Blog about all things lifestyle, home, fashion and being a woman.

Spending More Time Outdoors Through Autumn and Winter

 

If there’s been one good thing about 2020, it’s that many of us have spent more time enjoying the great outdoors. With fewer opportunities to socialise, or visit indoor attractions, even those of us that have worked throughout have had far more free time to spend with our household. With all indoor attractions closed, and the added benefits of good weather, many of us have enjoyed long walks, scavenger hunts, runs, bike rides, and time playing in the garden. You might have been outdoors more this summer than you’ve been for a long time. 
But the weather is turning. Rain, wind, and cooler temperatures are forecast in the coming weeks, and other signs of autumn, like earlier sunsets, and falling leaves, are already here. If the turn of the season usually means bundling up indoors, why not make a change in this already crazy year?
Autumn is beautiful. The falling leaves are a cacophony of colour and crunch underfoot, and it’s a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. Staying outside all year helps you to get more exercise and fresh air. It boosts your circulation, and going for walks is significantly cheaper than hitting tourist hotspots every weekend. So, here are some tips to help you to spend more time outdoors as the weather cools. 

Get a Car

Ok, so driving might seem like it defeats the object, but when the weather is bad, sometimes the great outdoors on your doorstep isn’t ideal, and even in good weather, the same sights get boring. A Volkswagen Approved Used car means that you can get further afield more easily and that you’ll have somewhere to shelter if it rains. A car also means that you don’t have to worry about public transport if it snows, or waiting for a bus in a storm.

Have a Plan

In the summer months, you may all be content to walk without much of a destination in mind. The kids might play in the garden for hours, without thought. In the winter, this becomes harder. Walks aren’t as appealing without a destination. 
So, make plans. Go out with a route in mind, and something fun, like a pub lunch at the end. 

Find Outdoor Activities

In the winter, many outdoor tourist attractions close. But others, like pop-up ice rinks, come to life. Other outdoor activities include seasonal scavenger hunts, mini-beast hunts, and bike rides. 

Start Your Days Earlier

In the summer you can go out after lunch and still enjoy a full day away from home. By mid-winter, it is dark by 4 pm, and you may not want to stay out as long anyway. Get up earlier, leave the house after breakfast, and try to get as much out of your days as you can. 

Wrap Up Warm

Invest in good waterproof shoes and coats for the whole family. Then, dress in light layers that are easy to remove if you get hot walking or running around. 

Book Some Leave

Most of us use up our holiday days over summer and around Christmas, which might mean that it’s easier to book during the autumn. Book a short break, and enjoy cosy stargazing walks, hikes through the woods, and adventures away from home. You might find that you actually enjoy your holiday more away from the crowds. 

Everything You Need to Know About Moving Into a Rented Property


There are countless types of housing out there to suit different individuals’ needs. There tend to be pros and cons that come hand in hand with each. Now, you’ll probably find that most of the information that you find on moving into a new property tends to revolve around people who are buying their own property. But what about rental properties? Renting is becoming increasingly popular nowadays. For some people, it is the only logical option. The price of living is on the rise, while wages remain stagnant. It can prove nigh on impossible to save a deposit when paying your landlord’s mortgage or income through rent, so you remain within the cycle of renting. For others, renting is a choice. It provides freedom to move regularly and means you aren’t tied down to one location. Either way, there are a number of steps you need to take to make moving into a rental property as smooth and convenient as possible. Here are a few to add to your to-do list.
Arrange Your Finances
First things first, you need to make sure that your finances are in order if you’re planning on renting a property. You’re likely to have to undergo a credit check to be approved on a property, as your potential landlord is going to want to ensure that you can be trusted to pay your rent and bills on time each month. Plus, there are all sorts of costs entailed in moving home and you need to make sure that you can cover them! If you have a poor credit score, it’s time to start working on it sooner rather than later. You can improve your score by paying your bills on time, minimising the amount of debt you owe and taking simple steps like adding yourself to the electoral register. In terms of getting the funds together to move, you will need to start saving. Costs that you may need to cover can include putting a deposit down, covering your first month’s rent, money to set up services such as internet, removal company costs to get your belongings over and investing in items that the property may require, such as furniture or appliances that may not be included. If you don’t have time to save, you can always consider Buddy Loans Guarantor Loans, which will provide you with the money up front. You can then pay the sum back in instalments plus interest once you’ve already moved into the property.


Decide Where You Want to Rent
Once you’ve got your finances in order, you need to decide exactly where you want to rent. The perk that comes with renting is that contracts can be relatively short and you can up and move at the end of them. So you might not need to put quite as much emphasis on location as you might if you were literally buying a house. However, you still want to make sure that the location is suitable and ticks all of your boxes. You may want to live close to your work. You may want to live close to your family. You may want to live close to friends. If you use public transport, you may want to live somewhere with good public transport links within walking distance. If you have kids, you may want an area with good schools. There are plenty of other facilities or amenities that you may want to have nearby too! Once you’ve found an area, you can start looking at actual properties.


Deciding What Size Property You Need
Next, how big do you need your property to be? This will whittle down suitable options in your chosen area. Most of us have a set amount of bedrooms and bathrooms in mind. If you're living alone, a studio or one bedroom apartment may be sufficient. If you’ll have more people living in the property, something bigger may be necessary.


View Properties
So, you know where you want to rent and what size property you want to rent. Now you can get to browsing the market and actually viewing properties that are available. We cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of viewing any property you’re interested in before committing to it. Estate agents’ pictures can be misleading and may present a property in a better light than it actually is. Only by visiting and checking the property yourself can you determine whether it’s in good condition and whether it’s somewhere you actually want to live or not. Viewing a property will also give you a brief insight into the area, what the neighbours are like and whether there are other factors that could alter your decision, such as road noise. Make sure all electrics are safe and working, that windows are in place properly, that there isn’t damage to the property and that there aren’t any leaks or mould present.


Read the Terms and Conditions
If you find somewhere suitable, it’s important to read the terms and conditions of your contract thoroughly. You need to ensure that the correct amounts are listed and that all clauses are fair. Most rented properties will come with an inventory, detailing what state the property was in when you moved in and what furnishing or appliances were present. This should have images. Make sure that all of this information is accurate. If anything is damaged or differs from the images in the agreement when you move in, make sure to have this altered in the inventory before signing it. This will make sure that you are not held liable for the costs of repairs or for damage that existed in the property before you moved in when you do eventually move out.


Of course, these are just a few aspects of renting a property that you should be aware of. But hopefully, the above information will help you to undertake the process as seamlessly as possible!


Tips For A Beautiful Outdoor Space

 Over the coronavirus lockdown, you might have found home-improvement projects have kept you sane. Around the world, homeowners have taken this extra time spent indoors to re-decorate, rearrange, and reorganize their living space. However, due to social distancing measures and lockdowns in place, it has been practically impossible for any larger renovations to happen. This has been frustrating for those who had scheduled work to be done on their property, or wished that they could have used the extra time to totally revitalize their space!


Nevertheless, with social distancing measures beginning to relax, it is becoming easier and easier to renovate your space, particularly if this renovation is happening outdoors. Your garden might be big enough for fun and games with the family, but are you utilizing your outdoor space to its maximum potential?


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Hedging


This is probably the least-known-about factor of garden landscaping. Installing and maintaining hedges allows your garden to have more shape, as well as increasing the privacy of your garden. In addition, hedges provide a perfect habitat for wildlife to nest, making your garden into a haven for little creatures to call home.


Choosing your hedging is a difficult task - there are so many options. One perfect hedge plant is Thuja Occidentalis, a stunning variation which enhances your garden’s aesthetics and habitat.


Landscaping


A landscaped garden increases the value of your home and provides a stunning space for you and your family. You can make it simple, with clean lines and flowerbeds, or go all-out with water features such as ponds or fountains, raised beds and gravel. Professional landscapers can advise you on color scheme and atmosphere, depending on the size and layout of your existing garden. If you are considering a large outdoor space renovation, contact a landscaping expert for a consultation. Having your garden landscaped is an awesome project with often stunning results.


Growing Your Own Food


If you are interested in being environmentally friendly and keeping your health at the top of its game, consider a vegetable patch and fruit trees. These fabulous additions to your outdoor space don’t only look beautiful, but they provide you and your family with nurturing fruit and veg which help boost your immune system, taste gorgeous and inspire you to appreciate nature. Growing fruit and vegetables is not as hard as it looks, and with a little knowledge and patience, you could be growing your dinner in the garden.


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Depending on where you live and the climate, the types of fruit and vegetables you could potentially grow in your garden will vary. Consult a local gardener or go online to find out the foods that naturally occur in your location, and how you could become a green-thumbed grower in no time at all.


Conclusion


No matter your budget or the size of your outdoor space, you can maximise your property’s potential and value by renovating it. Learn a new skill, find tranquility and encourage nature with a renovated garden that everyone can enjoy.


Massive back to school giveaway.

 Can you believe it is finally the new school year? With everything that has been going on we have kinda forgotten that there is a lot of first-time school milestones about to happen. Whether its the first day of school or moving to a year group. There are lots of things to celebrate. None of us knows what this year will hold so we have to celebrate the wins and this is the new school year and the children finally getting to see their friends and teachers. 

So with that in mind, I have teamed up with some of the UK's top bloggers to offer you a massive giveaway. There is something for everyone in this giveaway. There is school bags for the children and cookbooks for the adults to name a few things. I promise you will not be disappointed. 

Enough of me time to get into what the prize is and how to enter. 

The Back to School Prize Giveaway

With schools due to reopen in September, some of the UK's top bloggers have got together to offer one lucky winner an amazing bundle of prizes for going back to school. This Back to School Giveaway has been organised by Rowena of My Balancing Act who has lots of useful advice on starting school and back to school over on her blog. Read on to find out what you could win:

The Prizes

One lucky winner will win a fabulous Back to School Bundle which includes:

Set of 5 Vintage Chart Educational Prints 30x40 from Ink&Drop


The vintage charts are perfect to keep your kids inspired and you can win the full set! These include the Dinosaur Chart Educational Print, Farm Chart Education Print, Safari Chart Education Print, Woodland Chart Educational Print and Sea Chart Education Print. Not only educational, they will look fantastic in your kids bedroom or playroom.

Rocket Lunch Bag & from SMASH


The Rocket Lunch Bag and Water Bottle from SMASH is a great hit with little wannabe astronauts. The SMASH lunch bag has full insulation with antibacterial lining and has been certified fully food safe. It's the perfect size for school lunches or day trips and can be easily wiped clean. The lunch bag also includes an insulated bottle compartment with a 500ml drink bottle, which is 100% BPA, lead and phthalate free.

Personalised Sports Bag from Treat Republic


This stylish canvas bag that doubles as a gym kit bag or a handy carry-on for the little ones, has a roomy main compartment in which their football kits and shoes can be stored into. There's a small outside pocket that can store keys to lockers, their phones or pocket change. Personalise it with their name and surname to make it their very own - and potentially to stop some friendly sibling rivalry too. A variety of colours are available. Treat Republic have a full back to school range.

School Socks from the Sock Shop


The Sock Shop have a range of school socks and tights. With colours available in the staple black, white and grey, you can ensure that your kids look smart and stick to the dress code! All the items in the Sock Shop school socks range have been made to ensure that your children’s feet stay comfortable from registration to when the last bell rings. Win 5 x School Socks from the Sock Shop including Bamboo Socks with comfort cuff and smooth toe seams (2 pairs), kids school plain cotton socks (2 pairs) and kids casual cotton socks (1 pair).

Stillness Pulse Point Oil from Londe Botanics


The scent of rosemary has been shown to aid short-term memory, while soothing lavender decreases cortisol levels. Londe Botanics has brought them together in their Stillness Pulse Point Oil. Keep it on the desk and apply to wrists, palms or pulse points as needed, gently inhaling the aromatics. Once it's finished, the violet glass bottle also makes a pretty stem vase! Blended from 100% British grown botanicals you can win a gift boxed and packaged in its own drawstring pouch (with a poetry quote), Londe's Stillness Pulse Point Oil. Perfect for students starting the academic year in an uncertain and challenging time.

Colour and Learn Space Explorer Pencil Case from eatsleepdoodle


Kids can discover and colour the stars, planets and spacecraft in our solar system as they store their pens in eatsleepdoodle’s fun colour and learn space explorer pencil case! Get learning the order of the planets ready for school and enjoy colouring the historic moon landing scene too, plus astronauts, rockets and meteors. Especially good news right now: you can wash it as often as you like and have fun recolouring with the enclosed set of 10 pens! eatsleepdoodle space pencil case is a fun, educational and super practical back to school gift for young space explorers.

Usborne Books Periodic Table Jigsaw and Book


Everything in the Universe is made up of just 118 chemical elements which are displayed in the Periodic Table. Meet each element in Usborne Books entertaining book and 300-piece jigsaw set, and discover which are crucial to life, which are smelly, explosive or radioactive and lots more. With links to websites with videos and activities to find out more.

Rocket Bottle from Smash


Rocket Drinks bottle from Smash
This 450ml bottle from Smash features a cool Astronaut design. It's perfect for little ones to take to school with them to keep rehydrated throughout the day. Made from high quality Tritan material, like all Smash products the bottle is 100% BPA Free and certified food safe.

Bamboo Tumbler from Tru Bamboo


This lovely bamboo tumbler from Tru Bamboo is made from Moso bamboo and the interior is made from 100% recyclable pure stainless steel. It’s also BPA free. The tumbler is triple insulated so it not only retains heat for up to 12 hours it also keeps drinks cold for a whole day. Perfect for students going back to school.

2021 Dairy Diary to help parents stay organised!


The 2021 Dairy Diary is the perfect solution for busy parents to help keep the family organised. The Dairy Diary features stunning photography with two beautiful British Butterflies on the front cover. But what the Dairy Diary is really famous for is its recipes. There’s a new one every week. In addition to the recipes, there is all sorts of interesting information on topics such as the Art of Calm, Quirky Museums and Gardening for Wildlife. Of course, there’s everything needed to keep organised – a useful notes pocket, dates stickers, reminders, addresses and even gift lists. All of this, and plenty of space to write appointments, thoughts and plans each day.

Quick After-Work Cookbook from Dairy Diary


Perfect for families on the go, these delicious midweek meals are easy to fit into your busy family life. The Quick After-Work Cookbook features easy, speedy recipes that are delicious and the whole family will love.

Academic Diary, Gel Pens and Metallic Colouring Pencils

We also have an academic diary 2020-2021 with a section for deadlines and exams, 6 pack of Gel Pens in blue and black and a 10 pack of metallic colouring pencils.

Meet The Bloggers

We have over 40 fabulous blogs from amazing UK bloggers taking part in the Back to School Giveaway. These are:
My Balancing Act | Chilling with Lucas | SueFoster.info | Life with Jupiter Hadley | Five From The Swich | Crazy Little Thing Called Love | Soph Obsessed 
Spilling Life Tea| Miss L J Beauty |  Best Brunch or Breakfast | Gin and Cocktail Bars | Best things to do in York | Yorkshire Wonders |Family Travel with Ellie | Recipe for Home | Luxury Hotels and Spa Life | Twins, Tantrums & Cold Coffee
Home in the Pastures | Typical Mummy | Savvy Dad | We Made This Life | Mummy Matters | Savvy Squirrel | Mummy Vs Work | Our House Our Home
Simply Cash Hacks |Two Plus Dogs |Autumn’s Mummy | 4 Freckled Faces |Life Loving | Sophie’s Nursery |
Savvy in Love |The Somerset Foodie | Things to do in Kent | Lylia Rose | The Neary Diaries | LOVEPANDA.CO.UK | Mum Founded
Life with alden jax | Too Tired To |360 Mum | Lovedogs.uk | Easy Peasy Gardens | Money Money Money

How to Enter

You can enter by completing as many options below as you like. The more you complete the more entries you will have and the greater chance of winning the prize! All entries will be collected and one winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

UK entries only The giveaway will run from 12am 16th August 2020 to 12pm 31st of August 2020. The winners will be notified by email from rowena@mybalancingact.co.uk The winner and runners up will have 7 days to respond after which time we reserve the right to select an alternative winner. This prize draw is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest. Prize open to over 18s only. If any prizes are out of stock than a suitable replacement will be found. Anyone who unfollows before the giveaway ends or doesn’t complete the required entry action will be disqualified. The prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for monetary value. We may be using a parcel service for some of the prizes and their standard compensation will apply in the event of loss or damage. Some items may be sent directly by the supplier and we do not have responsibility if these go missing. In the unlikely event one of the companies withdraws a prize we cannot offer an alternative. The winner's name will be stated on some or all of our blogger's websites and announced on twitter and other social media channels. By entering this prize draw you give your permission for this.

4 Unexpected Things That Could Be Killing Your Garden

While most of us are slowly but surely adjusting to life after COVID-19 lockdown, the world outside has nonetheless become a much more threatening place. It feels as though danger lurks around every corner and every stranger is a potential threat to our health and our very lives. As such, while the shops, cafes, restaurants and bars are slowly but surely filling back up, there are many of us who still prefer to relax in the safety and comfort of our own homes. Indeed, this spring and summer has been an opportunity for many to freshen up the place, and make sure it’s conducive to keeping us happy, healthy and relaxed as we navigate this scary new territory together.


Those of us lucky enough to have gardens, however, are granted a blessed reprieve from both the uncertainties of the outdoors and the confinement of the home. Our gardens allow us the mental health benefits that come with spending time in nature, while also giving us privacy and security. Unbeknownst to you, however, you may find that there a number of unexpected threats to your garden’s health. Some of which may be caused by your own habits. Let’s take a closer look...

Your trees

Trees are a beautiful and welcome addition to any garden. They’re stately, they give us privacy and shade in the summer. And they’re fun to the kids to climb. But if they aren’t kept under control, they can become a hazard. They can blow over in strong winds, causing damage to your home or car. They can prevent other plants from getting the sunlight and nutrition they need. The roots can even cause catastrophic damage to pipes. Which is why it’s a good idea to have someone like Sydney Tree Company check on your trees regularly. They can ensure that trees are healthy and in balance with the rest of your garden.

Overzealous mowing

Nobody likes an overgrown lawn. It looks untidy and makes things that nobody wants to tread on less visible. But in your zeal to keep your lawn neatly manicured, don’t fall into the trap of over-mowing it. This habit (known as scalping) can lead to dry, threadbare grass and even bare patches on your lawns. Remember the one-third rule when it comes to mowing your grass. You should never cut more than a third of the leaf blade. This makes it more prone to weeds and leaves less surface area to absorb sunlight for optimal photosynthesis. 

Over watering

When the sun comes out, you may be forgiven for thinking that the plants in your garden need a little extra water. But you should always do your homework before applying hoses or sprinklers. It’s easier than you may think to over-water plants. And this can actually drown them. 

Insects 


Finally, insects can be the bane of your garden, especially if you’re using your garden to grow delicious fresh veggies. From Aphids to Whitefly, the Australian garden is home to a number of unwelcome pests all year round. This guide has some useful information on how to deal with them effectively so that they don’t bring ruin to your beloved outdoor space.

How I save money on jewelry

If there's one thing I can't resist when I'm shopping, it's jewellery. An outfit isn't complete until I've topped it off with something sparkly. But having a jewellery obsession isn't always very healthy for my bank account, even if it improves my wardrobe. Luckily, I have lots of ideas on how to save money when I'm looking for new pieces. I don't need to spend hundreds of pounds every time I get something new. But I don't have to stick to cheap rubbish either. If you know what to look for, you can get quality pieces at lower prices. Here are some of the ways that I save money on my jewellery habit.



Ignore Big Name Brands

Whenever I shop, designer brands can be tempting. But ultimately, I don't care whose name is on whatever I buy. Sometimes a label might indicate that it's a quality piece of jewellery. But often it's not much more than a status symbol. I don't mind buying anything, regardless of whether it's from Swarovski or Argos. You can save money on designer jewellery. However, if you limit yourself to famous brands, you'll have much less to choose from. I think it's best to be open-minded, and you can still find something that you love. Sometimes independent, homemade pieces are best.

Buy Lab-grown Gemstones

Not every piece of jewellery needs to have diamonds or other stones on it. However, I do love a bit of sparkle on anything I buy. Precious stones can be very expensive, though, as everyone knows. Diamonds can be especially costly, even though they come in a range of shapes, colours and sizes that affect the price. An alternative option that can save you money is man-made diamonds. But what are man-made diamonds? They are real diamonds, but instead of being mined, they're made in a laboratory. You can buy other stones that are made in the same way. Not only are they cheaper, but they're more ethical too.

Small Stones Over Large

If you can't resist a sparkly stone, one of my top tips is to choose smaller ones to save money. Lots of little stones on one piece will cost you less than one big stone. Some people don't like the bling look of a cluster of tiny gems, but you don't have to buy something covered in them. A classy line of small gemstones or a few carefully dotted about can look beautiful. Most importantly, it could save you a lot of money without having to compromise on quality.

Look for Discounts

Of course, the best way to save on anything is to look for great deals. I've bagged many a bargain by finding something on sale. As well as going shopping and buying something in-store, you can find loads of incredible offers online. Try checking voucher websites for discounts on lots of different pieces. You can often find shops getting rid of the last of their stock for very cheap prices.

It's easy to save money on jewellery if you know how. You only need a few ground rules and you'll get much more for your cash.
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