Top Tips For Moving Home

[AD] They say that moving house is up there with the top three most stressful things in life alongside the loss of a loved one, divorce or loosing a job – and I would have to say I agree to a point. Although with a bit of forward thinking and organising a lot of this stress can be alleviated and made into the exciting new adventure it should be.

Moving house puts strain on you both physically and emotionally. The expense of it all, the packing, the trying to fit everything into a tight schedule, along with cutting emotional ties can be overwhelming. But if we sit back and think of the exciting new journey ahead and set a plan to minimise the stress then moving can be turned into a much more positive experience.

Below I have left some of my top tips for getting ready for the big day and I hope they will be of help:

Book Your Removal Firm – The majority of people try to move over a weekend, which means that slots for good removal firms such as The Removal Man – House Removal get booked up well in advance. Different companies offer different packages so you need to make sure that the one you chose fits your specific needs.

Checklists – Start to make a list as soon as the ball starts rolling on your move. The list can start with things that can be done well before your moving date, right up to the big day and beyond.

Declutter – This is one of those things on the list that can be done well before moving day. You will be suprised by how much stuff you have collected over the years and for me getting this sorted is always a huge weight off of my mind.

Start by sorting things that can be sold on selling sites or given to charity and then sort the rest by taking stuff to the dump or even hiring a skip.

Packing – Label, label, label. One of the most infuriating things is moving into a new home and having to root around hundreds of boxes looking for things are they have been randomly packed or not labelled.

Think of each room separately and keep the contents in the boxes solely for that room. As well as labelling it for the said room also add an idea of what each box contains i.e. plates, kids clothes, bathroom accessories.

Sort Paperwork – Make sure that all paperwork is stored in the same, safe place that is easily accessible. Once this is sorted go through everything and make sure all the people such as banks, doctors etc know about your move. It is also a good idea to use the Royal Mail redirection service to make sure nothing gets missed.

We learnt the hard way with this and had a huge credit card bill run up by a new card going to an old address!

Utility Bills – Getting things like this sorted early makes for less of a headache. Making sure that things like broadband providers are booked in to your new adress in plenty of time means you haven’t got to wait to get things going once you are moved in.

Take all your meter readings for gas and electricity so that final bills can be met and you can start a fresh in your new home.

And most importantly of all enjoy it! Embrace the new start, look forward to your new journey and take it all in as you go!

The Mary Rose Museum:1545 Immersive Experience When Their World Ended

[PRESS EVENT] In 1982 the world watched on as the infamous Mary Rose was bought back to the surface after the devastating sinking of the ship back in 1545 which is still one of the biggest mysteries in nautical history. It stands to this day to be the biggest historical excavation of its kind with over 19 thousand artefacts recovered from the wreckage.

One of the most devestating facts about the sinking of the Mary Rose is that 500 men lost thier lives that day and the new immersive experience, 1545-When Their World Ended at The Mary Rose Museum has been added to the museum to celebrte those lives lost.

I was lucky enough to be be invited along to the lauch of this new instillation and from the minute I set foot on the port I was completly taken with the grandeur and wonder it held. We took the short walk along to the museum, passing HMS Victory and were finally greeted by Henry V111 himself.

The first port of call – pardon the pun, was the new experience itself. We had a short introduction and then we were lead into a darkened room where KIng Henry V111 told us tales of the times before we boarded the Mary Rose and got to re-live those final moments whilst the the screen in front of us filled with water and capsised the boat.

This was a great introduction to the musum itslef, where we took in the magic of all the artefacts that have been found from tiny, intricate dice to the full skeleton of a dog that had been on board and the many, many wepons from cannons to cross bows that must hold so many stories.

On thing that excited me most about my visit was the love and passion the flowed from each and every memeber of staff I spoke to. They were more than happy to answer questions, no matter how silly and the knowledge that held was absolutely dumbfounding.

Ive saved the best until last and that really has to be the Mary Rose herself, and to be honest no picture or video can do her justice, she really does have to be seen to be belived – so what are you waiting for!

Four Simple Steps To A More Eco-Friendly Home

Are you trying to make your home more environmentally friendly this year? There are things you can do, both big and small to work towards a more eco-friendly home.

To learn some tips and tricks that can help you with home sustainability, keep reading. When working towards trying to live a more green-conscious life, the home is the perfect place to start.

Stay Conscious About Your Energy Use

The energy you use at home not only affects your energy bill but also has a huge impact on the environment. For starters you should begin to make sure you are not using home utilities more than needed. For example turn off fans, lights and other energy using sources when you leave a room.

Try opening your blinds and shades when daylight is bright enough to light up your home rather than using lamps and lighting. Things like only running your dishwasher when its completely full, or shutting down your electronics when they are not in use can also help.

Additionally making small changes with your heating and cooling system, such as turning temperatures down slightly or or turning them on low can also help.

These little things can add up to make a huge difference in your carbon footprint and your energy spending. The best way to manage your home’s energy production is to install solar panels in your residence. To do so contact Blue Raven Solar today.

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Did you know the kind of products you use can have environmental effects? Harmful chemicals are present in many cleaning products such as bleach, toliet cleaners and even dish soap. When these cleaning products are washed down the drain they end up in rivers and oceans, where they can cause damage to water dwelling animals.

Eco-friendly cleaning products work to do less environmental damage. This can also help to make sure that certain toxic chemicals are not being inhaled by you or your family memebers.

Choose Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

The lightbulbs that you use at home can have an effect on the environment as well as your energy bill. Choosing energy-efficient lightbulbs over traditional ones can help. These lightbulbs tend to last longer, which allows you to not have to change them so often.

Consider Composting

If you have a large household in which you are often cooking, or feel that you are throwing away tons of waste, starting to compost can be a great way to use this waste that would otherwise end up at landfill. Composting your leftover food waste can work towards using this waste in your garden or backyard.

Eco-Friendly Home Tips

Having an eco-friendly home is only getting more and more important as our environmental situation worsens over time. Consider beginning some of these earth-friendly habits to be kind to mother nature while also cutting down on energy cost in no time.

Are you looking for home advice, tips or tricks? if so then head to the ‘interiors’ section of our site today!

Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Moissanite Jewellery

It might seem hard to believe, but diamonds are slowly moving over to make space for a relative newcomer on the engagement jewellery scene – moissanite. Chances are you have heard the name before, but not quite known what it was. Practically, on an appearance and performance level, this amazing stone is similar to a diamond, but its origins, production process and price point are a whole other story!

Far from being a cheapie or a knock off, moissanite is a stone that can hold its own in a landscape that has, for years, been dominated by diamonds. But with the rising cost of living, and the astounding amounts of money that goes into purchasing a diamond, it’s no wonder that people are looking for sustainable alternatives.

What is Moissanite?

In its unprocessed state, Moissanite is known as Silicon Carbide (SiC). This compound was discovered in the 1800s by Henri Moissan, a French scientist. Although the fact that the compound was discovered near a meteorite crater, which led to years of speculation that moissanite might have originated in space, this is not the case. Moissanite is easily produced at a low cost in a lab setting, which is largely how the price is kept very manageable.

Things to bear in mind when you are shopping for moissanite.

From its amazing, brilliant qualities to its accessible pricing range, there are many things playing in favour of moissanite diamond rings. Another factor is its durability. Rated 9.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, a noticeably short way behind diamonds, which score a 10, it is essentially just as hard and durable as diamond. You can expect to get the same kind of wear from it, and its high resistance to chipping and cracking makes it a solid favourite amongst those who are keen on the idea of a diamond alternative.

What colours are available?

Although moissanite is essentially a “white” stone, it comes in a range of hues or tints, similarly to a diamond. The colour integrity of the stone is what determines its overall desirability and value, and although the untrained eye will struggle to see the difference, tints can vary between yellow, grey, and white. Some stones can even include grey, green, or yellow tints, which is not traditionally desirable. The clearer and more colourless the stone, the greater its value and desirability. Unfortunately, as the value goes up, so does the cost of the stone.

Let’s talk about the colour range and finding your way amongst the different classifications. The clearest and most colourless samples sit in the D-E-F colour range and very closely resembles a diamond. The next grading is known as “near colourless”, which falls under G-H-I.

Moissanite puts the engagement ring of your dreams into reach, without the need to compromise your finances or put yourself into debt. All the sparkle and toughness of a diamond are yours to have and enjoy, at a much lower price tag – what’s not to love?

* collaborative post

Epilepsy And Us

[AD] The word epilepsy always conjured up visions of people falling to the floor and convulsing. I always thought this was a blanket type effect of the disease and anyone suffering from epilepsy would have limits to their life due to their disease.

I had a very limited understanding about epilepsy as this wasn’t something that had ever affected me directly. However, this all changed just before we all went into lockdown this year, when we noticed some changes in Oscar. 

For a while, he had been what we originally thought was rolling his eyes at us. This would happen several times a day, but we just put it down to a habit he had got into. This was until one day when we were chatting with him, he started to lose balance and completely ‘left the room’ for a few seconds. A trip to the doctor and then a referral to the hospital saw us talking with neurologists and having an EEG, as they were sure he was suffering from absence seizures. Absence seizures are characterized by short, sudden and unpredictable episodes of impairment of consciousness lasting no longer than 30 seconds (Holmes, 2008, p. 124).

The results from the EEG came back showing something a little different from what they were expecting, and until now it is still a work in progress to get to the bottom of the type of epilepsy Oscar is actually suffering from.  What I wasn’t expecting when we got this diagnosis was the worry that it has caused. These few second periods of absence seizures can have such a huge effect on his day in so many different ways. 

Imagining the possibility of him having a seizure by the side of the road and slipping off the curb, or by the edge of a pond and then falling in, keeps us on alert with him at all times now, just in case something like this happens. You just can’t be complacent, as I found out when we were out the other day. Oscar had rushed off ahead of us and started to climb by himself. By the time I rushed to get to him, I saw his eyes going and he fell off of the edge of the climbing frame. 

Those few split seconds when Oscar ‘blacks out’ could potentially cause harm to him, and so the whole family is now on alert around him at all times to keep him safe. His seizures are also brought on by getting out of breath, so it’s been a bit of a challenge to try and stop a super active six year old from getting out of breath! 

With that said, I still want him to lead a full and exciting life despite his epilepsy. We just need to ensure he is safe whilst doing so, even if this does mean me scaling climbing frames and swinging through trees with him. 

Of course, there are a whole host of medications out there to help control these seizures and we are on this journey now. It’s been a bit of trial and error and there have been some bumps along the way, but I have everything crossed that we will find something that works for him soon.

One thing that we have found out since his diagnosis is an understanding of why he had been struggling at school. Can you imagine being six years old and listening to your teacher explaining something. During this conversation, losing a few seconds of what is being said can cause the entire conversation to be lost on you. This in turn means you have no idea what you should be doing in class, and then end up trying to bumble through your day without any knowledge of what’s going on. I suspect that this is what has been happening for a while now for Oscar, and would explain why he has fallen behind in school. Hopefully, this can now be worked around, so he can thrive at school again. 

This series of incidents made me aware of how much knowledge I lacked about this disease. Apart from our doctor, I have found forums and sites are a great place to speak to others going through the same thing as well. GSK also has a disease awareness campaign called ‘Life Is Calling’ which has been a great platform to learn more about epilepsy and how it affects all kinds of people from all over the world.

Oscar’s diagnosis may have been a shock to us all, but he has taken it all in his stride. He has done so well with trying out medications that have had him feeling a little rubbish at times, and has adapted well to me having to pull in the reins when we are out and about. 

Yes, things have changed, and yes we need to be aware, but this has not and will not stop Oscar leading a full life. I can’t wait to be on this journey with him!

Tips For Buying A Get Well Soon Gift

[AD] When someone you care about is unwell, or they’re recovering from a surgery, or injury, it’s nice to let them know that you’re always thinking of them. Even if you can’t visit the person every day in hospital, sending a get well soon gift and a card can remind a person in a bad place that they’re not alone, and they have people who care about them waiting to see them.

The only problem is, it can be difficult to determine what kind of get well soon gift is best. Do you stick with flowers, or go for something entirely different? Here are some tips to help you decide.

Consider the Individual – What’s going to make your friend feel best when they’ve been poorly? Are they the kind of person who would love a home-made batch of soup and cookies delivered to them, or would they prefer a jokey card and something funny to make them laugh? They say laughter is the best medicine, but it’s best to avoid anything that might come across in poor taste.

Just like you would with any gift, it’s important to keep context in mind. How old is the person? If they’re young, maybe they’d like something soft and cuddly to make them feel safe during this difficult time? If they’re a little older, they might like a pair of cosy slippers to wear while they’re in hospital. Sites like UKGifts can be a huge help in helping track down that perfect gift based on the person’s hobbies, interests or lifestyle.

Be Practical – One of the most important things you’ll need to consider when choosing a get well soon gift, is the nature of the ailment. If the person you’re gifting has been struggling with a flu where they can barely get any food down them, you probably shouldn’t send a basket of cupcakes. Think about whether the person in question can actually get use out of this present.

When someone isn’t feeling well, the first thing they’re going to want is an item that can make their lives easier. This could mean that you fill their freezer with meals so they don’t have to cook when they get home, or you get them an extra blanket so they can stay comfortable when they’re on a chilly ward. Consider practicality first.

Be Considerate – Before you send someone a bunch of flowers straight to their hospital room, think about whether they’re in a ward with other people who may be allergic. A lot of hospitals won’t allow people to keep flowers in an open ward where other people are staying right now. It might be better to wait until they get out of the hospital and take flowers to their home instead.

In the same way, think about how your gift might annoy other people around the hospital if that’s where the person is. A singing bear that doesn’t shut up might be funny at first, but when it’s keeping a bunch of unwell people awake all night, it starts to get a little more upsetting. Be considerate and think about everyone who might be affected by the gift.

Stick with Something Simple – If you’re not sure what your friend or loved one would want to make them feel better right now, it’s best to stick to the simple things. No-one can be unhappy with a bunch of flowers – no matter how cliché it might be. You can also think about putting some cash in a card, or giving them vouchers that they can use when they get out of the hospital, so they have something fun to look forward to. Try to avoid anything that’s too over the top if you’re uncertain.

People who feel unwell are generally more emotional, so you don’t want to give them anything that’s going to end up making them upset, instead of getting the smile that you’re hoping for. If all else fails, think about how you can make their life a little easier for them. Maybe your gift could be going and tidying their house, so they don’t have to do that when they feel better?

Ask if They Need Anything – Finally, ask them if there’s anything they really need to make this experience a little better. They might have a food that they particularly crave, or they might want some ear plugs so that they can sleep a little easier in a busy hospital. It might seem like cheating to ask for tips, but your friend or loved one will appreciate that you’re taking their needs into consideration.

What Makes Our Family Special – Guyana:Review

[GIFTED] “Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all the same” is something I’ve always reminded my little ones of. We often talk about all the different factors that make families special and celebrate this. I am ashamed to admit though that being a blended family ourselves with my father in law coming from Mauritius we haven’t really delved into what life is like there, how people live and how it differs to here in the UK and this is exactly what the beautiful book – What Makes Our Family Special GUYANA by Danielle Clarke does.

Our thoughtfully hand wrapped booked arrived with a hand written note attached from the stars of the book, along with some colouring sheets which was such a lovely touch. Oscar opened the package with such excitment and the beautiful, colourful illustrations from Lily Carver immediately caught my eye.

Evie and Isla are tucked up in bed and all set and for a special bedtime story about their Guyanese grandparents when they are transported on an adventure to Guyana; learing lots of facts about this gorgeous county. While they are there they come across a distressed river otter who’s baby is trapped under a huge log. Working together as a team, they manage to free the baby otter and head back home with dreams of Guyana and their exciting adventures.

This book allows children to think about how different families are up and this is what makes each one so special, they are able to learn a whole host of facts about Guyana…I learnt more than a few myself and finally it shows how coming together as a team gets is always the best way the job done.

Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated and most importantly a very important message delivered in the perfect way! Oscar absolutely loved this book and we are egarly awaiting the next in the series!

Twelve Days Of Christmas With Elvis The Elf

[AD] Elf On Shelf has taken homes by storm over the past few years and although this cute little fellow may be a bit like Marmite, over 14 million elves have settled in people’s home all over the world.

The children get such excitement to find out each morning what their elf has been up to and it’s the task of the parents to think up something different and exciting each day.

This year has been one like no other and I think it’s even more important than ever to bring a little magic into our homes…as we are set to be spending a lot of time in them this year; and this is where Elvis the Elf has come to the rescue with some slightly more interactive setups to the norm.

Traditionally things like the elf wrapping the tree in paper or stealing the Christmas chocolates are used, and although this is all super fun it’s a little short lived after the initial surprise. So this is why with the help of Design who are the masters of paper cutting templates – I have twelve days worth of set ups to share with you that allow the children to get really hands on with all the tasks Elvis has set them.

Thirty one days to fill can be a little daunting so as we know every cloud has a silver lining and due to the pandemic it means the sneaky little elf has had to quarantine for two weeks, giving him a whole fourteen days inside his little jar!

Day One:Get Cooking It would be Christmas without some baking so day one sees Elvis with a baking kit for the children and some little flour elf footprints leading the way there.

Baking kit

Footprint stencil

• Sprinkle of flour

The set up for this is simple. Just leave all the baking ingredients with Elvis and use the stencil and a sprinkling of flour to make the footprints.

Day Two:Kitting Him Out Mask wearing is the norm now and Elvis isn’t exempt from this. Day two sees Elvis sporting his Christmassy face mask with all the materials he you need to make him a new outfit to match.

• Mini Face Mask

• Fabric Squares

• PVA Glue

• String

This set up couldn’t be simpler. Find somewhere to place Elvis with his mask on and then leave the fabric, glue and string next to him so you are all good to go with your creations.

Day Three:Colouring In – This is such a busy time of year so something to keep the kids busy is always welcome. So Elvis has left the kids some colouring sheets to keep them busy.

Colouring Sheets

• Pack Of Pens

This one couldn’t be easier to do. Print a few Christmas colouring sheets off and leave them with Elvis and a pack of pens. maybe Elvis can even get things started!

Day Four:Mr Postman – Who doesn’t love receiving Christmas cards! Elvis has kindly brought a card for all the family and left all the materials you need to make your very own card for someone special.

Mini Card

• Card Paper and Envelope

• Card Decorations

• Pens

Set Elvis up with his mini card on his lap and everything you need for your own card next to him.

Day Five:Handmade Decorations – Decorations with a little thought behind them are something I really love and Elvis leaving everything you need to make your own decorations and one he has made himself is a lovely touch.

• Handmade Bauble

• Clear Fillable Bauble

• Fake Snow

• Bauble Filler

• Stickers

If your tree is up then that would be the perfect place to put Elvis with the decoration he has gifted and all the pieces to make your own.

Day Six:Scavenger Hunt Lockdown has sent us all a little stir crazy and with super excited, hyper active kids it’s good to get them out in the fresh air to get some exercise and burn off some energy; and this is why Elvis’s scavenger hunt is such a good idea.

A printed scavenger hunt

Leave the scavenger hunt alongside Elvis and just get ready to have some fun!

Day Seven:Naughty Or Nice – As the excitement builds things can get a little frayed so Elvis leaving a letter to Santa to check if the children think they have been good this year is perfect!

Printed letter to Santa

• Christmas pen

This is another super easy one and Elvis can be left just about anywhere with his letter and pen.

Day Eight:Window Display – With lots of people still out and about getting their daily exercise Elvis has decided to cheer up all the passers by with some window decorations and all the things you need to add your own.

• Scandi House Window Stencils

• Blue-tac

• Patterned paper

Simply fill your window with the pretty stickers and wait for the children to come and put their own spin on it!

Day Nine:Gifts Are For Giving – Teaching children the importance of giving is so important and this is why Elvis has left a little box of chocolates to pass into somebody else.

Leave Elvis all set and ready with his chocolates to give to someone they love.

Day 10:An Act Of Kindness – Keeping

With the theme of thinking of others Elvis has left a list of acts of kindness that the children can then carry out, such a writhing a letter to someone or donating food to a local food bank.

• Act of kindness sheet

• Something to do with one of the tasks they may carry out

This one can be set up with the sheet along or with something to do with one of the tasks. I have gone with tins we can take to the food bank.

Day Eleven:Setting The Table – With the big day just around the corner Elvis is thinking about this place at the dinner table and has come with a place name and a milk bottle ready to leave for Santa, plus some card and a pen for the kids to write out place names for everyone else!

Leave Elvis all ready with his place name, bottle and plenty of card for the children to get creative.

Day Twelve:Get Wrapping – The final bits of prep are underway and Elvis is all prepared with his wrapping and bowl of popcorn to watch a movie at the same time.

• Small confectionary pot

• Bag of popcorn

• Sheet of wrapping paper

• Christmas gift tag

• Washi Tape

Pop Elvis in front of a Christmas movie with all you need for wrapping presents and fill Elvis’s popcorn pot up, saving the rest for the kids…and you!

Getting Ready For World Book Day With Viking

[GIFTED] World Book Day often fills parents with dread, but I love it for so many reasons. It gives the children the opportunity to use their imagines and recall all their favourite stories from over the years.

For reluctant readers and can give them a more creative way to look at reading and this is exactly what I have been doing with Viking.

I was sent a gorgeous parcel of craft materials to create something around the theme of World Book Day; included in this was a gorgeous book of book craft creations. They were all stunning, but super delicate and with my youngest two being bundles of destruction I wanted to create something for them that would stand the test of time.

I simply took a piece of A4 black card and onto that randomly stuck some pages from old books – the older and more dishevelled the better.

Then I look some pages that were partly blank and using the old typewriter style alphabet stamps I printed out a couple of quotes from one of our favourite authors – Roald Dahl.

One complete I roughly tore the page until it was a good fit and put in place on top of the pages.

Lastly I placed inside a pretty frame and it was all ready to take up home next to the boys bookcase to give them a little reminder every time they walked past.

I have lots of other ideas running through my head so watch this space for more book crafts to come!

Making Family Time With Deliveroo

[AD] Meal times in our house work a little like a hotel with sitting. It’s a one in one out kind of affair where I find myself serving meals from around 5pm to as late as 10pm.

My husband says I have made a rod for my own back but with so many different commitments that we all have from after school clubs, work and play dates it can be hard to get everyone together at the same time.

It is however important to me to try and carve out a few family meals times at least once a week and we recently tried this with the help of Deliveroo.

Deliveroo offers restaurant quality food to your door in around 30 minutes from a large selection of local restaurants that are selected for you on their easy to use app after you have filled out a few simple questions.

The children enjoyed scrolling through all the different cuisines from the usual kind of takeaway foods such a fish and chips and curry, but we were presently surprised to see our favourite – sushi.

Using the super easy drop down menu they all decided what dishes they wanted and it was delivered by the super friendly delivery driver in just over 30 mins.

The ease of order, great selection of restaurants and the speed in which it was delivered were all big bonuses for us and allowed us to spend some rare time together sharing good food with arguments only over who was getting the last California roll – and this is why 89% of 130 Mumsnet testers would recommend Deliveroo to friends and family, qualifying them as Mumsnet rated.