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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.

Grooming

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.

What do you do on-line?

Most of my time is spent catching up on blogs, tweeting, writing my own blogs and on Facebook, where I help to run a group for bloggers.  Some of the people I chat to are old friends from school, some are fellow bloggers and some people follow my blog. I chat to people I have never met in my life and am unlikely to ever meet and some people I have only met a few times. Some on-line friends I have known for as long as I have been with my husband, others, just less than a year but I still count them as friends. The majority of my friendships are now on-line.  While I talk to mums at the school during pick up times, I'm not sure if they are friends, although recently following major surgery, I have had lots of offers of help with the pick up (my husband does the drop off).

Many people think that on-line friendships aren't genuine and I have to disagree.  The support, encouragement, advice and general listening ears I have received, particularly in recent months, is amazing.  In fact, there are one or two people I only know online, who I have never met that I would class as a close friend.

However, there are times when I am awake in the early hours and just can't get to sleep, so what do I do then? I come online still but I play games. Sometimes if I am feeling lucky, I play casino type games. You can play 300+ casino games at netbet.co.uk which I think is great; a huge variety of games all on one site and there are a number of different offers available too.

I spend a huge amount of my time online, probably too much when I think about it although I am making an effort to cut it down.

How do you spend your time online? Do you think you spend too much time online?

Looking for ideas for a magical family day out in London? Read on for plenty of hints tips and inspiration for a memorable, magical trip to remember.

All props to you

Where other than Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour for a magic fix? For confirmed Potterheads seeking guaranteed mystery and wonder, there's only one place in London to go. Hop on to the train at London Euston and take the short twenty minute dash to Leavesden where all eight of the Harry Potter films were shot. Revel in all things Hogwarts on the Harry Potter tour. See Dumbledore's circular office, marvel at the scale of The Great Hall, fly on a broomstick and see for real iconic props such as the sorting hat, Gryffindor's Sword and The Mirror of Erised. Take a stroll down Diagon Alley and see up close the costumes of your favourite characters. Slurp down a refreshing Butterbeer in the canteen and grab yourself a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans to keep your energy levels up. The wizarding world is captured in all its glory on the Harry Potter Studio Tour and avid fans won't want to leave its enchanting orbit.

It's no wonder this attraction has become one of the leading draws for visitors from all over the world since its doors opened three years ago. Prices start at £33 for adults and £25.50 for children (5 -15). Under fours enter for free. For a small extra charge (£35.45) get the bonus bundle of digital guide, paperback souvenir and tour ticket. Family tickets are £101 and cover two adults and two children, or one adult and three children.

Fun central

It may take time to come down to earth after the dizzy heights of Quidditch and Hippogriffs, but after your experience with Harry and co. why not head into central London for more thrills and exploration?

When seeking things to do in London, keep an eye out for the blue and white tourist information office signs. These offices are staffed by friendly and knowledgeable people, ready to offer advice on things to do and places to see.

Family trips should involve a blend of attractions for everyone. The Harry Potter Tour appeals to all ages, adults and children alike. Another place which fascinates all, young and old, is The Tower of London. The Beefeater Tour is enjoyed by many – hear about the queens who were beheaded at The Tower, marvel at the intricate uniforms of the Yeoman Warders who protect the Crown Jewels and see the glossy black ravens who live there too.

harry potter
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next, why not hop on an open topped bus for a sightseeing tour of London? Whether it's Buckingham Palace, The Gherkin or London Eye that takes your interest, most bus tours allow you to hop on and off as and when you please.

Many London museums and art galleries welcome visitors free of charge, so you can pop in to as many as you like. For ancient history, science, applied arts, portraits, grand masters and modern art, London has it covered.

A family trip needs to appeal to everyone, so why not guarantee a successful adventure by heading first to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour, then follow this up with an itinerary packed with London's other magical attractions.

This post was contributed by Dave Edwards

 

While we all love adding bouquets of flowers such as those available from serenataflowers.com to our tables, this isn’t the only way to use them in your home.

Read on and discover six ways to add flowers which you never realised were possible.

1. Make potpourri

Dry and dead flowers haven’t lost their use. Mix with fresh herbs, dry leaves, pinecones and some essential oils and create your own beautiful and sweet-smelling potpourri.

flowers

2. Hang them in a wreath

Think flowers can only be displayed in a vase? Think again! Interweave different seasonal flowers around a circular backing and create your own stunning wreath to hang inside or outside.

flowers

3. Leave them in their vases

Something I often do myself is to leave bouquets in their vase once they’ve dried out. You may want to dry the flowers separately by hanging them but once rearranged they can create some interesting focal points – especially if combined with other decorative elements like peacock feathers, wicker baskets and candles.

flowers

4. Lay them down

Flowers don’t have to be upright to be beautiful. Lay single stems across tables for an interesting centrepiece. This works especially wells at parties and flowers that naturally grow across long stems, like orchids, look particularly great.

flowers

5. Float them in water

A glass bowl of water with floating petals can make an interesting centrepiece at a dinner party. You can even create smaller displays using a single flower and a smaller bowl or add candles for added romance.

flowers

6. Eat them!

Don’t confine flowers to simply decorating the dinner table – bring them into the main feast! Many flowers are edible but you can always use particularly distinctive buds and petals as decoration for cakes, deserts and other sweet treats. They can be either placed on the food itself or beside it on the plate depending on your preference.

flowers

Images

Potpourri: http://pixabay.com/en/season-autumn-leaves-fragrance-183191/

Wreath: http://pixabay.com/en/decoration-wreath-fall-natural-505430/

Dried flowers: http://pixabay.com/en/roses-dried-flowers-basket-651079/

Orchid: http://pixabay.com/en/flowers-flowering-twig-spring-101868/

Floating flower http://pixabay.com/en/water-lily-lily-bowl-flower-yellow-64126/

Edible flowers: http://pixabay.com/en/cake-tea-coffee-flower-restaurant-374044/

Disclosure: Partnered post

 

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.

From bumps and cuts, to burns and falls, there’s no denying that children are accident-prone. While knocks and scrapes are common occurrences around the home and inevitable parts of a child’s development, it’s important to identify the risks to prevent serious injuries from occurring. By understanding potential household dangers and taking a few basic safety measures, you can create a secure and comforting environment for your little ones.

First Aid

Having a well-stocked first aid kit is a must-have in any home and should include all the vital components to help you treat common injuries. At the very least, your kit should include burn dressings, gauze roll, sterile dressing, eye pads and an assortment of plasters. You may also want to incorporate a number of helpful tools, such as tweezers to remove splinters, scissors to cut bandages and safety pins to secure dressing in place. If you feel that you lack the knowledge on how to use your medical supplies, or simply want to learn more about how you and your children can stay safe at home, first aid training providers such as Phoenix Health and Safety offer a number of comprehensive first aid courses. Once you have acquired the know-how to use the contents of your first aid kit, you can feel confident in the knowledge that you can act safely and promptly if faced with an emergency situation.

Child-proofing your home

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, over one million children end up in hospital after injuring themselves at home.The good news is, the majority of these accidents are preventable. To create a safe environment for your kids, it’s important to assess your home for lurking hazards. Try to put yourself in the mindset of a child and consider the most common causes of accidents; open flames, hot water, household chemicals and sharp objects are among the most common contributors. Once you have identified the risks, you can start to think of ways to minimise the dangers. For example:

● Put safety guards around staircases and fireplaces and fit shatter-resistant film over glass doors, low window panes and greenhouses.
● Make sure potentially dangerous items, such as cleaning products, medicines and matches, are kept out of reach from little hands, preferably in a locked cupboard.
● Board up any areas that a toddler could crawl through or get stuck in and make sure that any pieces of furniture that could be pulled over are secured.
● Place child-locks on drawers that contain sharp objects and use child-resistant lids on hazardous household products.
● To prevent falls, keep chairs and other objects that children can climb on away from windows, balconies and kitchen surfaces.
● Heated appliances should also be switched off immediately after they have been used, including ovens, hobs, hair straighteners and irons.
● You should also make sure that you dispose of dangerous chemicals, glass and household waste carefully.

Good practice

No matter how well equipped you may be, you still need to keep a watchful eye out for possible dangers. Young children are naturally curious, and because their ability to perceive their surroundings is still undeveloped, they are more likely to incur injuries when left unsupervised. Of course, the older a child gets, the less supervision they will need, but it’s still not a good idea to leave them to their own devices for long periods of time.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the safety measures you take should be appropriate to your child’s stage of development. For example, toddlers will often put objects in their mouths, so make sure not to leave any small items lying around that they may be able to swallow or choke on. Older children, on the other hand, will be able to climb and reach objects that are higher up. As such, it’s a good idea to turn saucepan handles inwards, use the back hobs while cooking where possible and keep any dangerous items safely out of reach.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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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.

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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

OneDad3Girls

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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.

Financial emergencies; we all have them. Whether it's an overspend on the weekly grocery shopping, the car failing it's MOT or an appliance giving up the ghost, the chances are most of us will know what it is like to feel financially stretched at some time or another.

In times gone by, many people would have had a small cushion to fall back on. These days things are very different. With prices on everything from food to fuel on the rise and wages stagnating, the purse strings are somewhat tighter leaving many with little to no financial fall back. The result is that even a minor overspend one month can leave a family struggling the following month.

Regular readers will know that my family has recently been on a holiday. However, as I received my regular income whilst we were away, we completely forgot to budget in any money for our usual living costs. When we did get home, it quickly dawned on us that we hadn't left much money for the following week until the next benefit payment was due. So we didn't budget so well after all!

Most of us have credit cards for emergencies and I am no exception. Yes, I should have thought ahead to the week or two beyond our holiday and budgeted better but I didn't. I  reserve mine for genuine emergencies and most of the time I am able to pay it off each month because of that. That said, when I was young, free and single (with a splash of being irresponsible thrown in) and got my first credit card, an emergency was seeing the last pair of gorgeous winter boots in my size that I just had to have or a night out the week before pay-day after a bad week at work.

These days an emergency is a lot more than a wardrobe update or a bottle of wine on a Friday night and I am (slowly) getting better at financial management. Having been without a credit card for many years until a few months ago, it's nice to know I now have that little cushion, for emergency use only.