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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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