Your Guide To Our Top 4 Freebie Sites

Everyone loves getting something for nothing right?! I sure do, anything from a simple piece of biscuit on a taste trial in Tesco to random items through the post. I do find though that a lot of people hesitate to use online sites for freebies, figuring that there is too much hassle involved in getting started, and sometimes they are right. Other people get fed up with all the junk mail that these sites generate, in fact, does is there anybody that actually likes getting constant junk mail?

A lot of freebie sites say you have to register – also you will have to provide your address so that the freebies can be sent out to you, but what is the best way to provide the required information without signing up to a heap of junk mail or giving away too much private information? Using technology the right way an finding the right site is the secret to success.

These sites listed below are great for freebies that are actually useful, and the sites are pretty hassle free. The freebies range in use from household goods, free magazines to birthday presents. Who wouldn’t love those?!

WOW FreeStuff An easy to use site, WOW Free Stuff has over 600 freebies on offer. Five or six new ones are added every day so you will always be able to check out something new. The majority of the freebies in this site are samples, so you can get your hands on toys, eco-friendly products, shampoo and even chocolate. Toiletry samples are great, especially if you plan to travel or take a vacation somewhere in the near future. The site also has a hints and tips section which is great for understanding how to make the most of freebie offers (like setting up a second email address). They also have an app that you can sign in to that lets you check out the latest freebies wherever you happen to be.

Gumtree Gumtree Freebies is a lot like Freecycle, members who have items they want to get rid of can upload them for viewing. Do expect to trawl through a lot of rubbish first (in saying that what one person calls junk, another person may call treasure) but don’t give up too easily, if you keep searching you will see that there are some good items out there. In fact, within one day we saw a dishwasher, a trampoline and a vintage typewriter. You can be as specific as you like when it comes to location for pick up, however being too fussy might mean you miss out on a great offer. Keep an eye on the site regularly as items move fast. However, if you are after something specific you can list a ‘wanted advert’. Who knows, you might just receive contact from someone with the exact item.

Hot UK Deals Discount vouchers, competitions and freebies; Hot UK Deals has got them all! This site was set up in 2004, registration is free and anyone can sign up. You will find fun competitions, the latest top 10 hottest deals as well as deals on specific products. Hot UK Deals is definitely worth checking out. They also have a fab Facebook page if you search for them too.

P & G Everyday Think of some of the UK’s favourite brands; Bounty, Crest, Pantene. Proctor and Gamble manufacturers have them! P & G Everyday provides coupons for download and free samples for posting. You will also find informative articles and product reviews if you google them.

Do you have any go-to freebie sites? I’d love to hear what they are!

Healthy Living Corner: Top Tips for Quitting Smoking

This is one of our first Healthy Living Corner pieces we are taking part in, This one is aimed at tips to help people who are thinking about quitting smoking. I doubt it will be as easy as some of you may expect, so these tips may come in very handy.

Ask yourself why  you want to stop smoking? Write down a list of reasons and keep them with you at all times. If you’re tempted to light up a cigarette, you should always refer to them.

Set a date when to stop completely. Although most people prefer quitting gradually by smoking fewer cigarettes each day. However, you might end up getting the same level of nicotine since you’re smoking more of each cigarette. The best idea to quit smoking is by setting a date and stopping altogether.

Tell everyone around you that you’re quitting. Family and friends will give you the support you need. Of course, if you’re living with other people who still smoke, quitting might be harder. Therefore, try to get other people in your circle who smoke to give it up as well. That way, you can make it a team effort and quit together rather than failing at doing it alone.

Remove all the smoking paraphernalia. Get rid of your cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and everything else that might remind you of smoking.

Prepare yourself for some withdrawal symptoms. Once you quit smoking, you should experience some withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, cravings, headaches, nausea or a general ill feeling. These symptoms present themselves because of the lack of nicotine in your body, especially in the levels that it’s used to. You should experience the symptoms within a day and should subside within 2 to 4 weeks.

You should expect a smoker’s cough, which will become worse once you quit, because your airways are opening up. It might make you feel ill once you have quit smoking and you might be tempted to start all over again. You should resist this temptation as hard as you can but the cough will decrease gradually.

Avoid getting in situations that may tempt you as an individual to smoke such as drinking alcohol. In the first few weeks after you quit smoking, you should stay away from alcohol and change your normal routine as well. If you’re tempted to smoke after drinking tea or coffee, you should consider switching to water of fruit juice instead.

Don’t rush the whole process, rather you should take it one day at a time. Every day you have gone without smoking, mark it off on a calendar and look back when you feel tempted and get the motivation you need to stop smoking altogether.

Always try and maintain a positive attitude throughout the whole process. Start telling people that you don’t smoke and you will feel better about it. Even better, you will start smelling better, cough less and taste your food more. Don’t forget about the amount of money you will save once you stop buying cigarettes.

You should watch your diet once you quit smoking because your appetite is bound to increase. Stay away from fatty or sugary foods and maintain your weight.

Don’t become disheartened if you can’t stop smoking. Most people can’t quite after the first attempt. However, don’t give up completely but examine the reasons why you failed in the first place and find ways to correct the mistakes. You should know that people who have actually quite have tried doing it a few times.

If you can’t stop smoking on your own, you can always visit any Stop Smoking Clinics available on NHS since they have proven successful at helping people quit smoking. Find the nearest one and join any program that allows you to stop smoking as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can always try e-cigarettes for a while, since they are designed to appear and feel like normal cigarettes. The heating element found inside vaporizes the solution creating a vapor that appears like smoke and contains nicotine.

E-cigarettes have become common substitutes for cigarettes and work the same way as nicotine patches. Once you have weaned yourself out of cigarettes, you can stop using e-cigarettes eventually and quit altogether. Remember, you need a good support system if you want to quit smoking completely. Therefore, ask for help whenever possible to make sure you don’t fall back to

Meal Times

Who loves meal times? Not me, well I do, and I don’t. They are a lot easier now my boys are 5 and 7 though, the years before that mixed in with sensory issues, well, they were interesting lets just say. I have two children who are extreme opposites in the majority of things. I have one who is obsessively clean and likes things in order and I have another one who thrives in chaos and mess. Both have been a fun journey, and when I say fun I mean stressful. The last 7 years have been an interesting meal-time journey as I’m sure everybody else’s with kids has been too. My floor and walls have suffered immensely, as well as my sanity. I don’t think I actually miss the days of old though in regards to meal times, is that terrible of me? Well, I don’t. I don’t miss the mess, the pleading, the throwing, the tears, or the stressful cooking whilst looking after a baby and a toddler, nope I don’t miss any of that!

In our house one thing we like to do is eat our meals as a family at the table, which is much easier now to do consistently because the children eat the same times as us these days. It’s lovely all sitting together (most of the time, ok half of the time, maybe) and sharing a meal together. It’s even better when they eat it without moaning about it smelling gross or that this week they don’t like chicken any more etc etc.

I do love family meal times though, they’re quite special really aren’t they, despite how stressful they are in the build up to it. I must admit though I tend to use my slow cooker for most of our meals, throwing ingredients in and hoping for the best usually. It’s made meal preparation so much easier for us, and I wouldn’t be without it, I literally cook everything in it; spag bol, pasta bake, beef, whole chickens, stews, Mexican food, and even chocolate cake!

We also love making meal times special, and my boys love nothing more than a spontaneous tea party, or themed dinner with table decorations, but their most favourite meal is when we invite people over for tea, they get all excited and love helping with the prep. I love hosting people, and my boys do to. We love a good party here. I hope they grow up feeling the same too, and enjoy making meal times special, and being kind to others by inviting them to share a meal too.

Unfortunately though there are so many people in the world today who don’t get to eat a meal regularly, let alone share a meal with somebody, or some people eat all of the meals alone, and not out of choice.That makes me feel so sad. We really shouldn’t take forgranted that we have a house to enjoy a meal in, whether it’s at a table, on a sofa, on a floor, on the garden, or in a bedroom. And I know a lot of people, myself included, don’t have the budget to stretch to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves with hundreds of pounds etc, so here’s an idea in the video below for a way that we can help, and every little really does help.

Why not host a get together at your house, share a meal with a few friends and all chip in what you can to donate to Christian Aid? You can sign up here if you are interested.

If you choose not to sign up that’s ok, we are all free to do as we please, but please don’t take your meal times forgranted, one day those children will be too cool to be home for dinner with you, and you’ll miss them. You’ll miss the squabbles, the sly elbow nudging, the kicking under table, and the attitude problems.

Go share a meal with someone this week.

Happy meal times folks!

A Sound Sleep

Do you want to hear a joke? Yeah? Ok. Sleep. You don’t get it? No, me either!

I love my sleep, a sound sleep, but unfortunately since becoming a parent sleep does not love me. We are almost seven years into being parents and the exhaustion continues. Nobody could have prepared me for the little amount of sleep we have to survive on. Don’t get me wrong, it has got easier, some days, and then others I’m living on the edge of exhaustion because it took four hundred hours to get through a bedtime story, or I was up all night with a flustered six year old or some flipping virus of some sort has attacked us, again.

I’m such a light sleeper, but parenting has made it even lighter, and sometimes non-existent! Although, I do snore and never seem to hear that. I think I possibly hold some kind of record maybe for the decibels I reach? Maybe I’ll ask my husband his opinion, or maybe not!

I could possibly sleep on a washing line though, I’m a light sleeper but I can also fall asleep anywhere and at anytime depending how exhausted I am. Other times I can lie awake for hours whilst sleep evades me. Hmm, maybe my sleep is quite irregular reading this.

What time do you go to sleep? I am such an early bird since having children. I used to be able to go on until about 3am, now it’s more like 9pm is a very late night for me, it’s terrible, ha ha. My husband is more of a night owl than me, but needs complete darkness to get a good sleep, and silence. Our kids, however, like a light on in the distance and classical music, this has always been the way for them.

This infographic below has some really interesting facts about sleep from Mattress Next Day. I think I’d give the grandma and her snoring a run for her money though!

How do you like to sleep? With music? With the light on? I think it’s fascinating how we are all so different and need different things to function.

Sweet dreaming folks!

Everyday Style (One For the Men For Once!)

I don’t really tend to write a lot about fashion despite being a huge fan of it, maybe because I have my own everyday style and don’t tend to follow whims. I mean, I love Barbie, and unicorns, and diamonds, and cardigans, and boots, and flip flops, and scrunchy socks, and long line tees, and scarves. Scarves are my one true love, I wear them 99% of the time rain or shine, I have so many; thick ones, woollen ones, long ones, snoods, bright colours, dull ones, cotton ones, silk ones, you name it and I have no doubt got it in my scarf box. I think they’re my signature, and also my comforter, I feel secure when I have a scarf! I love jewellery too, my jewellery drawer is the width of my huge wardrobe, and is full. I love statement earrings and rings, and unique, statement necklaces, I just love jewellery. I think I’m a tad obsessed with accessories if I’m totally honest and I’m sure my husband would agree!

My husband on the other hand, is not really into accessories despite me trying to change him! Ha ha, he’ll be shaking his head right about now when he is reading this! He is a jeans, hoodie, tee, smart-casual kinda guy, and I love him for that. I also love him for letting me, often choose his clothes, usually with 100% success rate, except for the one time I purchased him a silver-glittery shirt called ‘Party Boy’ on the label, and he downright refused to even try it on, I am still adamant it would have looked good though!

There are so many books, and sites, and articles and apps for womens fashion but the mens market is somewhat quieter I think. I’m not sure why? Maybe women are programmed to be more bothered about fashion? Or more vocal? Or maybe it makes better readership? Maybe the male market is smaller? I’m not sure, but whatever the reason I think mens fashion needs to be shouted a little louder, in fact a lot louder, so here is my voice shouting about mens fashion, well, kind of!

Even if you’re not a big fashion follower, there are always a few staple items that will see you looking effortlessly on trend, I love timeless items. I think jeans are one of these timeless items, often the cut will be a particular style that given season, but I think a pair of dark denim trousers will always be a good staple item to invest in for a man. Chums is a great site for mens trouser wear, and this denim pair in particular are a great staple buy from £30.

Chums Jeans Jeans 2 Jeans 3 Jeans 4

I love chinos too, I’m not sure why, but I do, especially for those warmer days. Chinos and a nice fitted tee with some on trend plimsolls do wonders for my soul! Love these shoes from Chum and a great price too at £25:

shoe

I think a few staple tee’s should be in a mans wardrobe too, plain colours, and nice fitting. These tees from H&M are a good buy, and look fab layered up too, they have so many colours to choose from and they start at £3.99, which is a great price!

t shirt h and m

I am a huge fan of belts too, particularly brown ones, I think brown really breaks up an outfit and adds a real personal touch. This belt from River Island is a fabulous buy that can be paired with any outfit.

belt RI

I think gilets are a great investment for men too, and luckily my husband loves them! This is a particular favourite of mine, I love grey and yellow at the moment, and think the colour combo is fabulous.

Gillet

Style does not have to be in-keeping with the latest fads and whims, I think style is personal to yourself, and a few staple items can make style timeless. It’s about finding what suits you best an buying a few key pieces to pair with other things. Everyday style is about finding the right staple pieces for your wardrobes.

Go an treat yourself today to a few staple items, happy shopping folks! (Or treat your other half maybe?)

 

 

 

 

A Video For The Mothers With A Different Story

What is a mother? A mother is a million things, all different, but all just as important!

Take a look…

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Whatever your story, you matter!

Share with somebody who you think needs reminding.

Sentimental Songs

I absolutely love music, always have, and I guess I always will. My taste is VERY broad, but it does always tend to lean towards the cheesy side, or so my husband likes to tell me. I am a sucker for a great love song, or a song written from the heart. I love lyrics that I can relate to. Over the years i’ve listened to music that expressed emotions that I felt unable to, a kind of therapy I guess. I have so many old mix playlists from the last 20 years, I could listen to them all day still.

I loved R Kelly, Eternal, Spice Girls, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Britney, Westlife, Damage, Boyzone, Kylie, Jason Donovan, Nsync, Kirk Franklin, Bobby Brown, Kci & Jojo, Boys II men, Mariah, and Celine Dion. The list is endless, but some songs mean a lot more to me than others.

Do you have special songs like that from over the years? Lyrics attached to memories and emotions?

Here’s 8 of my most sentimental songs;

Kirk Franklin – Lean on me

Pink – Family Portrait

Beyonce – Best thing I never had

TLC – Dear Lie

Westlife – Flying without wings

Kelly Clarkson – A moment like this

Kci & Jojo – All my life

Whitney Houston – Greatest love of all

All of these bring back some great memories or helped me sing what I was feeling, and there are so many more. I love nothing better than playing a cheesy mix playlist whilst having a nice relaxing bubble bath. Music is good for the soul, and it does wonders for mine. I love having a sing-song, usually via my tab though as I can’t hear the laptop or TV in the bathroom. I really need to invest in some speakers. I’ve heard such great things about the Panasonic Multi Room speakers so I’ll definitely be choosing from their range. I need something wireless and with bluetooth capabilities and this Panasonic range caters for both of those needs. They look fab!

I’d love to know some of your fave throw back songs too…

Will You Hang On To Hygge In 2017

In 2016 we didn’t just say “Hi!” to Hygge, we embraced it in our hoards. So much so that The New Yorker crowned 2016 the Year of Hygge. Inspired by what is apparently the happiest of nations, by the end of last year many of us found ourselves cosying up in corners in an effort to unearth our inner Hygge. We strived to spend more time with our heads in good books or slurping our time away with large mugs of hot chocolate or Glögg . Some of us spent our Sunday mornings with a stack of pancakes or snuggled up with a colouring book. However,as we emerge from what must be the most Hygge of all the seasons, will you be hanging on to Hygge in 2017? Once winter has waned and the weather warms up – will you put out your open fire, clear away your scented candles and let your Hygge hibernate? Or will you commit to pursuing the comfort and contentedness of Hygge in the months to come?

Share the love
Pleasure and presence are the values that lie at the heart of a Hygge lifestyle and for the most part they are goals you can aspire to, whatever the weather. While you may struggle to indulge a love of sledging when spring arrives, there are plenty of hobbies and interests that you could potentially make time for all year round, and in keeping with all things Hygge, they needn’t be expensive either.

Why not make it your priority to share more feasts with friends this year? Take it in turns to host a cheap and cheerful dinner party and you’ll find a one pot recipe and a bottle of vino goes a long way when it comes to putting a smile on your face. Or, channel a Scandi spa with an at home pampering session with your girls. Facemasks, a good film and homemade smoothies combined with gossip are all you need to get your session started and can make you feel like you’ve had a Hygge hug.

Other at home Hygge friendly activities include potting plants indoors and out, spending lazy days with a pot of tea and a stack of magazines and re-reading your favourite books for guaranteed warm fuzzy feelings. If you’re a dog owner, you already have a Hygge edge. Cuddling up with your canine or taking your pooch for a spot of people watching in the park are cost free ways to regularly enjoy the simple things in life and being a dog owner has been proven to be good for your mental health too.

Hygge design hints
When it comes to interiors, Hygge has been embraced as the ultimate comfort trend thanks to its association with candle light, roaring fires and soothingly soft blankets. But who wants to sit in front of an open fire in summer?

Firstly, you can still do these things in the warmer months – just take your Hygge on the move! Huddling around a campfire or in a beach hut during a rain shower are just some of the Hygge-esque activities that the British spring and summer readily offers up.

Secondly, The Hygge aesthetic is far more than a few rugs and blankets. It’s about surrounding yourself with things that make you smile and take you to a happy place. In fact, you may want to create an at home happy space to help you on your mission. If you’re not lucky enough to have a conservatory, hobby or study room where you can explore your interests and have a little me time, why not section off a little snug for yourself? You’ll find lots of inspiration for homemade room separators on Pinterest or you could opt for a more permanent solution such as fitting floor to ceiling bi-folds you can use to cosy behind or open to allow light through depending on your mood and activity. If there’s a particular time, place or person that makes you smile, remind yourself of them by decorating your Hygge nook with well placed photographs that in turn will inspire you to go on to create more magic memories.

Did you get into Hygge in 2016 or are you planning on turning over a Hygge leaf in 2017? What are your favourite things to do to release your inner chill? Do you like to get outdoors and closer to nature or plan get togethers with your bezzies? I’d love to know!

Children’s Party Planning

I love throwing my children birthday parties. We usually go all out with a certain theme; costumes, decorations, favours, cupcakes, cakes, even the invites. They get so excited choosing a theme and so do I, would you believe I’m 32?! February is always a party planning month ready for my youngest childs birthday in April. He will be 5 this year and I cannot even believe it! Where have those five years gone? It has literally flown by.

I came across a really great website to help me out with my party planning and I thought I’d share it with you. It’s called Bidvine, and it literally has every type of service provider you could think of; venues, balloon artistry, party planners, entertainers, caterers, printers for invitations, you name it they have a company who can do it! It’s even tailored to the age of children you will be inviting and the amount of guests you’ll have. You basically fill in all of your requirements, and then the service providers email you and essentially bid for your custom. It cuts out all of the faffing and searching for hours, they come to you instead. It makes party planning totally stress-free, all they require is your name, email address, and mobile number.

This year we have gone for a super hero theme, my for year old is obsessed with the Avengers. He wants facepaints, and Avenger favours, Avengers balloons and tableware, and a big Avengers cake. I’m also trying to source him an Avengers mascot, which I know Bidvine will help me with. He wants all of his friends to dress up as their favourite Avenger too, so I’m guessing I need to look for some adult costumes too, wish me luck with that one!

Then after April it will be planning time for my 6 years old birthday in October, he hasn’t chosen his theme yet, but no doubt it will be Lego based!

Do you plan parties for your little ones (and big ones)? I’d love to hear about yours, and how you go about preparing for them.

 

Christmas Party Venues

Can you believe Christmas is literally just around the corner? 2016 has whizzed by in the blink of an eye. Some of us have had a great year, and some of us not so much, but one thing we all have in common is that we hope that 2017 will be our best year yet.

I love seeing out the year and welcoming in the new year, do you? There’s something quite satisfying about the year ending and a new one beginning, it’s like somebody hands you a blank slate and all the sadness, mistakes, and unpleasantness of the year disappears and you get another chance at life. Fad diets, new relationships, better self care, more fun, less worrying, we have so many goals for the new year, and rightly so. I rarely make new years resolutions though do you? I can never keep them, so it’s easier not to make them, this is my reckoning anyway!

I love the build up to Christmas then the lead into new year. I love the party planning the outfit organising, the gift buying, the kids nativity plays, the Christmas jumpers, the tree decorating, the Christmas scented Yankee candles, the dark nights, the smell of gingerbread, the carols, and the sound of a big family get together.

What are your Christmas plans this year? We spend our Christmas with my husband’s family, it’s a big family occasion, and we all sleep over, laugh, stuff our faces with delicious food, and generally enjoy relaxing. New years eve is pretty much the same kind of thing, although it usually involves fewer people and a quiet night in, under fives are not very NYE friendly, although hosting our own party to bring in the new year during January has tempted us. A party in January would be an amazing way to begin 2017, to boost everybody’s spirits. Venue Finder is a great site to help find the perfect Christmas party venue and new year venues. Their site offers lots of locations and different options, you can exclusively hire a venue or join in a shared party night, they accommodate everybody. This would be such a  fab start to the new year, and there is something to suit everyone whether you’re a family, a small business, a big business, a church, a football team, an office party, anybody.

I’m really looking forward to seeing in the new year well, and hope it’s sets a precedent for the rest of my year, and yours too!

Merry Christmas everyone!