My love of shutters must go back to my first trip to France when I was a teenager on an exchange visit from school. There are many wonderful things about France such as the space, the friendly people and the awesome food and drink. When it comes to housing, as well as being far more affordable than in the UK, so many properties have shutters making them so pretty to look at. I often wonder why more UK houses do not have them as our weather is certainly pretty similar to that in the North of France at least.

I have to admit my love of shutters is mainly about the look of them and how much they add in value in terms of style. However, today I am going to dig a little deeper into the benefits of having shutters in your home.


I do like my privacy at home. Although I can be friendly when out and about, home is my sanctuary and I like to keep it that way. I  have lived in several homes with big windows onto the street where passers-by have gawped into my house often without any embarrassment at all. Shutters offer that protection from such unwelcome attention and I think shutters in London might be a really good idea with so many people milling around even in residential areas.

Expressing yourself

We all like our homes to say something about us and our individual style. Interior design is a great way to reflect our personalities and get creative. If you have internal window shutters you can have lacquer and paint effects that tell the world what you are all about style wise from shabby chic to a love of a more urban look. Shutters can be seen as jewellery for your home. Great shutters are beautifully crafted and can be custom made so you get exactly what you want.

Energy Efficient

With fuel bills soaring, anything that helps with energy efficiency has to be a good thing. Shutters make a big impact keeping your home warm during cold winters months. They are a great weapon against general cold but especially extreme temperatures like those recently experienced in the UK when the Beast from the East came to call. Even better, when you are sweltering in the Summer months, the shutters help transform your home into a cool sanctuary. Perfect!

More affordable than you might think

You may have never thought about having shutters in your home. You may be worried about the cost involved. Do think about the benefits when weighing up the pros and cons of making the investment. Also it is well worth checking out any bargains to be had such as these plantation shutters prices online.

Home security

When you check out crime statistics, levels of burglary can be scary to think about. Not only might you lose your expensive possessions but also things that cannot be replaced such as things that have been passed down through the generations or things that hold special memories. You have worked hard for what you have and you really do need to consider home security in this day and age.

Easy to maintain

Regular readers know that I am no domestic goddess and my husband has hardly any DIY skills so anything that is easy to maintain gets a thumbs up from us. With shutters it is just a case of getting into a regular cleaning routine and you need simple and readily available products such as a vacuum cleaner, a brush you can wet and a dusting cloth. Get into say a weekly routine and your shutters will remain looking as good as the day they were installed.

Other benefits of shutters include that they put you in control of the levels of light in your home which is great for me as I like light to flow in most of the time. If you are on a busy road, they do mask the sounds quite effectively too.

So as you can see, shutters might be pretty and stylish but they have additional benefits that really can enhance your home and lifestyle.



Living on site whilst a major building project is taking place is no mean feat! In an ideal world  you would whisk your family off to warmer climes, returning home to a new shiny extension. Building work has a tendency to take what feels like forever, so it isn’t always convenient to move out for a few months. You also need to consider work and school commitments.

Unless you have employed a site project manager to make decisions for you, it is important to be around to instruct tradespeople where you want your plug sockets situating etc. Your only feasible option is to live on site whilst the work takes place. Try to visualise the end result to provide your family with the motivation to persevere, you could even imagine the whole process as a strange kind of camping trip, especially useful for when the roof of your home becomes little more than tarpaulin!

Building Project

image source

With a little creativity living at home during major works is doable.

Prepare a plan

Communicate with builders to try and get a detailed schedule of works. This will enable you to plan which rooms you will have access to and when. Cooking facilities will be a consideration if your kitchen is involved, as well as bathroom facilities. If the work is going to be taking place in the middle of winter, will the heating be off for long periods of time? By having a clear plan you will be able to create contingency plans for days when being at home will be impossible.Communication is key.

Consider the space you have available

During the construction process it is likely that the space you have available will be restricted. You may need to clear rooms of bulky furniture so that you can create a temporary area for cooking and storage. To help with the moving of bulky items you could consider hiring the assistance of a man with a van as located in shiply. You could then store the items in a self storage facility until the building work is complete.

If you have pets, the comings and goings of different contactors and noise could be potentially stressful for them, especially if have dogs and cats. It may be worth looking at kennel facilities or looking at alternative places for them to stay such as with family and friends.

Have a contingency plan

There may be occasions when the work becomes unbearable, it is therefore a good idea to have a back up plan for when the going gets too tough. If you experience a total lack of power or we hit a particularly cold snap, your best option would be to move out for a few days. You could consider staying with family and friends, renting a cottage or getting a room in a hotel for a few nights. This will give your family a chance to recuperate.

If your property is large enough you could site a caravan on your land to live in whilst the work takes place. At least you will have somewhere to retreat to. It could even be quite exciting – for a short time!

Twin Mummy and Daddy

We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep every night. Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t entirely sure how to go about getting the high-quality sleep that we need.

Insomnia is an incredibly common problem in our society, and many people find themselves at the mercy of their doctor’s prescription pad when they’re trying to catch a few ZZZs.

The truth is that there are a lot of things that you can do that will greatly enhance the quality of your sleep. A lot of these things are quite simple and involve making basic adjustments to your environment to make sure that your brain and body can properly prepare for the night.

Today, we’re going to outline 10 of the best tips that you can implement to help yourself get a good night’s sleep.

Get a good mattress

We’re listing this tip at the top because the mattress is the foundation for all sleeping habits, good and bad. If you don’t have a good mattress for sleep, or if you sleep on a floor, then you’re going to have some problems.

What constitutes a ‘good mattress for sleep’ for one person may not be the same as the next. There are many places that can custom fit a mattress for you based on your body size and your shape.

Unfortunately, lots of people have just been sleeping on an ‘okay’ mattress for many years. They don’t realize that the mattress is the cause of their insomnia – uncomfortable mattresses can lead to many nights of tossing and turning.

Maintain a routine

If there’s one thing that the body is good at remembering, it’s a routine.

If you make a conscious decision to perform the same tasks every night before you go to bed, then your body will begin to associate those tasks with the act of sleeping.

Not only will it be good for you to establish a routine, but the acts themselves will be so closely associated with bedtime that you’ll get sleepy just by performing them.

Put down the bottle

We’ve probably all been made aware of how easy it can be to fall asleep after a few drinks, but what’s less well-known is that the quality of sleep that somebody has after a night of drinking is terrible.

How often do you see someone wake up the morning after getting drunk feeling on top of the world? That’s not just residual alcohol being metabolized – alcohol seriously impairs REM sleep and makes it hard to get a good night’s rest.

Turn off the lights

This tip can’t be underestimated. Our body produces melatonin naturally when it detects darkness. It’s the way that we originally made ourselves tired when the sun sets.

The skin detects light from any source, so even smaller lights like those from your phone can trick your body into believing that the sun’s still out. If you absolutely must do some work that involves needing light, try to dim the lights as much as possible.

Cut back on clutter

Some people say that a cluttered room is a sign of a cluttered mind. This isn’t always the case but sleeping in a room that you know is littered with dirty clothes and covered in old magazines won’t do a whole lot to help you get to sleep.

Just as many people report that cleaning their room allows them to clear out their mind. This helps them fall easier into a deep sleep.

Relax before bed

Don’t just go to bed as soon as you get home after work. Do some relaxing activities – that don’t involve LED lights. That means no TV or gaming an hour or two before bed.

Try meditating or doing some light reading to help clear the thoughts out of your brain so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Have a bedtime drink

There are lots of drinks that you can have before bed that will help you fall into a deep sleep. Warm milk will provide you with a lot of tryptophan that will help relax you.

Chamomile tea, or other herbal teas, can help put you to bed. For more serious cases of insomnia, heavier herbal teas like kava kava and mulungu can be useful for sleep.

Stop caffeinating

Caffeine, especially that from coffee, affects people for much longer than they tend to think. You’ll usually be fine if you have a coffee in the morning, or even one around noon, but if you drink coffee much after 4PM, you might have to expect some problems with insomnia.

There are other caffeinated beverages that don’t provide the same risk of insomnia, though. Green tea contains L-theanine which helps to combat the stimulatory nature of the caffeine, and yerba mate contains tons of other active compounds that help to balance it out.

Stay active

Your body sleeps to rest and restructure itself, so it makes sense that you won’t be able to fall asleep easy if you live a sedentary lifestyle.

If you work at an office job, for example, it’s important that you take time to get some physical activity into your day. If it’s possible, bike to work, or go to the gym afterwards.

Getting a lot of exercise during the day not only makes it easier to fall asleep, it makes it feel better to fall asleep. You’ll feel like you deserve the rest that you’re getting.

Don’t eat right before bed

Your body actually uses a lot of energy to digest food – that’s why you get tired after eating a big meal. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy to go to bed right after you eat, though, because your body also needs energy to help repair itself while you’re sleeping.

If you must eat before bed, make sure you avoid foods that are high in carbs. Enjoy a light snack that’s low in sugar and is easily digested.

10 Sleep Tips To Help You Fall Into A Deep Sleep


Hot Pink Wellingtons
Mummies Waiting
My Random Musings

Welcome to another week of food for thought and acting positively with Best Boot Forward. As ever, you are really welcome to link up any blog post which is about your life and how you endeavour to live well and proactively even on the trickier days.

Food For Thought

This week I was lacking in inspiration so grabbed a pain au chocolat which got me thinking about food generally.

Here are some questions to reflect on but don’t feel tied down by them. They are only ever there to help. Tackle one, all or none of them as you see fit. You do not have to answer them to join in with the Best Boot Forward linky.

  1. What has given you food for thought this week about your life or the position of women in society?
  2. Who would you say is “food for the soul” in your life?
  3. What is your relationship with food and is it a healthy one?
  4. If you could have 5 people alive or dead around your dinner table tonight, who would you choose?

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Well, that’s it from me for this week and I hope these questions are useful to you in some way.

As always you can answer one or all of them in a blog post, on our Facebook group or just in your own heart and head.

If you are moving forward positively in your life, please blog about it and link up.


1. Add a backlink to this post using #bestbootforward and fear not, our badge is coming soon!

2. Please comment on this post and the one from Chloe at Indigo Wilderness and at least one other. Obviously the more you comment, the better and it is a super way to get to know other people and to interest them in your blog.

3. Link as many posts as you like so long as they are about you moving your life forward positively in some way.

4. The linky is open for a week so there is plenty of time to link up.

5. Tag myself @kateonthinice and Chloe at @IndigoChlo on Twitter for a Retweet with #Bestbootforward

Link up below and we would LOVE to have you!


For those who live in Cincinnati and are parents to a teenager, you know better than anyone how difficult it can be to keep them busy, happy, and out of trouble. Even if you don’t live in Cincinnati, for example, you are just planning on visiting with your teenager, the same problem exists. Finding activities that are teenager appropriate and fun is key. Rather than spending all kinds of time researching events and activities, or worse yet, dragging them out to things that end up a total bust, we’ve gone ahead and put together a list of fun things to do with teens in Cincinnati. So let’s jump right in.

The Cincinnati Escape Room

If you want to make a splash with your teen and be seen as the “cool parent” then you’ll want to take them to the Cincinnati Escape Room through Breakout Games. This is the real-life version of the popular escape room apps. You will be placed in a locked room and given 60 minutes to escape. Escape is achieved by finding clues hidden around the room, then using those clues to solve puzzles. It’s just the kind of unexpected activity that is sure to put a smile on even that hard-to-please teen’s face.

Coney Island – Take in All the Thrills and Adventures

Amusement parks are always a crowd pleaser with teens, it seems, which is why a visit to Coney Island is a great idea. Known as Cincinnati’s playground, Coney Island has been in business since 1886. You’ll find a huge variety of rides and attractions, a water park, and special events throughout the season. Be sure to check out the Coney Island website for information on hours of operation and the special events taking place.

Take in a Baseball Game

If your teenager is a sports fan, then tickets to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game is sure to be a hit. For an added bonus, the Reds are constantly holding promotions, contests, events, and giveaways. You can check their events calendar for more information. If you want to make a real day out of it, you can also visit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum to learn more about the famed-team.

Discover What Fountain Square Has to Offer

For those who are conscious of budget, Fountain Square is ideal. This square is found downtown and is constantly hosting free performances and concerts. It can end up being quite the hip and happening place, especially during the warm summer months.

Non-Stop Fun and Entertainment at Scene75 Entertainment Center

If your teen is all about hands-on activities and games then the Scene75 Entertainment Center is the place to be. The center features 120 arcade games, 10 attractions, and dining. It is billed as the largest indoor entertainment center in the country.

Keeping Your Teen Happy and Busy

Each of these activities is sure to keep your hard-to-please teen happy and, best of all, entertained. You’re sure to earn brownie points for these activities.


The Pramshed