14 Dec 2017

Although we feel that Elise is a bit to young to travel abroad and we have been enjoying our UK breaks, particularly Butlins Just for Tots weeks, we do have a list of places we would like to travel to when she is a bit older. We plan to go away for Christmas each year to a sunnier environment and enjoy some all inclusive perks. We will probably wait until Elise is around four years old to travel on a plane as it is already stressful for us with us both having Epilepsy, so we need to be able to get some rest on the plane, especially is it is a long flight. I thought I would share some of the destinations we would like to travel to, particularly in the Winter season.


HOW I ACCEPTED MY NEW DISABLED IDENTITY

10 Dec 2017

Today I want to discuss how I accepted my new disabled identity. I will be talking about my mental health, Epilepsy and other disabilities within this post, so if this is something that doesn't interest you, it would probably be best to stop reading now! Please also treat this as a trigger warning as although I don't go into much detail, I do also talk about a car accident and mental health.


Before the age of 19, I wouldn't have ever really considered myself to have a disability. Even though I suffered from mental health problems throughout my teen years (and now), it was never really thought of as a disability. Then, when I had my car accident at 19 and started having seizures, I still didn't see myself as disabled, or having a disability. To me, there was nothing physically wrong with me, and so I thought it would be unfair to call myself disabled and seek any help with finances as there was no physical evidence to other people of my Epilepsy, unless I was having a seizure. In recent years though, my mind has changed and I now do identify myself as disabled. Here is why...

5 WAYS TO MODERNISE YOUR CHRISTMAS DECOR

7 Dec 2017

When it comes to Christmas Decorations, we all have different styles and ideas for what looks good. Whether you like a cluttered tree full of family memories, or prefer a more minimalist looking tree, we all like to get into the Christmas spirit and create memories that the whole family can enjoy and remember. I personally like more minimal and modern decorations when it comes to Christmas, so I thought I would share with you 10 ideas to modernise your decorating game.

The blog post title is in a diamond in the centre. The background shows christmas decorations including pine cones, bows and baubles.

PASS THE PIGS GIVEAWAY (CLOSED)

1 Dec 2017

It's nearly Christmas and with all the advent competitions/giveaways around you have lots of chances to win some amazing prizes. I thought that I would share a giveaway with you too to get into the spirit of entering all these giveaways. Today you have the chance to win Pass the Pigs original AND Pass the Pigs Party Edition.

ADDING A PERSONAL TOUCH TO YOUR CHILD'S ROOM

30 Nov 2017

We moved into our house nearly four years ago, and in that time we have managed to decorate only one room properly. That room is the smallest room in the house, and is the nursery. We're going to be changing it into a toddler room over Christmas for Elise as we feel it is time for her to move into a toddler bed. Her room is quite basic when it comes to decoration, so I decided to seek some inspiration and see how we could jazz her room up a little bit.


ADD SOME PERSONAL TOUCHES

One thing that we have done with Elise's room is to add some of our own little treasures and memories. Elise has a little pot that holds her hair ties that was made by my husband whilst he was at school. It isn't the most amazing pot, and the face on the front is pretty scary looking, but it's something that is from his own childhood. I have also passed down my favourite rabbit toy from my childhood. It was one of the first toys I had as a child, and I've cherished it ever since. It now stays in Elise's room so that she can play with it. I was hoping she would take to it too, but she's decided on a different toy to be her special one.

5 ESSENTIALS FOR A COSY AUTUMN EVENING

27 Nov 2017

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST

As the days get darker, and the nights get longer, comfort is something that is at the top of my list. In the evening I want to be cuddled up under a blanket with the heating on and a cup of hot chocolate warming up my hands. I want to be a snug as a bug in a rug (does anyone still say this?!). Although it is soon going to be winter, I thought I would share how I have been getting cosy during the autumn as I don't think very much will change going into the winter.


I'm always on the hunt for more blankets and items to keep me cosy in the evening. I like to snuggle up on my own sofa with a good book, or catch up on my favourite youtube channels. This brings me to my first few essentials for a cosy autumn evening.

A GOOD BOOK

A good book is an essential at any time of the year...or day for that matter! I don't read as much as I used to, but this is something I am planning to change. I usually stock up on free books from the kindle store in the lead up to Christmas as I love to read the really cliche Christmas romance novels.  I actually got a few new books for my birthday and I'm going to be making a start of them before I read some more Christmas novels. 

A RELAXING SCENT

I am a huge fan of candles (like every female on the planet it seems), but I've recently started to really enjoy using diffusers as I don't have to worry about having an open flame around Elise. I can put them out of the way and somewhere they won't be knocked. Plus I don't have to worry about making sure to blow them out before leaving the room! We have a nice plug in diffuser downstairs which also helps my Asthma, but in my office I like to use reed diffusers as they scent the whole of the top floor of our house. I usually get them from places like TK Maxx, but I've been lusting over some from Neom for a while. 

A black greyhound lying down on a red blanket

A PET TO CUDDLE WITH

We have a Greyhound, which you wouldn't think were super cuddly because they are so skinny, but you would be surprised. Although Chloe doesn't come on the sofa, and is too big for my lap. she does love lying next to me, or standing with her head resting on my arm rest. It's just nice to have a bit of company too when you are blogging or reading in the evening. Plus they can keep you a little bit warmer if they are small enough to fit on your lap. I feel that Chloe boosts my mood just by being close to me so she is an essential for anytime I'm trying to relax.

A HOT BEVERAGE

I don't drink that many hot drinks, but when I do my favourite is white hot chocolate. I was gutted when Costa decided to discontinue their white hot chocolate as I looked forward to it every winter. I know in the autumn people go crazy for pumpkin spice, but I just can't get on board with this! If I can't have white hot chocolate, a mint or orange hot chocolate is a good replacement. If none of these options are available I'd go for a peppermint tea next and finally resort to a black tea. I like to use an insulated travel mug for my hot drinks even when I'm at home. It's a lot easier to keep a drink contained around a toddler!

ALL THE BLANKETS

I don't think you can ever have too many blankets, and this is the perfect time of year to find the cutest blankets around. I tend to buy mine from the supermarket as they are so cheap. Last year I got a really lovely deer print one from ASDA for around £6, and although that is still going strong, I'll be purchasing another one this year. Just don't tell my husband, who thinks one is enough! I've always though about knitting my own blankets but I just don't have the patience to learn and complete a project like that. I don't have time for all my hobbies now, so adding in another one just wouldn't be wise right now. Perhaps when Elise is a little bit older I will start making clothes and blankets.

These were my 5 very simple essentials for a cosy autumn evening. Autumn and Winter are actually my favourite seasons due to my overheating (Thank you Epilepsy). When everyone else is outside in thick winter coats, I can be seen wearing a t-shirt and sometimes a hat...which makes no sense to most people, but so much sense to me!

SARAH HUGHES
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CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: AGE 5+

24 Nov 2017

Although Elise is only 2, and we will have a more extensive gift guide for the preschool age range, I thought that I would attempt to also show you some amazing products for the 5+ age range. As a bit of a disclaimer, we don't own any of these products as Elise is only 2, but we have heard great things about all of them, and I think that if Elise was a bit older, she would love them.



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HEELYS

I'm going to be completely honest here and say that if it was socially acceptable, I would totally rock a pair of these myself. I have size 2 feet (technically they are more 1.5) so my feet defaintely fit into the size range. I'm tempted to get some for myself from Skate Hut.

HATCHIMALS COLLEGGTIBLES

I've seen so much hype surrounding this toy range and I can see why children might like them. Not only are they cute, but they are also collectable! I have a feeling that by next year Elise may notice toys like this in the shop!

DOBBLE CARD GAME

I got a chance to play this game when I went to BlogOn and think it is a great game. It is a quick fire matching card game that can get a little bit competitive. This would be a great game to play over Christmas with the whole family, and even adults can enjoy playing!

FINGERLINGS PET BABY MONKEY

These have been everywhere lately and are definitely top of lots of little one's Christmas lists. I think these would be great for a slightly younger audience too, but for the full interaction I think school age would be perfect. I know these are very sought after and have gone out of stock in lots of places so you really have to grab them when you get a chance!

TOMY SCREWBALL SCRAMBLE GAME

A little bit of nostalgia here as I remember having one just like this when I was older. I remember that I loved the challenge of completely the little maze (and lots of frustration). I think this would be a toy that your child would go back to time and time again, plus it is timeless and not something that would lose it's appeal after the first play.

These are my top picks for this year. There aren't many on the list, just because this isn't my child's age range. Be sure to come back soon for more in depth gift guides of products we have tested out.


SARAH HUGHES
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BRIO MY FIRST TAKE ALONG SET REVIEW

WE WERE SENT THE BRIO MY FIRST TAKE ALONG SET IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

Elise loves anything that moves, so when we were offered the Brio My First Take Along Set for Elise to try out I knew that she would take to it straight away. She plays with a train set at the childminder and if we take her to a toddler group so I knew she would love having her own at home. Plus with it being a carry along set, it means that we can take it when we go on holiday or to see family in Wales.

This is a title image. The title of the post can be seen inside a black diamond in the sent. There is a photo of Elise playing with the product in the background.

ALL ABOUT THE BRIO MY FIRST TAKE ALONG SET

The Brio My First Take Along Set is suitable for children aged 18 months and above so is perfect for when they are starting to play independently and develop their imagination. The set is in a semi circle case with a handle so it is easy to carry. Elise doesn't have a problem carrying it, although she is a little bit short at the moment! The bright colours mean that your child is engaged with the product straight away, and the added wooden tracks means that your child can explore different materials and textures. The set comes with a wooden train and carriage that attach together with magnets. They fit onto some track lines. When you are not playing with the set, it can all be placed inside the case by lifting the red bit in the middle. We found that Elise could do this herself.

MY CHRISTMAS WISH LIST 2017

22 Nov 2017

I thought that before I share all of my gift guides with you for Christmas this year, I would share some of the items on my wish list. There isn't too much on my wish list this year, mostly because my husband and I have decided just to do stockings for each other this year with a budget of £20. We are going to Butlins for their Christmas Just for Tots week soon, so all our money has gone into that. We would prefer the experience rather than lots of presents. Of course, I still have a little list of things I would like, but I will be saving for them myself as a treat!


There are a total of eight items on my wish list this year, ranging from a book to some lighting and suitcases. I'm going to VidCon in LA next June so I'd love to have some exciting new luggage to take with me. I'd like some studio lighting as I'm going to be making more videos next year.




I love the bright colour of these suitcases, and love that they are hardshell. I like to think that they may protect my belongings a bit better whilst in transit, and I'd like a case for my on board luggage this time so that I can have my electrical items on me, instead of in the hold. 


I see a lot of youtubers using these lights, or at least similar ones so I think they will change my lighting game. I'm lucky to have an office to use for blogging and filming. This means that I won't have to put the lights away every time I use them. I'd like to eventually get a ring light to use, but these would be great as a start. They will also help with photography for my blog in the darker months.


After taking the test to see which house I would be in if I attended Hogwarts, it came up as Ravenclaw. I think this is pretty accurate, and the fact that it put my husband in Slytherin made it even better. I think that I possess many of the traits which would make me a great Ravenclaw, and this book would look amazing on my bookcase!


I love Jack Wills, but I don't always like the price tag! I do find that their clothes last really well and they also wash well. The few items that I do have, I have had for years and they still look brand new. I don't feel like this happens with lots of brands, especially cheaper ones so I do like to invest in my wardrobe as opposed to keep buying pieces from cheaper stores. I plan on doing a wardrobe declutter soon so I may film it to show my very black and grey wardrobe to you all!


I don't wear make up every day, and I have some go to brands that I like to use. Sleek is one of the brands I like for blushers, so I thought I may also like their highlighter. I must admit that I haven't really bothered with highlighter until recently, but it does make a huge difference!


I already have a remote for my big DSLR camera which is very handy, so I would love one that works with my mobile. Especially for travelling solo as I will then be able to place my phone on a tripod and take photos myself. The quality of photos from phones is amazing now, so you don't always need a big camera with you. I love the thought of not having to use a selfie stick and actually being able to take a proper photo.


I haven't tried a White Company Candle before but I've heard great things about them. Plus they just look beautiful. I tend to use candles as decoration so I like them to look nice as well as smell nice. I'd love to try one from White Company, so it's going to stay on my list until I eventually buy one!


I'm pretty good at packing a suitcase, and I like to keep outfits packed together. These storage cubes would change my life and make my suitcase even more organised. I am actually excited at the prospect of using these when I go to LA!

SARAH HUGHES
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RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS WITH OXFAM

20 Nov 2017

Oxfam have started a brand new campaign all about random acts of kindness and how you can spread a positive message about how kindness can make a huge difference. These acts of kindness can be things that you do in your own life, or even through blogging and your online presence. If you can encourage just one person to be kind and take part if Oxfam's campaign for spreading kindness, you can make a huge difference. You don't need to make a huge difference globally, just imagine if you could change just one person's life, or even just make their day by completely just one random act of kindness.


Below, you can see an infographic all about how Oxfam are helping with their #KindnessChangesLives and how your donation can literally change someone's life completely. Oxfam are constantly trying to change people's life one person at a time, and it isn't always about looking at a country, or culture as a whole. They work hard to offer kindness to someone on a personal level, especially to those who wouldn't be able to afford healthcare and basic needs due to the poverty that they live in. They promote development and working at a grassroots level, helping people with the basic things that we take for granted every single day.



Another thing that you probably take for granted is going to school and getting an education. Would you want to offer your help via a small donation every month if I told you that there are 72 million children, many of them girls who will not get a chance to go to school? Education improves lives and makes it possible to have a career and escape poverty. Another way you can help is to gather products together in a shoe box and send them for underprivileged children across the world. This is something that I have done in the past, and it was so nice receiving a hand drawn picture back from the child who received that parcel.

If you want to spread kindness closer to home, you can donate your old clothes and toys. I try to shop in charity shops as much as possible as I know that the money really helps. I tend to buy most of my books in charity shops and then re-donate them once I have finished reading. I have also left books on benches, and on trains for someone else to enjoy. I will never know who will read the book next, but I always hope that it brightens someone's day.

If you are able to, I would encourage you to donate to charity. Did you know that just £1 a day can provide clean water to new mums and babies. This is something that we take for granted when we give birth. We don't have to think about washing after giving birth, and having fresh water to wash our new baby in. Can you imagine having to wash your newborn child in dirty water? A donation of £10 could buy enough safe water for 10 people! 

If you cannot donate at this time, please share the hashtag #KindnessChangesLives to help promote random acts of kindness, and to share your own experience and random acts.


SARAH HUGHES
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MY RECENT WINS (COMPING) #1

18 Nov 2017

One of my hobbies is entering competitions, and over the years I have won some pretty amazing things. This year I haven't done so well with giveaways, and I think this has lots to do with more people making comping their hobby. This means that more people are entering, especially on social media and I've really noticed a difference in the amount of giveaways I am winning. I have won a few items however, so I thought that I would share my recent wins with you.


I'M NOT DRUNK, I'M HAVING A SEIZURE

17 Nov 2017

As my frequent readers and social media followers will know, I have Epilepsy and I like to raise awareness about it. I have so many stories to tell about the consequences of people not knowing enough about Epilepsy, so I thought that I would start telling these stories here on my blog. I'm hoping that they will somehow teach people a little bit more about Epilepsy, and also hope that some people who also have Epilepsy can relate to what I'm talking about in some way.

Today's post is all about the times I have been kicked out of clubs for being "drunk" when in reality I have been having seizures.

Title photo. Post title inside a black triangle in the centre, with a photo of alcoholic drinks in the background

A bit of information before I start with the story, as I know that not all of you will be familiar about my history of Epilepsy. I started having seizures when I was 19 after a car accident. They don't know if it was the trauma that caused it, or the stress of the accident and other events in my life too. At the time I started having seizures, I was also studying at university. Those who have been to university know that night life is a huge part of the experience, and going out to local bars and clubs was something that I really enjoyed. I even worked as a nightclub photographer before my accident as I just loved the whole environment. It was always a lot of fun being sober in a room full of people who were tipsy/drunk and having fun.

SHNOOKS PLUSH REVIEW

15 Nov 2017

WE WERE SENT TWO SHNOOKS PLUSH TOYS TO TEST AND REVIEW

When it comes to toys, Elise gravitates towards toys that have some sort of puzzle to them, or at least a bit of action. I guess they are toys that are more traditionally aimed at boys, and can be found in the boy's section of a toy store. At the moment she refuses dolls and doesn't really play with her soft/plush toys. However, when we were given the option to try out some products from the Shnooks range I thought they might open up Elise's girly side.

Title photo with the blog post title inside the diamond and a photo of Elise with the product in the background.

ALL ABOUT THE SHNOOKS PLUSH RANGE

The Shnooks plush toys come in flat packaging which states that when you open them they grow 8x the size they are in the packaging. In reality, the toy is just vacuum packed and then goes to a normal size when you open it. Of course to a child this is magical as they don't know the science behind it all. The Shnooks plush's come in a range of colours so you can collect them all, and each of them comes with a comb and different hair accessories. The elastics and clips are pretty small though, so that is why the products are not recommended until your child is three.

5 TIPS TO PREVENT A DIY DISASTER

13 Nov 2017

Although we have a new build, we have started adding bits to our home. For example, we've been adding coving as we feel that it finishes the room (well we've done the nursery!). We're also starting to paint the other rooms in the house and add a little bit of personality to our home. We've not had too many disasters thankfully as we've picked up some great tips for DIY along the way.

CUT PLYWOOD WITHOUT IT SPLITTING

As soon as we moved in, my husband built shelves for all the cupboards and wardrobes, as well as putting rails up. It was important that we had enough storage straight away as our house isn't huge and doesn't actually have too much storage. A cheap way to build shelves straight away is to use plywood, and my husband also built some work surfaces in the garage using this material. If you are using a saw to cut plywood it can get pretty messy. My husband taught me that if you put masking tape on the opposite side to where you are cutting, it helps prevent the splitting and creates a cleaner line. It won't be perfect, but it will be much better than cutting without the tape.

MICKEY ROADSTER RACERS PIT CREW TOOL BOX REVIEW

10 Nov 2017

With a Dad who studied Motorsport Design and Engineering at University, and now spends his days working as a Motorbike Design Engineer, we knew Elise would also love cars or motorbikes. She loves nothing more than cuddling up to her Dad and watching the MotoGP so when we were offered the Mickey Roadster Racers Pit Crew Tool Box to try out I knew it would be the perfect toy for her to play with. 

This is a title photo. The title of the blog post can be seen in the centre in a diamond shape. The background is Elise (age 2) playing with the toy.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE PIT CREW TOOL BOX

After seeing the Mickey Roadster Racers Pit Crew Tool Box I instantly knew that it would be a hit with Elise. I must admit that Elise wanted us to open it and play with it straight away. I will also admit that we struggled getting into the packaging. It took us quite a while to realise that you could fold the handle down, and once we did this it was easier to get the product out from the plastic wrapping.

BASIC CHECKS TO MAKE SURE YOUR TYRES ARE SAFE FOR THE ROAD

If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you know that we are a family of car lovers. In fact I met my husband through him owning an MX5. As car lovers, we know how important it is to keep your car up to date with services and MOT, but one thing that lots of people forget to take care of are their tyres. I thought I would share some basic checks you should be doing on a monthly basis to keep your car nice and safe.

Image shows the blog post title with a red and blue car parked in the background


Most people don't really think about tyres when it comes to safety, but I think that they are one of the most important things to think about when it comes to vehicle safety. The tyres are what keeps you connected with the road, so it is very important to make sure that there is plenty of tread on them. Plus it is a legal requirement to have your tyres be of a certain tread.

MY FIRST SCALEXTRIC REVIEW

9 Nov 2017

I think it is every Dad's dream to introduce their children to Scalextric. I know that my husband gravitates towards the Scalextric anytime we visit a toy store! When Scalextric offered to send us "My First Scalextric" for Elise to test out, I think that my husband was secretly quite excited. In fact as soon as it arrived, he couldn't wait to get it open and show Elise his mad Scalextric skills.

this is a title photo. It has the blog post title inside a diamond with a photo of the scalextric set being put together in the background

ALL ABOUT MY FIRST SCALEXTRIC

My First Scalextric retails for £39.99 and is aimed at children aged 3+, although with supervision and guidance Elise was able to join in the fun and didn't find using the controller very difficult once she knew what to do.  The set includes a a track that clicks together to form a figure of 8 shape (with a raised section), 2 super resistant cars, 2 speed limiter hand controllers, power supply and accessories.

HOW TO SURVIVE AN APOCALYPSE

2 Nov 2017

As someone who has played games like The Last of Us, Fallout and Left 4 Dead, and watched films like 28 Days Later, I Am Legend and Zombieland, I feel that I am the best person to give advise on how to survive after a huge disaster, and create a new life in a post-apocalyptic world. Using the knowledge I have gained from completing games on various consoles, and watching many series of The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries and *cough* Twilight *cough* I've come up with a mini guide on how to best prepare yourselves for any disaster that may come your way in the future.


VISITING SPAIN FOR DENTAL IMPLANT TREATMENT

1 Nov 2017

When it comes to dental care, I must admit that I hate going to the dentist, even for a simple check up appointment. I have had braces as a teen and I didn't really follow the advise on wearing a retainer afterwards so although my top teeth have remained straight, my bottom teeth aren't as straight as I would like them to be. One of the side affects of my Epilepsy is gum damage so I have to really look after my teeth. Having implants fitted has been something I have thought about in the past, and I have discovered that it can be quite costly. There are other options though, such as going abroad for the treatment.



You might have read that medical tourism market has witnessed a huge increase as the number of international tourists who desire to improve their dental health at overseas clinics is rapidly growing. This isn't a huge surprise to me, as undergoing high quality medical treatment abroad can result in savings as high as 85%. 

If you are a lover of warm climates, and are considering improving your smile, what should you know about dental implant treatment in Spain

Over the few past years, Spain has attracted thousands of international patients either to improve their health or have unforgettable holidays. Spain is one of the best countries to have your teeth done as Spanish dental clinics offer bespoke dental care, top notch restorative procedures and pocket friendly prices that start from 900 Euros for a single dental implant. 

Spain is a very popular holiday destination particularly among tourists from Germany, or the UK. It is a very popular holiday destination for both single people and families throughout the year. This means you can pair a holiday with your dental treatment. There are so many places to visit including  Madrid, the Andalusian region, colourful Canary Islands, unforgettable beaches and nightlife, a seemingly unlimited number of historical places to visit and, gorgeous mountains and deserts. 

The cost of dental treatment in Spain is very competitive compared to prices quoted at dental clinics in the UK , the US or Ireland.  If you decide to undergo dental implant treatment in Spain, you will enjoy your holidays in a sunny destination, and you will also save up to 40-50% on your dental bills. 



Most dental centres in Spain are private units. However, ensuring top quality is their priority. Most Spanish dental clinics that treat overseas patients, have over 15-years of experience, and perfectly balance cutting edge technology and luxurious space. You might also be offered additional services (airport transfers, hotel bookings), one year warranty for dental work or free post treatment check ups. 

Spanish dentists, oral surgeons and technicians speak English fluently, you can be sure that your every wish will be noticed and fulfilled. More than that, the vast majority of Spanish clinics offer very easy online access to their services. 


Are you still considering whether or not it is worth visiting Spain to fulfil your dream of having a Hollywood smile?  Just leave your work place for a couple of days, and come back with a new set of pearly whites


SARAH HUGHES
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CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN WITH HMV

31 Oct 2017

Elise turns two next month, which means that this year was the first year we could really introduce her to everything that is Halloween. She has already learnt about Santa, and is already excited for Christmas and her Birthday so we thought we would try and introduce her to Halloween too. We decided to try out trick or treating this year with her, and we weren't sure if she would completely get the idea of it, or if she would be scared. We thought a great way to introduce Elise to the world of trick or treating was through film and tv.


This is where HMV stepped in. They were kind enough to send us everything we needed for some fun family film time with a Halloween twist. They provided us with two films to watch, and we decided that Elise might be better with Casper. She really enjoyed watching the film with us whilst playing with the Halloween themed goodies that were also sent to us.


Casper is rated a PG and it is one of the first films that Elise has watched that isn't an animation. I wasn't too sure if she would sit and watch it due to the fact it wasn't animated, but the ghosts in the film did keep her attention. She understood some of the humour and she didn't find it scary. I think she would have been a bit scared with the other HMV pick which was Addams Family Values, but we will be keeping this for next year. We've also enjoyed watching Super Monsters on Netflix, which Elise is a little bit obsessed with now and has already learnt the character's names.

Along with the film we also tried to include some other Halloween activities. Elise wore a skeleton top during the day of Halloween, and then dressed as a pumpkin to go trick or treating in the evening. HMV were even kind enough to send some sweets for us to enjoy whilst watching Casper and made her treat bucket a little bit less empty!



We also had some balloons for her to play with and some witch's fingers, vampire teeth and even an eyeball! We played a game of pin the smile on the skeleton too (which she didn't quite get the idea of, but giggled lots!). She loved putting the witch's fingers on me, and insisted that I wore them all afternoon which made life a bit difficult if I am being totally honest. I don't think I'm cut out for the witch life!

I think that Elise will turn into a little bit of a film geek like her mummy as she loves watching films with us. I love going to the cinema, and Elise has already been to the cinema. I'm hoping that next year we can take her to see a Halloween themed film, maybe even The Nightmare Before Christmas (which I see more of as a Christmas film) as this is something that I like to watch every year. I'm also excited to watch Hocus Pocus with her when she is a little bit older, and every Tim Burton film you can think of.


I think Halloween has been a huge success this year, and I think we have HMV to thank for this! I don't think I would be able to find so many activities to do with a toddler if I tried by myself. Casper will become a film that we watch every year as a family as our own little Halloween tradition...well for as long as Elise wants to watch it with us!



SARAH HUGHES
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VEGAS CASINOS VS ONLINE BINGO/CASINO SITES

26 Oct 2017

If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I got married in Vegas. One of the things in Vegas that you cannot escape are casinos. Within the casinos there are many machines and games to play, so whether you like playing poker, or prefer the slot machines there is something for everyone. We loved playing the slot machines, and although we didn't play poker whilst in Vegas, I do enjoy playing it online. This is something both my Husband and I regretted and so if we do go back to Vegas, we will be signing up to play a bit of poker. I'm not huge on gambling, but I do enjoy a game of poker or Bingo, especially from the comfort of my own home.


The slot machines in Vegas are great fun, and with free drinks being delivered straight to the machine, it is easy to stay there for long periods of time and spend lots of money. We didn't really spend much money though as we would just put the odd dollar in the machine and see how we got on with that. We tried to make a dollar last as long as possible so we could get drinks for a $1-$5 tip. In relation to this, we soon learnt that if you started with a higher tip, the waitresses would make your drinks stronger and come over more often!

When it comes to playing in a Casino, the whole environment can be extremely fun. You can hear all the machines, and you can hear everyone cheering when they win. The main downside though, especially in Vegas is the sticky floors and the constant smell of smoke. That's where playing at home can be that little bit more confident. I have found that playing Bingo online has a great social aspect to it. You can chat with other players and when someone wins everyone congratulates them. You can always find some great offers too such as free bonuses for signing up, and they often have free games running. You can find sites like BOOMTOWNBINGO who do all the research on the best sites to play on.


I haven't played bingo for a while now, but I do still play online poker and have found it to be a great hobby. I don't play with huge amounts of money, in fact I've been playing with the first £5 I put in months ago and play on low stakes tables. For me it is just a bit of fun, and I love to improve my game and just try and suss out other players. It is something to do to relax in the evening and I can now play multiple tables at once.

Do I prefer online or playing in Vegas though? Of course it is Vegas. Even though it is loud and smoky, you just can't beat having drinks delivered to your seat and the buzz of the place. Plus there is so much to see in Vegas that it would be a shame not to experience a real casino.

SARAH HUGHES
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CHILD FRIENDLY HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS

The summer holidays are over, but you may be thinking about next summer already and toying with the idea of a family holiday. Between wrestling with the question of whether or not taking the kids is a recipe for disaster and thinking of the perfect place, which will accommodate them, it can quickly become an overwhelming task. One thing we can say, to put your mind at ease, is that; including your children, doesn’t have to be stressful. As long as you pick and choose the destination strategically, it’s possible to have a fantastic family trip, with minimum nagging, from both sides. Family holidays are important, as it aids bonding between the family members, and, just like adults need to relax and unwind, so do kids! We thoroughly encourage you to spend quality time together as a family, and what better way to do it, than in a beautiful location?


Before you choose the perfect location, to spend your holiday, you first need to understand your kids and their interests. Once you have established this, look for places that fit this spec. Kids want to be entertained, so try to understand the activities that make them tick, and also keep in mind that children love big open spaces, where they can run around and be free. Keeping all these factors in mind, when choosing the ideal destination, will ensure they are kept busy throughout the stay, giving you more time to relax! 

CASDON MORPHY RICHARDS TOASTER AND KETTLE SET REVIEW

We have previously reviewed a number of the Casdon products on offer and Elise has really enjoyed playing with all of them. This month we were lucky enough to get the chance to review the Casdon Morphy Toaster and Kettle set in a lovely red colours. Elise has been a little bit addicted to her Hetty Deluxe Cleaning Trolley, changing mat set and her grocery set so we were pretty confident that she would also love the Toaster and Kettle set.

ALL ABOUT THE TOASTER AND KETTLE SET

The toaster and kettle set from Casdon (in association with Morphy Richards) comes in a lovely bright red colour and also comes with two pieces of bread ready to pop in the Toaster. You are able to remove the lid from the kettle and fill it with liquid. To turn on the kettle, you simply click down the button on the side. The kettle doesn't make any noise apart from the clicking sounds. The set also has a toaster which is also red. You are able to turn the dial on the front, and there are two pieces of bread included in the set. You can easily push down the bread, but Elise did need a little bit of help with this. It is important for me to say that Elise is a little bit younger than the recommended age of 3. The toast then pops up from the toaster after a bit of a delay.

TREATING ADULT ACNE CAUSED BY EPILEPSY MEDICATION

24 Oct 2017

Although I haven't personally suffered from Acne, my husband has. His acne was actually a symptom caused by his Epilepsy medication and caused his skin to be red, sore and have spots. He actually left it for nearly two years and didn't seek help with his skin. He thought that it couldn't be cured and that it was just something he had to live with. He only started getting treatment when he went to the Doctor for another reason. The Doctor had asked whether he wanted to try and treat his skin.


My husband had used some over the counter Acne treatment, as well as using a number of moisturisers. Although some of them helped with the redness, none of them helped clear up his skin completely. I kept telling him to go to the Doctor but it wasn't a priority for him and as he had ready that it could be related to his medication, he thought that it wouldn't go away with any sort of treatment.

ORCHARD TOYS : ANIMAL SHAPES REVIEW

Elise is always wanting to learn and she is really great at recognising her shapes and colours. She can pretty much name any shape and colour that she sees and it is so lovely to see. Although she was a late walker, she has always been interested in learning and speaking. In fact she never stops talking! One of the companies that we love, and have found great for teaching Elise new things is Orchard Toys. We have already reviewed their Farmyard Heads and Tails game so when Orchard Toys asked if we would test out their new Animal Shapes game we jumped at the chance!

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

When Elise first saw the box for this game she couldn't stop saying "Wow mummy wow". She wanted to open it straight away and see what was inside. As soon as we opened the box she was calling out the names of the different animals. When I started popping out the shapes from the middle of the cards she soon join in. I noticed that there is a huge variety of animals within the box, and all the animals are the correct colour. I'm not a fan when toys are not the right colour as I think that it can be confusing, especially when little ones have just started learning about colours. There was a mix of household pets, farm animals and sea creatures so this kept Elise interested. There was a large range of shapes too, some easy shapes like circles, and then other shapes like a trapezoid.

DISABILITY AND ME : COPING WITH POTS

22 Oct 2017

Disability and Me is a guest post series featuring posts from people with a range of disabilities. My aim is to raise awareness of both visible and invisible disabilities. There is such a huge range of disabilities out there and I feel that people do not have enough understanding about them. People are quick to judge those with disabiltiies, and I have experienced this first hand. I hope that the series helps you to understand more and helps answer questions about a range of illnesses.
Today Zoe from nosaferplace is sharing some tips with you on how to cope with PoTs. Zoe is a close friend of mine and although we have talked about our disabilities I will admit that I didn't know much about PoTs and how it affects her on a daily basis. Her post has allowed me to get an insight into here everyday life and the struggles that she faces.

THE SNOWMAN TOUR 2017

Growing up, one of the films that we used to watch every Christmas was The Snowman. To me it isn't really Christmas unless I have watched both The Snowman, and The Snowman and the Snow Dog. It's a little traditon that I would like to continue with Elise this year too. We've been lucky enough to be invited along to watch the iconic film The Snowman at Coventry Cathedral, where a live orchestra will accompany the film. The show is being put on by Carrot Productions and we are very excited about going along and introducing Elise to this amazing film.


The Snowman Christmas show is aimed at families, and tickets are selling fast at several key venues across the Midlands and the North, so make sure you purchase your tickets soon. You can purchase your tickets on The Snowman Tour website, and the tour dates can be found here. The tour runs from the 1st to 30th December and has many venues across the county. I would encourage you to book your tickets soon as it is sure to sell out across the country.

As well as showing The Snowman alongside a live orchestra, they will also be showing The Bear and the Piano. This is something that I haven't seen so I am very excited about this. The show is aimed at families, and it is recommended that your children are aged 3+. We are taking Elise along as she loves music and we are pretty confident she will watch the film and enjoy it. The performance lasts an hour so if you think your younger child might be able to last this long then definitely take them along.

Photography © Tom Bangbala
This is the fifth annual tour by Carrot Productions and these annual shows regular appear in national papers, especially in "Tip things to do at Christmas" lists. This is no surprise as the shows are so magical. I can't wait to hear the live orchestra as I'm a huge fan of live music. There is going to be 46 performances this year so plenty of occasions to go and watch. The shows take place in seven cathedrals - Chester, Coventry, York, Worcester, Lichfield, Liverpool and Durham are among the 15 venues where the production will be taking place. I think the fact that it is taking place in a cathedral will make the whole experience just that little bit more magical.

Every performance features a young soloist from the local area who will sing "Walking in the Air", a key song from The Snowman. I think everyone knows this song and it will be hard not to sing along. I don't think I will treat anyone to my off key singing voice though and leave it to the professionals! There will also be a visit from the organisation's very own snowman!

For more information about tickets, you can visit the tour date site. 
To get a feeling of the evening, here is a video for you to watch:


We will be attending the 2.30pm showing at Coventry Cathedral on the 9th December so I will write a full review of the performance once we have attended. I feel so lucky that we are going to the showing and maybe it will be a new tradition every year. I'm hoping that Elise will enjoy it too!

SARAH HUGHES
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WAYS TO MAKE YOUR WORKING SPACE MORE COMFORTABLE

20 Oct 2017

Having a comfortable working environment helps to maintain happiness within the work place. Whether you work from home, or in an office, it is important that you have the right furniture that offers you support. As a blogger I can spend many hours sat in my home office, so it is really important that I have a chair that is comfortable, and it is also very important to have comfortable office chairs in the shared working space too. Today I thought I would share some ways you can make your office space a bit more comfortable, whether your office is at home or in a shared working space.

HAVE A FUNCTIONAL DESK SPACE

When it comes to picking a desk, it is important that you pick one that is functional. It is handy to have plenty of office storage, and one way you can do this is to have a desk that comes with drawers. In an office, an added bonus is having drawers which lock as this means that you can keep your personal belongs safe whilst you are away from your desk. There are many types of desk to use. I use a basic Ikea desk but I have added some of my own storage through metal drawers and letter trays. I would love something a bit nicer and more functional but at the moment the Ikea desk offers me more space. I'd love one of the executive office desks in the future that you can find on sites like Calibre Furniture. Calibre Furniture are modern office furniture suppliers who are experts in sourcing the highest quality contemporary furniture for a wide range of office spaces.

HAVE PLENTY OF STORAGE

Office storage is really important, especially when it comes to space to file documents. Even working from home I have countless amounts of paperwork to keep. I have to keep track of all my expenses and income, so I need plenty of space to store these documents. I do keep them on my macbook, but I also like to have paper copies. I also run another business alongside my blog so I need even more storage to keep everything I need for that. I get sent products to test so I have lots of different storage baskets within my office to keep everything organised. 

HAVE A WORK BUDDY

I find that having a buddy to work with can actually help with my productivity. By having a buddy I of course mean having a dog to keep me company as opposed to a toddler running around. My dog brings me lots of joy, and so having her around makes my working environment just that little bit more joyous and takes the focus off the amount of work I need to get done. Having a dog in the office has been shown to improve productivity and the general mood. You can read more about how having a work dog/pet could help your work place on the Calibre office furniture blog.

ADD A PERSONAL TOUCH

Whether it is a small family photo on your desk at work, or decorating an entire home office, it is important to add a personal touch. Looking at a photo of your loved ones during a stressful day at work could help you full through and get the work done. Creating a working environment that brings you joy is sure to increase your productivity and allow you to produce amazing work. I know that having my office just the way I like makes me want to use my office. It's the place I escape to!

These are just a few of my tips. I'm no expert on creating the perfect work space and I can only give advice on what I do in my own home. If you would be interested in an office tour, please do let me know either in the comments or tweet me



SARAH HUGHES
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10 BABY NAMES INSPIRED BY FLOWERS

6 Oct 2017

When it comes to baby names I love names that are a little bit different. I admit that my own daughter's name isn't that unique. Elise isn't super common, but at the same time it isn't something too obscure. We took inspiration from our own interests and hobbies and the name is linked to a certain car from the brand Lotus. You can read more about why we picked Elise here. I love baby names that are inspired by something rather than just plucked from a top 100 list, so today I thought I would share my top 10 flower inspired baby names. I'm hoping to write more posts like this under different themes so keep an eye out for future posts too!

pink flower background with a black triangle with "10 baby names inspired by flowers" written inside

I think there are plenty of beautiful girls names that are inspired by flowers, so this portion of this post was very easy for me to write. There are plenty of very mainstream baby girl names inspired by flowers too that you hear on a regular basis. Names like Daisy and Poppy are becoming more popular, and I know a number of people who have recently used these names.  Boys names are always harder for me to think of, and I think that most names that I like are quite mainstream. If they aren't mainstream, my name choices are pretty out there and my husband hates them, so I'm quite glad we ended up having a girl as we agreed on her name!

Here is my list:
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