One week before Christmas 2017, we moved into our current home. We were transferred, by the council, from a two bedroom, first floor flat to a ground floor flat with a wet room on account of my mobility issues. After several accidents from falling in or out of the bath, meaning I stopped bathing myself when home alone, our request for a more suitable home was accepted.

With just one week’s notice, we moved quickly.

A year on and we still haven’t done much in the way of decorating or putting our own stamp on our home. We took the carpets from our old flat and used them in our new one where we could. We were only able to carpet the lounge and Harry’s bedroom.. The rest of the flat remains, rather shamefully, carpet less a year on!

Thing is, to get a decent carpet can work out pretty expensive. It’s money we just don’t have.

Until I came across cheap carpets from Flooring Superstore.  They currently have a sale on meaning that prices start from just £4.89 per square meter! That’s far more affordable for us than we ever thought possible.

There’s so much to consider when choosing a carpet and price is just one thing!

The carpets we do have are a , quite frankly horrible, dark brown colour. They don’t suit our taste and style at all but we thought it was the most practical out of our options.

It turns out we were wrong.

Dark brown shows up all the dog hair whenever we look after my sister’s dog, which takes weeks to get rid of completely.

Stains from spilt drinks or food show up far more than I thought they would.

The obvious poor quality of the carpet and the lack of underlay started to show very quickly once the carpets were in.

As we moved into our old place from a homeless hostel, we were given limited choice by the council and no option for underlay. We quickly realised that, despite not being able to see it, underlay is very important. It’s not something we will skimp on again. Underlay saves wear and tear on the carpet, absorbing the impact of foot traffic so your carpet doesn’t have to.

Next time we finally manage to buy new carpets, we will skimp on the carpet if we have to in order to get underlay.

So you're planning a special evening for just the two of you and want to look like an elegant and sophisticated couple. You decide your man simply has to make that extra effort and look stylish for this special event, so what will it take to achieve the desired result.

Suit up

Women are attracted to a man in a well fitted suit, who is tastefully accessorised and neatly groomed. Thy view the dapper man as self-assured, successful, stable and hence desirable. It also tells your girl you're willing to make an effort for her. But it’s not just the clothes, what's equally important is how you carry yourself in them.

A well-fitting suit is an essential start to creating the complete look. You can either go the custom tailored route or buy one-off the peg. Bespoke tailoring ensures a perfect fit, but can be time-consuming. The process starts by selecting a fabric and colour, followed by a style. If all this sounds too involved opt for a ready to wear option.

Most brands are available as singles, which means you can select a jacket and trouser in the same fabric, in sizes that are a good fit.

It's important to keep your body type in mind when choosing a suit. If you have a tall and thin frame, opt for heavier fabrics in lighter colours; you need the suit to bulk you out a little. Choose a jacket with a higher button stance and a single back slit.

If, however, you have a fuller frame, choose lightweight fabrics in dark colours with a two button single vent jacket. The idea here is to use the lightweight fabric in dark or solid colours to make you look slimmer. The twenty-first-century man is contemporary and self-assured and like modern design, his suit is simple, streamlined and perfectly crafted. Put simply, the aim is to make an impression, without appearing to try too hard.

Shirts, ties and accessories

Once you have selected your suit, you need to team it with the appropriate shirt and tie. The ensemble has to work when put together. It's important for the shirt not to clash with suit and for the tie match the shirt. Ideally the tie should be a shade or two darker than the shirt. Use a slightly broader tie on a shirt with spread collars and a narrower tie if you are of slight build. You can accessorise with pocket squares, lapel and tie pins, but don't overdo it.


Last, but not least, be sure not to overlook grooming. Being well-groomed will guarantee you feel and look the part in your new threads. It is best to let professionals handle this aspect of your ‘new look’, which could include a haircut, manicure and if necessary, facial hair trimming. A couple of hours spent at a salon like Toni & Guy Liverpool, will help complete the dapper and well-groomed look.

Styling your man for that special evening is a fun project and one that he will thoroughly enjoy. Hope you have a great evening out.

Disclosure: Contributed by Chloe Swift.

Reading is one of life's simple pleasures. As a child and teenager I could often be found curled up on the corner of the sofa or laying on my bed reading a book. This continued sporadically through my early twenties, when I wasn't working or partying and tapered off once I had Harry. Thanks to modern technology, my reading has now picked up and I read more than ever as I have quick access to hundreds of thousands of books as soon as I have finished one.

There are many reasons why it is important for me to pass on the art of reading to Harry and not just because I quite simply love it myself! Numerous studies have shown that reading with children helps them in all areas of education and improves their communication skills, plus much more. It's also one of the few activities that I know I can always do with Harry, I can't always guarantee that I will be well enough to take him to the local park but I can always read with him, even if it is from my bed on a bad day.

When reading with Harry I make sure we do it somewhere without distractions, so I either turn the TV off (despite his protestations) or go into his bedroom. Harry likes to point out what is happening in the story as I read to him and I try to make sure I don't get in the way of him exploring the pages but I am guilty of occasionally tutting or sighing, just wanting to get the story over with. As I have read with Harry more and seen him getting more pleasure from reading, I have started to enjoy some of his favourite kid's books almost as much as he does and Tesco is a great place to look for bargains.. Being 4.5 years old he does of course have phases whereby he will like a certain story for a couple of weeks and insist that one has to be read every day but we also choose another story together, perhaps a new book or one we borrowed from the library which helps to bring a little variety.

Our reading time together is something that we both enjoy and I consider it our quality time together. As it is one of the rare times Harry sits still for any length of time, I find it a good opportunity to ask him about his day. If I ask him on the way home from school or when we get home, generally I am met with a grunt (could the teen years have arrived early?!) because he is too absorbed in what he is doing.

Do you read with your child? What are your favourite kids's books?

Disclosure: Written for Tesco.

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We know that you may be looking for the right promotion offer on a bingo site to start playing. Keeping that in mind we have gathered a few extremely attractive promotions after some hours of research on a few selected bingo sites that will most definitely tickle your fancy. There is no need for you to go through the hundreds of online bingo sites and their various promotions that might take you ages, we have taken the initiative to give you the best possible offers that you can have online so that you may start enjoying these offers as from now itself. Online bingo is now at the reach of everyone with the introduction of mobile gaming such as with smartphones and tablet thus you may enjoy the very best of bingo promotion while on the move.

While browsing through a list of online bingo sites we came across Kitty Bingo which caught our eyes. As you may have guessed this site is themed on cats and we could see them on every page of the site which will be to the delight of cat lovers. Kitty bingo seems to be very user friendly and we loved the animations in the various lively bingo rooms where conversation were flowing among the hosts and players. On their promotion page we came across the progressive jackpots available on the site. Never have we seen so many progressive jackpots on just one site. The Progressive Jackpots were namely the 90 Ball PJP, 75 Ball PJP, High Cut PJP, Low Cut PJP, Lucky Numbers PJP, Magic Number PJP, Goodie Bag PJP and Party Games. Kitty bingo offers the opportunity for its players to win big with no extra cost with these 7 Progressive jackpot and Party Games. There was at least 1 progressive jackpot at stake in every game that we played and within 1 hour we saw 2 players winning some of these jackpots that was included in the awesome pots. This is definitely a site we would recommend you to check.

Another online bingo site that attracted our attention was Lucky Pants Bingo due to its uncommon name, however we were curious to know what this site had in store as promotions. We were quite delighted to find that Lucky Pants Bingo has a huge array of promotions. One of the biggest prizes that we have seen at Lucky Pants Bingo was the £10,000 Slider which is a 5 Line Bingo pre-buy game that runs every last Friday of the month. With the cost per card at 20p only and a maximum of 72 tickets, this seems to be the perfect promotion. If you call bingo in under 45 calls you may win £10,000 for this sliding jackpot game and you are sure to walk away with at least £400. Winners of 1 line till 4 line gets £150 each, while all 1TG holders get to share £150 too.

We headed to Gala Bingo where we found an interesting promotion called Play It Your Way which is a multi-stake 90 Ball Bingo game which is played every Friday and Saturday. In this game we had the option to choose our ticket price so as to increase or decrease our prizes. On this game you are given the opportunity to choose from 4 tickets with price ranges from 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 according to the amount you want to win which is detailed in a price chart. The minimum you can be awarded for a Full House is £11.50 while the maximum is £115. Once you purchase a ticket in this game you are tied in at that price for any other tickets you may buy for that particular game.

With the various advantageous offers that the above sites are offering, you can be sure of walking away with your arms well full!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


It has been a week of accidents either at or on the way to school, a chill in the air despite the bright sun of the mornings, long shadows in the hour before dinner time. We are at that point of the year when you feel too warm for a coat, but it's not warm enough to wear a t-shirt. Autumn has arrived and with that, an abundance of conkers, if only you can grab them before anyone else! We had a couple of false starts when scouring the local parks. Then we struck the jackpot on a walk home from the shop, venturing on to some land between two high-rise blocks of flats.

There is only one question now; just what will we do with them all?!

My Sunday Photo



A couple of weeks ago I told you our first impressions of our recent holiday to Hengar Manor. Today, I shall give a more detailed review.

Hengar Manor is a well maintained country park near Bodmin and the village of St Tudy in Cornwall. We visited during the first week of September, so it while it was fairly quiet as most of the schools had returned, there was still a full programme of activities and entertainment running.

We travelled by train to Bodmin Parkway and got a taxi from there to Hengar Manor. If you do this, I would recommend calling the park to ask for the number of a local taxi driver; the fare on our return journey home was £10 less than our outward taxi.

As I said in my first post, check in was quick and easy. We were given all the information we would need about the park itself as well as a thick envelope of leaflets for attractions in the locality and indeed, further afield.

There are a few activities for children of Harry's age (four years old) but most of them are for slightly older children, five or even seven years plus. This was not an issue for us because we simply just wanted to relax together before Harry started school the following week but a family geared more towards activities may wish to check with the park prior to booking. We did take Harry along to Balanceability. An instructor led activity would usually be a good chance for parents to grab a peaceful cup of tea and slice of cake in the café. However, Harry had been (and still is!) going through a rather clingy stage so I remained with him, hoping to give him a little more encouragement to take part. Balanceability, as the name suggests, is about giving children confidence on balance bikes. Harry has one and has never particularly taken to it, largely using either his Microscooter or regular bike with stablisers, largely because they give him the speed he desires to keep up with his peers. We found the instructor very encouraging and I felt she really did try her best to get Harry involved from the outset. The activity has given him a little more confidence to practise with his balance bike more.

Balance bike confidence.
Balance bike confidence.

The main attraction for Harry and something we used every day was the swimming pool. Access to the 25 meter swimming pool is free and with a Jacuzzi, slide and separate baby pool, it is perfectly suitable for a week's break. We (somehow!) forgot Harry's arm bands but our worry was short-lived as they were sold at reception. There is also a small shop on site from which we bought an inflatable for Harry to play with in the pool. As Hengar Manor is a decent base from which to explore many attractions of Cornwall, I cannot imagine the pool gets overly busy even during peak season. There is also a crazy golf course and a nine-hole pitch and putt course.

As we do not have a car, we could not go to a local supermarket to stock up on food and so we ate on site each night, except for one. One night we picked up some frozen breaded chicken and chips from the shop and ate at our accommodation. Other nights we used the on-site restaurant or pub. It wasn't until we arrived at Hengar Manor that we realised we could have, in fact, submitted an on-line supermarket delivery which reception would have received for us. Well worth noting for any future visits. The pub menu was varied with something to please most tastes and the food was as expected from an average pub. That said, I did think that the vegetarian options were somewhat lacking with just two options of either a veggie burger or vegetable curry. There was also an Italian restaurant called Morellos on-site. This had a very limited menu but what they did have was very nice and excellent value for money. I would recommend pre-booking as the restaurant is small and both times we ate there we saw people turned away as they were fully booked. One of those nights the husband went to book a table and was told he didn't need to as they were quiet; I am glad he insisted!

There was entertainment each evening. Every evening started with a couple of games for the children followed by family entertainment for a couple of hours. From around 9 pm the evenings would finish off with a family disco.

A selection of evening entertainment
A selection of evening entertainment

We were sad to leave for home. All through our stay we were made to feel incredibly welcome, it felt like the staff right across the board genuinely enjoy their jobs.

We will definitely return and next time, with a car so that we can explore Cornwall further!

Disclosure: We paid in full for our holiday. However, we did receive an upgrade in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and our own.


It has been a long week. The start of formal education at school signals many things; long days, a more firm routine, a P.E. kit and book bag, new friends and old ones, new teachers, formal learning and some learning with play. It's more time away from Mummy and Daddy but more time with friends.

It means at short nap on a Saturday because even though you stopped napping about 18 months ago the week was just so tiring and exciting and different and Saturday night means seeing the family so you want to stay up a bit later.Silent Sunday 21-09-14



He has started school, embarking on his own journey through life. Of course his journey started over four years ago, when he first entered this world as a brand new, tiny human being. Back then he was so utterly dependent on me, to do everything for him, from feeding him, washing him, dressing him. I could lie him down somewhere and turn my back for a few seconds, knowing he would stay put, such was his inability to do anything for himself except breathe.

Now four years and four months have passed and he has started school. Proper primary school, with teachers and a uniform and term dates and inset days and homework and god forbid you take him out for a day during the week or else the government will fine you £120 for the pleasure. He cries about going each night and each morning and he drags his feet on the way.

There is writing practise to be done each morning in the classroom. In a class of however many children (25 maybe 30? I don't know) and then their parents and the teachers too. I find it claustrophobic and chaotic and distracting so I am not entirely sure just how much my four-year old gets out of. And if you don't fancy writing what about reading? He can recite the two books back to me but he isn't actually reading, he has memorised them, he doesn't look at the words or the pictures but the distractions in the room. Should I change the book now? Am I doing this right? Am I doing anything right any more and more to the point have I ever got it right until now? Should I tell the teachers that my son isn't getting anything from these 15 minutes each morning, other than delaying the inevitable that I have to leave him behind.

Then he sees his friend and decides that actually it is OK for me to go now, he will be OK now his friend his here. I sense he is still hesitant but take it as my cue to leave.

On picking him up, I question him like he is a terror suspect, asking him all the questions. "Who did you play with?", "What did you play?", "What did you eat at lunch time?" Some times he answers them, other times he doesn't. Every day he asks me why does he have to go to school again tomorrow "because Mummy it's a long time not seeing you and I miss you". It takes everything I have to not let the tears flow. "And I miss you too dude but if you want to be a fireman when you are bigger you have to go to school first".

The husband is working now too. Out of the house from 7 am until 3.30 pm. Leaving me alone to get Harry to school and pick him up, to manage the household, the chores, the shopping, the bills, the appointments, meals and everything else all by myself like a proper grown up for the first time in over two years. And in that two years so much has changed and I think I have forgotten how to run a house and now I have school-aged child and all the school stuff.

So many changes I feel left behind like the world is moving without me. Then a parcel arrives.

Open Uni pic

So I am changing too. Studying and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

All of this change is scary and exciting at the same time and I wonder, can I cope? I thought that now was the time to start studying after years of wanting to and never biting the bullet and now I wonder if I have made the right decision. So overwhelmed am I by my son going off to school and the husband working again and having all this stuff to do and trying to manage my emotions. I wanted to speak to my GP next week about weaning off my medication but all of this change has overwhelmed me and now I wonder if I should? Until two weeks ago I felt ready to have that conversation and I still want to but is that more because I just want to stop taking these tablets and to start feeling or is it because I actually am ready?

Next week sees another appointment with my Neurosurgeon, one that I will have to attend alone because the husband will be working and we can't afford for him to lose a day's wage to hold my hand. I have no idea what, if anything will happen. I am still in pain all day, every day. Some days worse than others but I get flustered and anxious and lose track of what I need to say, only remembering after the appointment and will anything I say make any difference?

Mind in overdrive. Change all around me. I can't keep up and feel lost but I don't want to feel lost. I want to feel normal. For once, I just want to feel normal.

Watercolour painting is a technique that is really popular, and it’s arguably easy to see why. It creates a beautiful, idyllic and soft image on the page that you just can’t achieve from different paints or techniques.

If painting with watercolour is something you’d like to try but aren’t too sure what to do, we’ve put together 6 tips which should help you as a beginner onto the journey of becoming a great artist!


Invest in a good quality brush

A good quality brush will be really important for achieving great results; after all, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘a workman is only as good as his tools’ and this is true, to a certain extent. It’s well worth investing in one great brush than lots of cheaper, weaker ones that are more likely to malt on you and ruin your paintings. It’s said that a good quality brush can even reduce the amount of paint you use as it can keep more of it, so you won’t need to keep topping up as often. There’s a useful video here for choosing a good watercolour brush.

Invest in some good quality paper

Likewise, you will need some really good paper to hold up to the brush and paint, especially due to the heavy water content of watercolour painting. Look into the thickness of the paper as well as the colour (each ‘white’ may differ from store to store) and the texture in terms of how smooth it is on the surface; all these things will have an effect on the outcome of your work.

Understand how the colours will look when dry

Regardless of which watercolour paints you go for (there are some great ones here, they will always look a little different on the page. As you are diluting them with water, they will appear much lighter and thinner than they do in the palette, so it’s a good idea to play around with different amounts of water you add to them to see how you can achieve certain shades.

Test colours first

As briefly mentioned above, testing the colours before you start on your masterpiece is a good idea so you can really get to know them and how you can achieve a range of shades and tones. Watercolour paint dries much quicker than you’d probably imagined, so changing the colour when it’s dry isn’t always easy.


Avoid adding too much water

You of course need a lot of water for watercolour painting, but it’s important you get to know the amount you need to gain your desired shade and to avoid overloading your painting with too much liquid. When it comes to packing up your stuff at the end of a session, clean your brush thoroughly and leave it to dry naturally.

Go from light to dark on the page

Painting from light to dark is generally regarded as the best technique to work with as the white on the page will be a huge factor in determining the colours you achieve. There is a really good video here for beginner techniques that are well worth a watch, too.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

It’s easy to get bored of your vases once you’ve used them for a few months or even years. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to display flowers in unique and creative ways. The following are also handy if you were treated by surprise to some next day flowers at Flowers Same Day and find you are out of vases.

Once you start using our suggestions you will find yourself looking at all types of old containers in a different way. There are plenty of items around the house you can use as a vessel to display your beautiful bouquet and other bits and pieces you can recycle for off-beat displays. Use your creative flair to add design flourishes to any of the following:

Light bulbs

Carefully cut the base off the bottom of a light bulb to insert smaller stemmed flowers. Stand the bulb upside down on a ring. A bright idea!

Pens and pencils

Tape a collection of colourful pens and pencils together from the inside to form a roll to put around the flower stems then decorate with a nice ribbon.

Watering Can

Now an established alternative to the vase, a watering can makes for a wonderfully off-beat flower display. They also have the added advantage of having a handle so you can hang them on the wall.


Wine bottle

A favourite with restaurants and a convenient way to show off your excellent taste in wine. You can also use bottles of spirits such as gin and whisky which often come in more ornate bottles.

Paper cones

A creative way to adorn your new bouquet is to create a cone from beautiful wrapping paper, a nicely designed magazine cover or some sheet music.


Another reason to raid the recycle bin: Keep in mind your florist delivery next time you finish off a large pickle jar. You could even decorate the glass with a painted pattern to give your vase that handmade touch.

Paint Cans

Carefully decorated or shabbily stylish paint cans can hold the biggest of bouquets.

Old Wellies and Boots

A novel use of those wellies that don’t fit any more. A row of wellington boots with flowers in look wonderfully wacky.

Food cans

Take the labels off used food cans to provide a rustic looking vessel for smaller flowers. 

Poster tube

Just had a new print delivered? Poster tubes can be easily decorated with paint, paper or pen.


Diversify the use of your gravy boat or drinks jugs with a fresh bunch of flowers.


Test tubes

Although hard to find you will occasionally see these scholastic design classics in charity shops. Also available: boiling flasks, desk tidies and ink pots.

Old Chimney pots

Another item that can be hard to find but are often up for sale at auctions or specialist shops.

Disclosure: This is a collaboration post.