This year, for a change, the UK has been enjoying a stupendous summer, and hopefully, there’s more on the way. If you’ve been enjoying the sunshine in your garden and are now starting to wonder whether there are ways how you can make the outside more appealing, then this article is for you! With a little tweak here and some rearranging there, you’ll soon have a garden everyone in the family can enjoy. The ideas you’re about to read about are pretty simple, and you don’t need to be a DIY whizz kid either. Even the smallest of gardens can be made to look more appealing.

Add Some Colour

Is your garden in desperate need of some colour? Are the flower borders looking wilted and sad? There are some great planters you can buy to fill with fresh and colourful blooms. Alternatively, drag those long-forgotten plant pots out of the garden shed and give them a lick of paint.

Add a Water Feature

We’re not talking baroque water fountains; a simple birdbath will do. However, if you want to push the boat out and add something a little grander, feel free to do so. Water-garden.co.uk has some great water accessories for your garden, and as well as looking good, water features will bring in hordes of wildlife and your kids will love looking out for them and feeding them in the winter.

Add a Chalkboard

Remember when you were a kid drawing hopscotch squares on the pavement? Rather than encouraging your children to draw on the patio and walls, why not provide them with their very own blackboard mounted on your garden fence? Chalk does wash away very easily so don’t be too mad if when your back is turned, they turn your back garden into their very own art gallery.

A Veg Garden

Encouraging your kids to grow their own fruit and vegetables has some surprising benefits. It’s a learning experience and a good exercise in responsibility. It could be a few small pots in which to grow tomatoes or a small plot where they can grow much more. Some of the easiest of plants to grow for children include strawberries, carrots, radishes, beans, peas and cherry tomatoes. There are even child-sized gardening tools worth considering.

Garden Swing

Having a swing in the garden is great in a number of ways. It can be fun and soothing swinging back and forth but is also good for developing balance. If you’ve got the space for a swing, add one. You can buy swing sets, or alternatively, hang a couple of ropes from a tree branch.

These few ideas should provide you with some inspiration. Encouraging all members of the family to spend more time outside is beneficial. Not just for health but for your general wellbeing. Admittedly, the weather in the UK is not always the best, but let’s hope that this year’s glorious summer will be repeated. Even if it isn’t, there’s no excuse for not getting out in the garden more. It’s only rain after all!

 

 

 

 

My Random Musings

I am short-sighted and after years of wearing glasses I am tempted to get some contact lenses. For whatever reason I was into my late teens before my parents worked out I had issues with my eyes. I remember the optician saying they wondered how I had got such good exam results when I could not possibly have been able to see the blackboard. With my own children, they have had regular eye checks and two of them are very short-sighted and wear glasses.

My history with glasses and contact lenses

My first pair of glasses was so ugly and it was not long before I decided to try contact lenses. I thought I looked better in them but this was back in the Eighties and I found them uncomfortable to put in and wear. There is an infamous occasion where on a date my contact lenses were playing up so badly that my eyes were streaming with tears which must have made my date a little uncomfortable. It was not long after that that I went back to wearing glasses.

Considering contact lenses again

In my last couple of eye tests, my optician has mentioned the possibility of me using contact lenses again. At first I was against the idea remembering the hassles of yesteryear. However, it only takes someone to mention an idea a couple of times for it to make me wonder. Contact lenses sound so much better these days. There is only one way to find out for sure so I am going to give them a whirl.

Focus Dailies contact lenses

I like to do my research before making decisions. I am considering Focus Dailies contact lenses available from Vision Direct who are a respected brand. Having put off the whole idea of contact lenses for years, it is brilliant to know that I can get next day delivery to start my new adventure with them. Initial ordering is simple and reordering just involves 3 clicks from email. You can even reorder by text which is super convenient in my busy life.  You have the freedom to order the amount you need when you need them. When comparing with high street opticians, the same brands seem to be available but Vision Direct seems to offer better value. As a newbie to new style contact lenses the fact that customer service is available 24 hours per day 7 days per week is hugely reassuring.

Conclusion

I have spoken to friends who wear contact lenses. They tell me contact lenses are definitely the way forward. It seems they combine good vision with comfort and convenience. Wish me luck on my new contact lenses adventure.

My Random Musings

Making the most of your budget on a holiday in Spain effectively means you can create more magical memories for less money. I remember a family holiday to Spain with my parents many years ago. We were joined by my Auntie Margaret and Uncle Cyril and my cousin Sean. There was tension sometimes as my parents were keen to spend whereas my aunt and uncle were keen to save as much money as  possible. So I thought I would suggest some ways you can save money on a holiday in Spain such as those available from Holiday Gems online.

Dates

If you go to Spain in the school holidays, you will pay more and you may find the resorts are annoyingly busy. As a home educator, we really can benefit from taking breaks outside of school holiday periods. That is not possible for everyone but if you can travel out of season, it is worth considering.

Packing

Firstly remember you probably don’t need designer luggage. Is it better to have that or to have money available for a special day out whilst you are away? Ensure you know the size and weight restrictions for your luggage set by the airline. Excess charges can really hurt your wallet. Bring your own plastic bags to take your liquids through security. Take items that you love with you such as salt, pepper, tea bags, washing powder, dishwasher tablets and bin bags.

Research

In the olden days, my Dad used to do as much research in the library about our holiday destinations. Nowadays if we are savvy we can use the Internet well in advance not only to check out places we want to visit but also special discounts and deals. Yes, you might have to sign up to email newsletters but if it means saving some pennies and pounds it might just be worth it.

Food and drink

You can easily spend way too much money on food and drink. On days out you can make your own picnic rather than relying on food outlets. Not only will this save you money but you can tailor the picnic to your family’s food preferences and cater for any allergies and special diets. If you do go to a restaurant lunchtime eating tends to be cheaper and look out for the menu del día. As for drinks try the local wine and draught beer or cerveza de barril is cheaper than bottled beer. Ask for tap water rather than laying out for expensive mineral water. If you see servicio incluido on a bill, you do not need to leave a tip.

Getting around

Walking is free and often results in you finding hidden gems as you go off the beaten track including cheaper cafes, restaurants and bars.  If walking is too much for you or family members, ensure you look into travel passes. Check out any special provision for older people, younger people, disabled people and students.

Other places where savings can be made include car hire and fuel costs, banking and the use of technology. It’s back to doing that Internet research before you go. Finally ensure you take out travel insurance and get your free European Health Insurance Card.

Do you have any tips for making the most of your budget when on holiday in Spain?

Making The Most Of Your Budget On A Holiday In Spain
 

My Random Musings

With more and more skincare regimes, products and treatments on the market every year, picking the right one to achieve what you want is increasingly challenging. If you have the time, it can be a fun challenge to face, trying out new treatments at places like Skinsmiths Belgravia Cosmetic Clinic until you’re able to find the perfect one that makes you look great, feel amazing and project perfect confidence.

If you don’t have the time to sample the full menu, you’ll need to narrow in quickly on what’s right for you, so today we’re looking at two easily confused forms of skin treatment: infusions and injections.

Skincare Injections

Skin has evolved to be a barrier between our bodies and the outside world: it keeps out water, it keeps out dirt, it keeps out toxins and poisons. Unfortunately, it also keeps out medicines and treatments that could do it a great deal of good!

A lot of people would be a lot happier if things like inoculations, travel immunisations and anaesthetics could be delivered without the use of a needle – if you could take a pill to immunise yourself against measles, or knock yourself out for an operation, going to the doctor would be a lot less stressful!

What that means, as you may already have guessed, is that some of the most effective treatments for your skin need to be injected under the epidermis to have their best effect. Collagen, for example, has a miraculous effect on the skin, making it seem younger, firmer and stronger, but it’s made up of large molecules, and they simply can’t make it past your skins protections to be absorbed efficiently enough without injection!

There are a variety of different things that need to be injected to treat the skin – it’s a method of delivery rather than a treatment in itself, so talk to your clinician about what you want to achieve, and they can provide the right injection to make it a reality

Skincare Infusions

If you’re looking for a less invasive skincare treatment that still has the potential radically improve your skin, then this high-tech solution could be the perfect answer!

True skincare infusions are more than simply a cream that you could apply in your own home. In a clinic, a specialist can assess your needs a pick a mix of treatments to help rejuvenate your skin, make it firmer or softer, reduce redness or stimulate cell turnover. They then use soundwaves or LED treatments to infuse this unique blend into your skin, producing instant and dramatic results, without the need for injections.

What to Choose?

If you’re looking for a non-invasive, soothing treatment as part of a relaxing spa day, then a skin infusion is the winner hands down. The only drawback is that the results last only a few days. Regular treatments can have a more permanent effect but if you’re looking for a longer term solution, you may have to opt for a more dramatic injection!

Laminate flooring is popular and so much better than it used to be. Families love it as it is durable and easy to clean too. It is a more affordable option than wooden floors but you can achieve a stylish look all the same. You can get someone to fit the flooring for you or you could try a little do it yourself.

Equipment

One of my faults is starting a job without getting all the equipment to hand first so learn from my mistakes with this list.

Laminate flooring

Floor spacers

Adhesive if required

A saw

Dust mask

Goggles

Set Square

 

The right laminate

I love the LOC system panels because they are easier to lay. Glue is not involved so you can have your floor down and useable mess-free very quickly. Another benefit it that should you change your flooring in the future these are super easy to remove. If you go for glued options, they are hard-wearing but you may need someone to help you lay it adding to the costs of your project. Pre-glued laminate is another option.

When choosing wooden looking laminate, really consider if it gives you the look you want. I am not that fussy but if you want something that looks particularly authentic, you may need to pay that bit more.

 

Underlay

Do not make the mistake of thinking you do not need underlay with your laminate flooring. It helps create a softer surface, cuts down noise and retains heat.

Foam underlay is not good for areas where water will be splashed.

Polystyrene underlay is good for cutting down noise and evening out bumps.

Fibreboard underlay has similar benefits but is better for the environment.

Sponge rubber underlay has an additional benefit as it resists moisture.

 

Floor Spacers

Floor spacers are essential to fit laminate properly. Floor panels soak up moisture in the air which expands them. Laminate responds to the temperature of the room and the humidity of the air which varies day by day. Apply the floor spacers before you lay the laminate panels. A good guide is to leave a space of around half an inch between the edges of your final floor panels and your wall. You could invest in a nice beading and start your project in the right way.

 

Fitting the laminate

Fitting the laminate can be done even if you have no experience. I would strongly advise seeking the advice of the outlet from where you bought your laminate. There are also some amazing videos on You Tube showing you how to do it effectively. I think these are in many ways better than a list of instructions as you can actually watch a person fitting laminate and then replicate what they do.

Are you a fan of laminate flooring?

How To Lay Laminate Flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a New Mummy