To the one I'm learning to love

I've got a new routine. After nursery drop off, I head to a local coffee shop in an attempt to evade the pull of procrastination. However, when a girl has her laptop, she still has a million and one discractions at her fingertips. Yesterday, I found myself cruising around online, looking at sentimental trinkets that might convey my adoration for a special someone. The exercise left me feeling empty, I was pretty sure no one wanted to be the recipient of a gaudy mug or embarrassing keyring and I realised that my true aim was not to make someone else happy but to trigger an outpouring of affection towards me. Today, during the celebration of all things lurve, I have decided to cut out the middle man (or in this case just the man) and offer some appreciation to someone I'm learning to love - myself. 

I like that you share your stories, even the gross ones, because you know that it might help someone feel less alone

I love that you listen because you want to understand, even when the situation seems unkind or unreasonable

It's great that you try to be organised and you never stop trying in the face of repeated failure 

I adore that you sing and dance spontaneously and that you never worry about looking stupid or giving people earworms

I think it's good that you're such a low maintenance friend and that you don't let time or distance affect your bond 

When you make an effort, you have really nice handwriting

You forgive the important people and that's great

It's fab that you always have a pep talk ready 

I love that you call people out when they're treating you like crap but that it doesn't happen often because you don't often let it

It's cute that you give so many kisses to those that will let you 

I adore the joy you get from making others laugh and that you yourself laugh so easily

It's wonderful that you're willing to own up to your failings 

I't great that when you call people beautiful you mean it

Happy Valentine's, show yourself some love!

Staying in is the new going out

The biggest night out of the year will soon upon us and I think I already know what I'll be doing this New Year's Eve. I won't be crowded around a significant monument nor will I be dancing on a table in a funky club. I'll asleep long before midnight as I have been for the past few years, because after motherhood New Year's Eve becomes just another night before a very early morning. And to be honest, I don't really miss it. I don't long for pushing crowds and triple priced taxis and, always, the heavy sense of disappointment. There are many positive things about parenthood but perhaps the most wonderful is a consistent excuse to stay at home. Still, even at home a girl's gotta have fun and this is how you do it. 

Spa  - This is all about soundtrack. For the most authentic atmosphere you can find that creepy whale music they play on Youtube but anything soft and relaxing will do. Break out the expensive bath bombs and wear your dressing gown for the evening, you'd never know you weren't in a fancy hotel. 

Cinema - Movies are all about the snacks. Get yourself some popcorn and pic n mix and it will be like having the best seats in the house. Okay, you won't get to see the latest offerings but who cares when you're free of the anxiety of rushing home to relieve the babysitter. Just make sure you eat all the treats before you start the film though. 

Bingo - My grandma introduced me to Bingo, she used to go every week. For years I didn't understand what the appeal was; then I went along with her and it was about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. But if you really want to play with your clothes off you can do it at home playing online! I don't think there could be better entertainment than one that might actually gain you money? 

Pub - The pub is just a living room you have to walk to, you can save your energy and your pennies and buy a bag of nuts and a box of wine when you do your big shop. Chuck a bit of beer on the carpet for that rich public house odour, just remember to leave quietly - the kids are asleep. 

What are your New Year's Eve plans this year?

This is a collaborative post

Christmas is here but so is Uncommon Goods

I can no longer deny it, Christmas is coming. I like the music; I love the food but the anxiety inducing part is the gifts. Generally I spend eight weeks in denial and then try and buy the perfect thing for everyone in a mad, sweaty dash, a couple of days before the big event. It's always unsatisfying and I always keep the receipts. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could find something beautiful and unique for everyone special in your life, without getting out of bed? With all the amazing goodies on offer at Uncommon goods, you can do just that. Here's a sneak peak of my favourite picks from their current selection. 

I always struggle with present ideas for the men in my life, my Dad especially, usually ends up with socks. I figure there's no reason to break tradition but this pair is both sophisticated and fun and would be a great stocking filler for any guy.

Mens Favourite City Socks 

My mum uses her mobile phone as an address book because she can never actually find it to make a call. Whenever she finally gets back to me she tells me she was out at the shops and I have to remind her that mobile's are called mobile's because they are just that. Maybe if she had a place to keep her phone, she would get more use out of it. Which is why I'm thinking this stylish phone holder would be great for her (and me) this year. 

Beside Smartphone Vase

On every night out I go on, one of my girlfriends ends up begging  me for a hair tie. That lovely blow out never seems like a shrewd move after a few turns round the dance floor. How cute is this hair tie bracelet? I'm getting one for all my girls, so they never have to wonder where all their hair ties have disappeared to.

Hair Tie Bracelet

I don't have a baby to buy for this year but can someone have one so I can give them this! I mean who doesn't want a teensy, tiny mermaid or man in the mix on Christmas day! 

Baby Mermaid Tail

For all these fabulous gifts and so many more, head to Uncommon Goods all your Christmas shopping needs. You can thank me later. 

This is a collaborative post

Avoid Getting Ripped Off With These Valuable Tips

No one wants to be taken for a mug. Spending your hard-earned money, only to find out you paid much more than you needed to, is enough to make your ears steam. You feel angry, and a bit humiliated that you were taken for a ride. Fortunately, there are ways to address is afterwards, as well as things you can do to prevent it happening in the first place.

Be Aware of Scams Firstly, be aware of the ways that people try to scam you and take your money. Some of them might be obvious emails from Nigerian princes, but others come dressed up as ways you can make money in your spare time. Watch out for scams in all their forms.

Knowledge is Power The more you know about the things you spend your money on, the more money you can save. If you don't know what you're buying, someone can easily take advantage of you. So before you spend your money, make sure you know what you're getting - from car repairs to a new computer.

Take Your Time One of the worst things you can do is rush your purchase. Companies will try to make you panic and believe you have to buy right away, but there's almost always time to make a calm decision. In fact, sometimes going away and coming back can help you save, like when you buy a car.

Bargain for a Lower Price How good are your haggling skills? If you can talk the price down on something, you certainly won't be taken for a ride. In fact, you could get the upper hand.

Infographic Design By Sunny Good Vibes

This is a contributed post

The Big to Small House Move: Apps to Help You Get Packing

If you have moved a lot in your life already, you’re probably quite savvy when it comes to packing, organising, and being as efficient as possible. Or maybe not; moving is something we tend to do with several years of preludes in between, and the amount of stuff we accumulate makes the process such a hassle every time.

Image via: Pixabay

While it’s tricky to make the most tedious part of moving easier on you, such as wrapping up all your plates and cleaning out your wardrobe, it is possible to make it lighter on your wallet. Technology is a wonderful thing, and new ones may have popped up since the last time you moved which can make your life so much more organised.

Here is a handful of the best apps and technology to help you get moving from your large home to a slightly smaller one.

Find sites to sell your stuff Discovered that you have way more stuff than you can even be bothered to bring along? Sell it, sell all of it, and do it right away through Letgo - a hyperlocal, Craigslist-style app that lets you buy and sell your stuff online. Your new place should be neat and simple, in any way, and not crowded with long-forgotten hobbies you tested out five years ago.

It’s easy to use, and you can also buy some furniture from other sellers while you’re there, in case you should discover that you need that extra side table after all.

ThredUP is another app that lets you sell whatever you can’t make use of any more, just specifically made for helping you clean out that wardrobe. Get rid of the clothes you can’t be bothered to pack as you haven’t worn them in years in any way, and you’ll be able to spend the extra cash you make on something you’d actually enjoy putting on.

Find apps for movers Now that you have mercilessly kicked out the clothes and furniture you’ve fallen out of love with, you should be left with a few neat boxes of valuables. Make sure you get the best quote on hiring a moving van through Shiply so that you’re not spending more than you have to. This site compares rates from several different moving companies to find the best option for you; just plot in the date you’d like to move, and off you go.

Luckily, they’re even focused on saving the environment by utilising spare capacity of the vehicles they have running on the roads so that you can feel a bit more confident about your move.

Test the safety of your neighbourhood You’ve probably found your new home already since it’s all about packing for the big day, but have a closer look at your destination through Crime Map for England and Wales. It makes it a lot easier to figure out the crime rates without having to call the local police station, and it shows everything from petty theft to violent crime.

Nobody wants to move to an unsafe neighbourhood, and this site is gold when you want to know a bit more about an area before moving. You should have more than enough time to do it too - since you’ve gotten rid of all that unnecessary stuff and even cleaned out your wardrobe.

This is a contributed post

Back Soon!

I'm taking a short blogatical to hang out with my boyfriend. See you in November! 

Why Health is a Vital Concern for New Parent

When a new baby is born, parents commonly report a huge change in their mindset. Instinctively, the child becomes the focus of all their energy, and other matters (such as the parents’ own sleep patterns, workout routines and general health) are put on the back burner. The human body is a marvelous and wise work of art; it lets us know when it is time to pull back and when to go full steam ahead. Still, new parents should be aware of the following health issues that may affect them:

When a Good Night’s Sleep is Elusive This issue affects mothers and fathers in different ways. The book The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child's First Four Years, notes: “One 2013 study of 21 mother-father pairs enjoying their first infant experience found that fathers actually got less sleep than mothers and experienced more confirmed sleepiness, as measured using wrist trackers.” Mothers, it seems, have more time to make up for lost sleep during the day (when they are on maternity leave, for instance). However, although they sleep more hours, their sleep quality is less, because of the baby’s feeding schedule.

New parents should aim to make sleep a priority, by enlisting the help of friends and family. If required, A can also consider hiring a midwife to help with care, even for a few hours during the day. A lack of rest can exacerbate postpartum depression, which in turn can impede the mother’s ability to bond with her child. It is vital to ensure mum receives quality health care (both physical and mental), since both her and her baby’s well-being can be jeopardised by a failure to do so.

Movement is Life When every waking moment is spent tending to a new baby or toddler, it can be difficult for parents to find time to work out, yet research abounds regarding the negative effects of the sedentary lifestyle. In the UK, over 20 million people are classified as physically inactive, which significantly increases their risk of cardiovascular disease. Failing to exercise also contributes to obesity and Type II diabetes. Parents should aim to find exercise at least three times a week, to keep these illnesses at bay.

Mental Health Risks Postpartum depression in mothers is far from being the only mental health concern faced by new parents. Increased pressure to be ‘super mom’ and ‘super dad’ are contributing to the development of mental conditions, including anxiety and depression. Parents should be aware of the signs of mental illness, seeking treatment when necessary.

While welcoming children into the home can be a great source of joy, it is important to be aware of how this big change can affect parental health. Preventive measures should be adopted to enable parents to stay in optimal physical and mental health.