Is it time for a change in your life? Are you eager to make both small and large improvements to who you are? You might think that this is going to be a strenuous and difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some easy ways that you can build a brighter you without thinking about it too much or over stressing about what it could mean.

brighter

Go Exploring

Learn A New Language

Learning a new language is a great way to better yourself for a variety of reasons. First, it will allow you to communicate and interact with new cultures and people. Second, it will make you a more useful figure in the society of a world where each country is quickly becoming a melting pot of different cultures and languages. Third, it is a fantastic way to expand your knowledge and, surprisingly enough it can be quite easy, particularly when you are young. When you’re young, your mind is like a sponge, and all it takes to learn a new language is for you to be around it. So, if you want to learn French, you may want to consider spending a few months over in Paris. Of course, if you don’t have time to travel, you can also think about simply picking up an audio CD or downloading an MP3. Believe it or not, a lot of people find that it is possible to learn a new language this way in just a matter of months.

Kick A Bad Habit

Do you have a monkey on your back? Perhaps it’s time to shake it off and improve various aspects of your life all at the same time. The problem with a bad habit is that it doesn’t just impact one aspect of your world, it causes several issues. Take drinking as an example. When you drink, you are not just hurting your body or more specifically, your liver. You are affecting your mind, and as an alcohol addiction becomes more severe, the impact on the mind grows increasingly worse. Eventually, you will reach the point where you feel like a completely different person, and that’s just the beginning. Even a small dependency on alcohol can have a dramatic effect on your bank balance and your social life. You might think that quitting the addiction is the greatest issue here. But actually, it’s alcohol recovery that is your greatest problem. That’s why if you are tackling a major bad habit like this, you should seek out help, guidance and support.

Write A List

What list are we talking about here? It could be anything from a list of goals that you have set for yourself to a list of places that you’d like to visit one day. By putting information like this in a list, you are sending the message to yourself that one day you would like to make it happen. Just the action of writing down the words will make the result far more likely to occur.

We hope that you take this advice on board and use it to improve yourself in easy ways that will have a massive impact.

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

You might know how to visit all your favourite buildings from the movies — such as Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire which became the Dark Knight’s Wayne Manor in Batman and scenes from Durham Cathedral which became the classrooms for Harry Potter and his friends. But what about famous gardens and landscapes that might be near you? If you’ve spotted a scene in a film that you’d like to visit, then read on we tell you where to find them:

The Dark Hedges, featured in Game of Thrones

The Dark Hedges are a row of beech trees that sit on Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland. They were made famous by Game of Thrones. They were first featured in episode one of the second series as King’s Road — the path that Arya took as she escaped from King’s Landing dressed as a boy, travelling through the Hedges to reach the Night’s Watch.

After the popularity of the show, the destination has become a hit for tourists. To locals, this is a surprise as it is a rural road in Ballymoney, out of the way from the main villages. The avenue is quite difficult to find though and there is to be more signs built so that it is easier for tourists to visit the spot. Local legend says that the avenue is home to a grey lady who walks between the trees as it gets dark.

The spot isn’t far from other tourist spots on the northern coast either. This is where attractions lie such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway. They are part of the popular Game of Thrones tours that are in Northern Ireland. The trees have been voted one of the world’s most beautiful places by the Architectural Design magazine too. They were planted in the 18th century and intertwine to create a mystical avenue. If you’re one for bright hues and colours that stand out, this might not be for you. However, the earthy tones of the trees are certainly spectacular.

Stourhead, featured in Pride and Prejudice

Made famous by the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice, Stourhead Landscape Garden in Wiltshire is not something to be missed. It is the place where Mr Darcy first proposed to Lizzie, before she made her exit across the Palladian Bridge. Work on the garden begun in 1740 and wasn’t completed until 1780. It’s since been described as a ‘living work of art’ — if that doesn’t convince you to visit, we don’t know what will!

A lake sits in the middle of the famous garden, making the destination truly spectacular. See a range of trees, from beech to Spanish chestnut, and explore the temples that sit close to the lake. Visit the garden in spring and you’ll also see rhododendrons in bloom, while in early summer you can enjoy the azaleas.

Alnwick, featured in Harry Potter

It was Alnwick Castle that became Hogwarts in the famous film of Harry Potter in 2001. It was also in the grounds of this castle where Harry and his friends learnt to fly their broomsticks. Students of Hogwarts walked through the courtyards and baileys of Alnwick Castle too, as they went about their day-to-day lives. Features of the castle were even shown as a path to Hagrid’s cabin and the Forbidden Forest.

The gardens that are joined to the castle are a must-see for gardening enthusiasts. The gardens are home to 200 different species of roses; see the Christmas Rose bloom in December and the English Shrub Rose open up in June. It’s wonderful all year round too, so you can enjoy brightly coloured water lilies in March and the delicate Peruvian Lily in June. There is also a large water feature that sits in the centre of the garden, which is something else to admire.

Venture over to the Poison Garden where you can see and read about plants that can kill. Educate yourselves on a range of flora that can cause death through pleasure or pain and see how some of the most popular drugs are grown. Just be sure to follow the recommendations that you do not smell or touch the plants, as visitors have been known to faint due to inhaling toxic fumes.

The Eden Project, featured in Die Another Day

This destination sits in the south of the UK, in Cornwall. It’s considered to be the world’s biggest indoor rainforest and is made up of two huge biomes — a Rainforest Biome and a Mediterranean Biome. It is home to the longest zip wire in England too, which flies you over the biomes to give you a birds-eye view of the spectacles beneath. In 2002 though, the Eden Project became Gustav Graves’ Ice Palace and high security lair in the James Bond film, Die Another Day.

The two biomes bring you an opportunity to see plants and wildlife that wouldn’t normally be found in the south of England. Experience tropical heat in the Rainforest Biome and discover over 1,000 varieties of plant — it’s even complete with a waterfall. Visit an authentic south-east Asian home too, as well as a vegetable garden to see how herbs, flowers and trees grow in the climate.

Soak up some heat too as you can feel temperatures from between 9 and 25°C in the Mediterranean Biome. This climate is usually well-known for luscious fruits and tasty wines. Take a walk through the iconic grass trees, see huge aloe veras and walk past tulips in the springtime. There’s also a perfume garden, which is filled with scented plants such as jasmine, roses, lavender and thyme.

Aysgarth Falls, featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

You can take a trip to the falls where Robin Hood fought Little John in the film. It’s situated next to the village of Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales. The falls are made up of three different waterfalls that are within walking distance. It was at the upper and middle fall that shot to fame in the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves film. You can pay a small, voluntary fee to get close to where the scene was filmed.

It’s a lovely walk on a fine day too. You can walk further than the falls along the River Ure to explore the village or Carperby and Castle Bolton as well, while in the spring and summer, expect to see wild flowers through the valley. Visitors have said that the site is best explored after heavy rainfall, when the water is most powerful and the falls look especially spectacular.

 

This piece was written by Suttons, retailers of vegetable seeds.

Sources

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/jane-austen-film-and-tv

http://www.edenproject.com/

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/travel/game-of-thrones-dark-hedges-in-antrim-voted-one-of-worlds-most-beautiful-places-35274545.html

https://www.alnwickcastle.com/explore/on-screen/harry-potter

https://www.alnwickcastle.com/events/broomstick-training

http://www.coolplaces.co.uk/places/uk/england/north-yorkshire/aysgarth/7841-aysgarth-falls

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/step-inside-worlds-most-dangerous-garden-if-you-dare-180952635/

https://where2walk.co.uk/yorkshire_dales/aysgarth-falls/

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/features/the-world-famous-garden

http://www.britainexpress.com/counties/wiltshire/gardens/stourhead.htm

 

The Pramshed

How do you choose flooring for your home? When you move in do you put up with what is already there or ring the changes?

Here are some of my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of flooring.

Carpet

I am not a fan of carpet to be honest. Of course growing up in the Sixties and Seventies, all the main rooms had carpet and of the wild pattern variety at that. So I can still get very nostalgic when I see that type of carpet but overall I don’t think carpet is a great option particularly for families with children or pets. Carpets gather dirt and are easily damaged beyond repair in seconds. I have always expressed surprise at how many mums of babies and toddlers have cream carpets. That’s an accident waiting to happen however beautiful it looks when it is first put down.

Wood floors

Wood flooring can be difficult to get down so maybe not the perfect choice for someone who wants to do it themselves. However they are durable and easy to keep clean. I really like the look of wood floors and have a beautiful one in my dining room. I think they do give that refined feel perfect to go with my sparkly chandelier.

Laminate flooring

If you want that wood type look but are not expert at laying it, laminate flooring is a great option with prefinished lengths that snap together.

It is fairly hard-wearing too and relatively easy to claim although can show wear over time.

Ceramic tile flooring

Again, this is not particularly easy to install unless you know what you are doing.

I have lots of tiled floors in my home including in the sun room, the kitchen and the lounge. I love them as a quick sweep and steam clean keeps them so hygienic. You can always jazz them up with rugs if you want a bit of extra colour but I don’t bother as again rugs get grubby so easily.

So for me give me tiles or wooden floors for preference with laminate as runner-up and keep me away from carpets and rugs.

Of course, we all have our own circumstances and tastes so I would love to know how you choose flooring for your home.

 

 

 

 

 

Winnettes

Regular readers will know I am a huge fan of JML who are the people who come up with clever gadgets to make our busy lives that little bit easier and at affordable prices too. They kindly sent me a Hurricane Spin Scrubber to try out. Now there is a name to conjure with. It is just what you need to make bathroom cleaning quicker and less of a chore. It costs £39.99 but let me tell you it is so worth it!

Hurricane Spin Scrubber

The trouble with bathrooms is you have to reach up high and down low to clean them properly which is a pain. There are always tricky corners and areas that are hard to get to partly because usually our bathrooms are small rooms but have a lot of big things like baths in them.

With three interchangeable heads, spinning at an incredible 300rpm, and an extension pole that means you can reach every corner of your bathroom without bending or stretching, Hurricane Spin Scrubber will blast through grime and dirt.

I rarely find housework fun but it has to be done and apparently every day of my life. The gadget is so easy to put together according to my husband who will play with a gadget whilst showing absolutely no interest in the harder housework tasks most of the time. The Hurricane Spin Scrubber gives you a cleaning brush or rather three on a long slim pole. This is great as it does not take up much room at all when not in use.

I actually really enjoy using the Hurricane Spin Scrubber and it makes such a difference getting into trickier areas and speeding up the whole process. If it had a radio in it that played “I want to break free”, it would be absolutely perfect but I bop around as I use it anyway.

Family Fever

You learn a lot when you become a blogger. One of the benefits of blogging for me is learning about things I did not know enough about. This includes special educational needs. It is so inspirational how parents share their stories so openly and do their utmost to support other families. Blogging about special educational needs matters and I am delighted to share my interview with Ann Hickman who writes Rainbows are too beautiful  and was a finalist in the BAPS SEND Blog Awards 2017. Ann is also Britmums SEND Round-Up Editor and contributes posts to The Mighty Site and Huffington Post

Why did you start to blog?

It really was a spur of the moment decision.  I was in the playground one day with my autistic son and for the first time ever he played with another child for a few minutes without my help.  Sounds small, but for me, having a nearly non-verbal five year old, it seemed amazing.  I wanted to tell someone about it.  After I got home I googled ‘start a blog’ and wrote my first post that afternoon.  I wrote several times a week about the little things and then it just sort of expanded.  

As my sons and family grew I was being asked for advice by people and I thought I actually had a bunch of information and experience in my head that others might like to know so started sharing helpful information too as well as our stories.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

Excited.  It was new and something I’d never done before.  The blog never really ‘took off’, just slowly built up.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I enjoy it. I think about what I want to write about.  I feel less pressure to write all the time which is nice.  I also love that it brings me friendships and opportunities such as speaking and writing, that I value very much. 

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It’s the small things, like helping others when they feel alone or changing an opinion.  Last year I responded to a journalist who wrote about a disabled child in a restaurant.  My post changed her opinion of kids like mine and that’s something I’m proud to have done. 

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

Oooh.  I’m the Britmums SEND Editor at the moment, so I like attending the Britmums events.  But it’s probably going to the BAPS Awards.  It’s a smaller blogging awards especially for special educational needs bloggers.  As a group we don’t tend to get out much as out kids can need specialised help sometimes and it’s wonderful to meet up with these bloggers – that’s always the highlight for me at most events. 

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

Very little. I include helpful information, services and products in my posts which come with a payment or in exchange for goods. These are sometimes reviews and sometimes links.  I turn down things that don’t fit in with our blog and our readers – making money is not what my blog is about. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

I blog about some quite sensitive topics.  Sometimes the real things I’d like to publish I don’t.  I sometimes read them out to my other half to tell me if it’s ok or not. 

What surprised you most about blogging?

I liked it! I’m still doing two and half years later and I didn’t think about that when I started.   

How do you balance blogging and family life?

This can be a hard one.  Being mindful helps and asking what do I want to do now?

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

If I didn’t like it anymore.  I like positive reinforcement and if things start to go down hill, I tend to jump ship with everything except family and friends. 

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Enjoy it. Figure out what you like and what’s important to you and your blog and try to stick with it. 

Huge thanks to Ann for sharing her blogging journey with us. Do you have a story about blogging that you would like to share with me?

Winnettes