Are You Looking Into IVF Treatment? Why Donating Eggs Is Important

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The infertility diagnosis is always hard to take no matter your age or marital status. The decision to have IVF (egg donation) can be difficult as well, but it definitely gives you hope of getting pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby. Many infertile couples face the choice of using donor eggs and have a baby or live their life childless (or perhaps adopt). Let’s not forget about those couples who are carriers of serious genetic diseases and for whom egg donation is the only solution to have a disease-free child.

Egg donation gives you the possibility to become a biological mother for your donor egg baby. Did you know that 10% of all babies conceived through IVF are a result of successful IVF (egg donation)? That is a big number taking into consideration the fact that about 45,000 women undergo IVF in the UK every year. Did this decision come easy for them? Probably not. This is something that needs to be discussed with your partner, well thought over and not rushed.

It may take you a while to come to terms with using egg donation. Many women want a baby who has some of their genetics. It also seems very romantic to make a baby with the person you love, to mix your genes. You may think that genetics is what would bond you as a family. However, let’s look at it from a different perspective: it is your body which will give “home” to the developing baby for 9 months, it is your blood flowing into the placenta and giving life to the baby. And it is your body which will give birth to the baby. Then, there is breastfeeding and cuddling which is such a great bonding experience. And, finally, you are the person who will raise the baby. At this point, the genetics does not matter as you are the real mother to the child.

In order to be able to make an informed decision, do some Internet research on the topic. There is a plethora of fertility blogs and vlogs where women describe their IVF egg donation journey, embryo transfers, pregnancy and birth. Read interviews with egg donors – you will get an idea about the motives of women who decide to share their eggs to help others. Finally, find a reliable database of IVF clinics where you can compare success rates and cost of IVF with donor eggs in various clinics. This way you will have the whole picture and it will be easier for you make an informed decision. Once you set your main goal (getting pregnant with donor eggs) the price may not be a factor for you.

However, this type of treatment is usually very expensive, therefore, it is a good idea to check all the options, including even travelling abroad for more affordable IVF.

To sum up, we should be able to see egg donation as a precious gift. Let’s not diminish in any way the hard work that infertile couples go through to realise their dream of parenthood. As a mother I am convinced that everyone deserves the right to be a parent. The sweet reward may come after a few attempts but it is well worth it. Overcoming the challenge of infertility is already a huge success; we should celebrate it and be proud of it at any age. As Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives’ actress, who had twin girls well in her forties, once said: "When a woman gets older, they get donor eggs, which doesn't make the baby any less beautiful or perfect.”

How To Continue Travelling When You Have A Child

You hear a lot of cliches when you have a child. There’s all the talk about how little sleep you must be getting, how all of your money is tied up in your children, and so on. Then there’s one that’s just accepted as a truism: that if you have a child, you have to stop travelling, or at least limit your travelling experiences for a week or two next to a pool at a big resort. But if you’ve spent your life travelling the globe, you’re unlikely to want to stop now! The question is, do you have to? The answer is simple: no, you don’t. But you might have to adapt a little. Below, I take a look a ten tips that’ll help you carry on travelling, even with your little one around!

Changing Your Ways. There might have been a time when you’d see what flights were available, quickly book it, and then figure out the rest when you landed at the destination. Exciting days, for sure! But when you have a child, you won’t be able to improvise quite as much. You’re responsible for another human being, remember (see for the need to have items)! Having things like a robust travel itinerary, emergency services information, and making sure that there are enough things to keep a child entertained will go a long way to making sure the trip runs smoothly.

Pick the Right Locations. It’s true that some of the world is going to be blocked off to you when you have a child. A week-long trip to Las Vegas, for example, probably isn’t the best idea, is it? It’s important that you pick the right destinations when you’re travelling as a clan. But keep in mind that this only discounts a tiny percentage of the world. It’s typically just the obviously ‘adult’ centred places that should be on the ‘no-fly list’ until the children are older.

Solo Travel. You’re obviously dedicated to your family, but you’re still an individual! If you have a place that you’ve been dying to visit but which your children aren’t able - or uninterested - in travelling to, then that doesn’t automatically mean that you’re unable to go. Instead, speak to your partner about babysitting for a few days. If it means that much to you, you’re well within your right to go by yourself! Indeed, part of being a good parent is making sure that you’re happy and fulfilled. If you are, you’ll find it much easier to give your family the dedication that it requires. If you need some convincing of the virtues of solo travel, check out

Set up a Base. There are many advantages of having a holiday home. It’s cost-effective; it’s a home away from home, and it’s an incentive to get up and travel. It’s also handy when it comes to family travel. Kids can get restless when they’re on a plane or endlessly on the go, but by having a familiar base, you’ll be able to ensure that your children have something to look forward to after a long journey. The trick is to have a base nearby to the places you like visiting. If you love travelling across Asia, then take a look at there you’ll find the property that’ll allow you to explore the rest of the continent with ease. If you’re a Southern Europe type of person, then a villa on a Greek island would be appropriate.

Keep the Costs Down. It’s expensive to have children, and it’s expensive to travel; put the two together, and it’s a wonder that anyone goes anywhere. However, it’s also true that travelling never has to be expensive as people believe; there are always ways to keep costs down. If the cost is what’s holding you back from travelling with your loved ones, then take a look at new travel habits. Cooking your own meals, avoiding the expensive tourist attractions, and being flexible with your travel dates can all lead to significant savings.

Locally Active. Travel adventures come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just the act of boarding a plane and landing in a country where you can’t speak the language; adventure is all around us. If it's been some time since you and the family have been travelling and you can’t see when the next time will be, look local. People typically know more about foreign lands than they do their own areas! There’s likely to be a point of interest - probably several - within a short drive away from you. Have those days out when an overseas trip seems so far away.

Don’t Overdo the Journeys. If it were just up to you, you’d be travelling for days, hitting sight after sight. But really, when you have children, that’s just not possible. They’re going to get tired, hungry, cranky, and everything else. When it comes to planning an overseas journey, don’t overdo it: keep things enjoyable, and the activities to a minimum. It’s better to have an enjoyable time only doing a handful of things, rather than cram too much in and end up ruining your trip.

Let The Kids Rule. Don’t rule with an iron fist! If you want your kids to be on board with your adventures, then it’s important that they get something out of it too. Ask for their input on what they want to do, and do it. They won’t have any fun if you’re dragging them through museum after museum. And hey, let’s be real here: you’re going to love visiting amusement parks and the like, too.

Divide the Responsibilities . You’ll need to be a well-oiled machine if you're adventuring with your kids is going to go off with a hitch. Before you travel, make sure you run through the responsibilities with your partner, and make sure that everyone knows what their role is. It goes without saying that it’s not fair if one person is picking up all the flak and the other person is just enjoying their trip.

Stay Positive. Finally, remember to stay positive. Travelling with kids can be trying, but it can also be deeply rewarding, so put on a smile and enjoy your time.

3 Ways To Pay Off Your Debt

Monday, January 15, 2018

The quicker you pay off your debts, the sooner you will have more financial flexibility and feel like you can control your own destiny again. Debts can take a real toll on the mind and body as you are always worrying about having to pay them back. With that in mind, here are 3 ways that you can pay off your debt and have more control over your money.

Friends and Family

If you have the option, then you could try and borrow some money from friends or family in order to pay off your debts. This won’t be possible for a lot of people. However, if you can, then it can mean that you don’t have to pay off large interest amounts. It can also give you more time to pay back the overall amount if you are struggling with payments. Make sure that if you borrow money from your friends or family that you pay them back as no doing so will ruin your relationship. If you are worried about this, then don’t borrow from friends or family. If you have friends and family who are willing and comfortable with lending you money, then you can prevent large interest on your debt and pay them off much quicker. You can arrange how you are going to pay them back either through a large sum or a monthly payment. Your friends and family are going to be a much nice debt collector than a loan company.

Monthly Payments

This is the most common way to pay off a debt. You will make a monthly payment to the company that you borrowed from, and gradually your debt will decrease. Depending on the type of debt you have and the amount you are paying this could be quickly or it could take years. A lot of debts will have less interest the quicker you pay them back, so you might want to increase your monthly payments in order to pay it off faster. Another option is to use debt consolidation loan companies so that you can put all of your debts into a single monthly payment. This is really helpful if you have multiple debts and it can save you time managing each one individually. Instead, you only make one payment to one company once a month which is much easier.


It might sound strange, but you could use your savings to pay off your debts. The reason for this is that once the debts are gone, they are gone. You will be able to save the money that you were spending paying back your debts on saving. Once you have paid them off, then you will be able to save far more money, and you won’t have a debt hanging over your head. You should not use your savings to pay off your debts if it ends up completely draining you of savings as everyone needs a rainy day fund and not having one could just put you into more debt. However, if you feel comfortable doing it then using your savings to pay off your debt can save your money on interest and give you back some financial freedom.

Don’t Let The Tough Financial Times Beat You

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A daily struggle

There comes a time in many people’s lives that their spending can become somewhat of a painful struggle to figure out. If you’ve been living with debt for a long time, it can start to feel suffocating and frightening. It can seem as if there’s no way out and you’re bound to the struggle for the rest of your life. Well, there are solutions out there for people of all kinds, so don’t let your debt bring you into a panic! Losing all hope in your financial situation is something that might seem tempting once you’ve gone deeper and deeper into debt, but finally finding a way out of the debt can make your life so much better.

Bad credit

Bad credit is something that you’re labelled with when you’re known for being unable to pay bills and debts. This is something that will affect how likely you are to receive loans and financial aid. Sadly, it seems the more you need the money, the less likely you are going to be able to get it. There are options for people with bad credit too! For example; debt consolidation loan for bad credit can help you greatly when it comes to covering your monthly bills. Basically, you take out another loan to pay off the ones building up interest; then you pay back the new loan at a steadier rate that’s achievable for you. While it may seem risky, paying off a debt by taking on another debt, it’s something that’s a lot more under your control. Slowly you can restore freedom back to your life.

It’s never bad to know about these kinds of services, as the earlier you use them to help with your debts, the less likely it is that you’ll have an increased interest rate. For many, finding these kinds of solutions can be quite difficult, as the debt situation is stressful enough as it is. It’s difficult to take the time and find out better methods for you, as many people are unaware and can get confused when in such a horrible situation.

Looking at life

Sometimes we have to just take a good, hard look at our lives to make sure we're not frivolous with our cash. It’s never obvious at first, as once we get into spending habits, it just becomes something you don’t consider anymore. While it might seem like an extreme step to take, have you thought about how much you need a car? Many people who own a vehicle often have cheaper alternatives to pick from and only really need their car on rare occasions. It’s easy to see your car as a point of convenience, as it can be very helpful when it comes from getting yourself from A to B. In this situation, you should be thinking about whether the places you need to drive to are in walking distance, and could you be saving money on fuel? Living with debt is no time to be spending on the things that you want. In a sense, you’re only making life and your financial situation more difficult for yourself. While it is important that you feel rewarded now and then, you can’t expect to go all out when the money technically isn’t yours, to begin with!

The Cost Of Reckless Spending

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Spending more money than you’re earning is an easy and obvious way to get yourself into trouble. It doesn’t take a huge amount of maths to figure out how much you’re spending, and your employee will be telling you how much you earn. Unfortunately, though, too few people take the action they need to make an impact in this area and will leave themselves struggling for no good cause. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring the true costs of overspending, along with some of the work you can do to avoid it.

When you’re spending too much money, it can be very easy to do things like ignoring your bank account. With time passing, it will become easier to spend money on things you don’t need, and you may even see a rise in the money you’re spending. Without suffering the consequences of poor money management, it’s impossible to know what you’ll have to face. This makes people’s spending habits make a little more sense, at least. As the overdraft grows, though, more will be going out than is coming in, and this will lead to an empty and inaccessible account.

Eventually, this sort of spending will lead to bill payments failing, rent becoming overdue, and other areas of your money falling apart. At this stage, a lot of people will be forced into getting payday loans, as they won’t be able to cover the essentials in life. If you ever need to do this, it’s a much better idea to get a personal loan. With lower interest, longer terms, and higher limits, this sort of option is much better than those which charge a small fortune. Having to do this will often be the wakeup call which people need to get themselves back on track. Of course, though, this isn’t always the case, and you may find yourself going much further into the bad side of your finances.

As the last stage in the process of overspending, a lot of people find themselves bankrupt. Though this sort of system stops your debt and gives you the chance to rebuild what you’ve lost, it could also cost you a huge amount of what you’ve bought. When someone find themselves in this position, the very first thing the bank will demand is that you sell anything you don’t need or use, including anything from clothing to electronics. You don’t get the money from this, though, as it will go into a pot which pays for the money you’ve borrowed. Avoiding this is well worth it, even if you’re struggling to pay things back.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your money. Spending too much is something which everyone knows to avoid. For some reason, though, a lot of people struggle to do so, and will find themselves at the wrong end of the financial stick as the result. Your money is your business, but you should still work hard to make sure that you have enough of it.

Money Management To Make You Smile

Everybody wants to be in a situation where they are financially stable and independent. However, this is much easier said than done, and often, people will accept that no matter how much they save, no matter how much they try and count every penny, they still end up in the same position at the end of the month. But having excellent money management skills is not some trick that is only used by the successful and those in-the-know. Understanding the best ways to look after your finances and make the most of your paycheck is easy, once you discover the secrets to handling your finances correctly.

Budget, budget, budget. Budgeting properly will make you feel like you have gotten money for free. Typically, you are used to looking at expenses and essentials, and then using whatever is left to spend at your leisure. However, it is the type of spending you do in between that can affect how healthy your finances look at the end of the month. You don’t need to go for luxury brands; you don’t need to go ultra frugal in order to ensure you have enough left before the next paycheck. Instead, consider looking at what you can cut out of your life, you might just be surprised how little you miss it in a few months.

Pay off your debts. Debts are such a nasty little thing, aren’t they? You spend a bit here and there on your credit card and then get hit with interest fees a month later because you forgot. There’s no shame in that; it happens to the best of us. But ensuring that you pay off your debts promptly can significantly increase your financial strength and prospects for when you want to move towards bigger purchases like houses or cars. Demonstrating excellent repayment habits shows banks that you are reliable and helps you avoid bad credit. And bad credit is something you need to avoid. If you are currently suffering from bad credit, then researching and deciding on legitimate credit repair companies to help with any credit, debt, and financial issues you might have can save you a lot of heartache and troubles later on.

Teamwork. For those who are married or in a relationship, you might feel that two incomes in the household means you can double the amount of spending. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. In fact, having someone else to deal with money means you need to be even more responsible when it comes to spending, as you will often be spending their money, too. Working out a financial plan with your partner can streamline the whole process. It can be dull and challenging to figure out your finances by yourself, so having someone beside you can ease any of the stress. This will also make the two of you more concerned about where the money goes, and allow you to start saving up for whatever the two of you want to achieve in life.

Your future. So, if you’ve been looking to work towards better financial satisfaction, there is no better time to start than now. Understanding the steps towards happiness in your finances will ease the worry that comes with a lot of your day-to-day life and can open opportunities for further improvement.

Have Fun With Promotions

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Running marketing promotions for your business is one of the great joys of being a business owner and marketing professional. You can go any which way you like with a promotion. You could stick to the classic flyers and email newsletters with a social media campaign.

Or you can spice things up a bit, send out a carrot to people for Easter, create personalised wholesale drink pouches and fill them with your product to send out as a sample. You can be as crazy or as reserved as you like. The ultimate key is to be remembered by your audience and to gain good publicity from it. If you are thinking of running a campaign but you aren’t too sure where to start, here are some ideas:

Spreading a message. If you are working as a charity or organisation, you might want to create a product to give out which sends a message in a profound way. A great example of this is a promotion which the team at Alzheimer’s New Zealand put together to bring awareness to the illness. They sent out an empty USB with no way of storing files, and wrote the message ‘Alzheimer’s erases your memory. Save it.’ This is such a simple concept but it had a massive impact on the people who received it.

Pull A Prank. There’s no better way to show who you are as a company than to share something a little bit quirky and take advantage of some childhood toys and pranks. It could be a can of bean which when opened spills fabric everywhere, or maybe it is a whoopee cushion with your logo on it and a clever phrase. There are loads of ways to use childhood toys to bring a fun memory back to the audience as well as spread your message.

A public display. You might remember a couple of years back that a staircase in Stockholm was transformed into a piano overnight. The aim of the experiment was to make people ditch the escalator and climb the stairs instead. They ran the test over a few days and before the experiment hardly anyone used the stairs, but as soon as the piano appeared pretty much everyone did. This is a great example of a successful public campaign.

TV references. One of the clever ways you can promote your company to a wider audience will always be creating something which coincides with the premiere of a film or a TV series. For example, when the last Harry Potter movie had been aired, many different companies jumped on the bandwagon by creating things which related to the film. This could be videos showing viewers how to make butterbeer, mystery bath bombs which would have a colour inside coinciding to one of the four houses, or even makeup brushes in the shape of wands. By taking advantage of something which has a cult following, you are likely to spread your reach much further and gain a loyal following.

Smart Shopping: What Size of Sofa do you Actually Need?

Your sofa will take up A LOT of space in your living room. In fact, it will probably take up more space than any other furniture you have in there. Your sofa is where you are going to drink your cup of coffee in the morning, where you doze off after a long day at work and even where your guests will sit. So if your sofa is well-loved and a bit worse for wear, it may be time for you to make a new investment. The problem is that there are thousands of options available for you to choose from, but luckily this guide should help you to navigate the treacherous waters of the furniture store.

Sofa Length. When you go to a designer Chesterfield sofa sale, you’ll soon find that the total length of your sofa will depend on the room that you have. Your sofa shouldn’t take up too much for the room and everything needs to be scaled. If you have a television in your living room for example, then you will want your sofas to be around 7ft away from this if possible. You also need to make sure that there is at least 18” of space between the coffee table and the sofa, and this is so you don’t have to squeeze in between them. It also helps to measure the space that you have while thinking about the other types of furniture you have and even your design. Think about it, if you have end tables, will your sofa fit? It helps to take a tape measure with you when measuring your sofa so that you can put everything in proportion.

People and Seating. When you have determined how long your sofa needs to be, it’s time to move on to how many people you will need to seat at any one time. If you have a 95” sofa at the moment and you only have two cushions then there is a high chance that you won’t seat three people on it. If you can find a 100” sofa that has three seats however, then you can easily seat three people but the fit might be a bit cosy.

Sofa Depth. The easiest way for you to find the right depth for the sofa that you choose would be for you to sit on it. Make sure that you think logically when buying your sofa, do your feet touch the ground when you sit on it? A lot of sofas are around 36” deep but it is possible to find ones that go up to 40” deep. If you have a lot of kids then a shallower sofa may be better as it will stop their feet from dangling but if you’re an adult who likes to lean back then you may want a deeper sofa.

Colour is also another consideration, and for this, you need to think about how much natural light you have in your room, whether the light is going to fade the material and even if it matches in with the other decorations as well.

4 Easy Ways To Create The Ultimate Cosy Bedroom

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Have you ever ventured up to bed and almost dreaded the moment you have to get under the covers and try to get to sleep because it’s just so cold? Although it can be easy to warm up the rest of the house, your bedroom can become too hot if you leave the heating on all day, or it can become too cold if you leave the window open to let in some fresh air. Now that the chillier months are upon us, you want your bedroom to be a haven of cosiness. Take a look at how you can ensure that you sleep in ultimate comfort this winter.

The Bed Itself. It pays to invest in the most luxurious bed that your budget will allow. You could opt for a swanky polished white metal or bleached wood effect king size frame, and then select a super comfy mattress. On the other hand, you may wish to forego the bed frame and choose the divan style bed. There are many options, such as Vi-spring beds, that incorporate the sturdiest of divan frames with the plushest mattresses made out of the finest materials. Ensure that you select a firmness that is ideal for you. Too soft and you could end up getting up each morning with a sore back.

A Rug. If you have wooden floorboards in your bedroom, your boudoir will exude a classic period feature. However, this also means you may not be able to walk around barefoot as you risk mild frostbite. Adorn your room with opulent rugs that fit in with your colour scheme. By doing this, you are breaking up the expanse of space on the floor, adding a touch of extra detail to your room and ensuring that you feel something warm, soft and cosy underfoot.

Sheets. You don’t have to make do with basic cotton or polyester sheets for your mattress. The snugness of flannel and knitted sheets mean they insulate effectively. The fibres are tightly knit, and they have a more tactile feel upon your skin. As you get into bed, you’ll feel like you’re entering a luxury hotel suite bed rather than venturing onto some chilly sheets. Accompany your new luxury sheets with a warming furry hot water bottle, and you will have created the ultimate little den to escape the cooler climate.

Robe. Although a thin silk robe is delightful in the summer, during the winter months, you want something softer and thicker to keep you warm as you hot foot it out of your bed first thing in the morning. Towel and soft touch robes are ideal. It’s a wise idea to get a size bigger than what you actually need so you can wrap yourself up within your warming cocoon before you turn on the heating, grab a cup of coffee and creep back into bed.

Our bedrooms should be our sanctuary and our escape from the stresses and pressures of life. We want to be able to leave all our baggage at the bedroom door and retreat into a calming and relaxing environment. Follow these steps, and you could have the most luxurious, comfy and cosy bedroom this winter.

14 Ways to Have a Home The Whole Family Will Love

There’s a lot that you need to think about when you have a family. You need to make sure that everyone is sufficiently taken care of, that they have all they need to thrive and be well, and that they feel included in the family goings-on. On top of all this, in fact at the core of all this, is the family home. This needs be conducive to all family members, and also to your current financial standing and future plans. Below, we take a look at fifteen ways you can ensure that you have a house that works for everyone in the household.

Think of the Needs. There’s no such thing as “the perfect family home,” purely because everyone family is different! Before you get too deep into planning your house, you’ll want to think about what you and your family want and need from a house. This will be influenced by how many children you have, how old they are, and what they like to do (e.g., are they athletic or more academic?). Of course, you’ll also want to keep your plans at the forefront of your mind too: if you’re planning on having several more children in the coming years, then you’ll need to factor that into the process, too.

Find the Right Home. Some homes are naturally better suited for families than others. If you’re currently living in a flat, for example, then it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s unlikely to be suitable for a growing family! If you only have one or two children, then look at buying a bungalow; it’ll provide the space you need inside, all the while adding an outside space for your children to play in too. Beyond the type of house, it’s also worth thinking about the location of the property. For example, you’ll want to be close to schools, parks, and other important family amenities. It’s always a good idea to get a headstart on these types of things, ideally well in advance of your child beginning school, as it can take a long time to find a property that meets all of your criteria.

Open Floor Plan. Your house is going to be many things. One of the most important functions it’ll perform is that of ‘makeshift babysitter.’ Of course, we don’t mean that literally - but it can help you to keep an eye on your little ones, or at least it can if you have an open floor plan. If your kitchen flows into your dining area, which in turn flows into living room, then you’ll be able to keep an eye on your children while you’re taking care of the essential household duties.

Allocated Spaces. You might plan on designing your home with family connectivity in mind, but it’s important to remember that everyone in your household is also an individual. And as such, they’ll need a space that they can call their own, and where they can be free to enjoy their passions and interests. At a minimum, it’s recommended that everyone has their own bedroom - and crucially, has the final say over the look and feel of it. This can help promote creativity, autonomy, and will also allow your child to have a platform where they can express themselves. If you have a spare room, look at adding a room that’s just for children’s play. This will have a number of benefits; for one, it’ll help keep the mess that they make to one specific area. It’ll also give them a space to play in, which means you’ll be able to unwind in another part of the home undisturbed.

Bringing the Comfort. There should be one room in the house that’s dedicated to bringing the family together for movies, cosy nights in, and all around good times. The obvious option for this is the living room. With this room, you should keep one eye on style, but the main focus should be on making it comfortable and a place where everyone wants to be. In the afternoons, this will be a spot for children to watch television and play; in the evenings, everyone can curl up and watch a film together. Make sure you have enough pillows, throws, and that the seating is extra comfortable!

The Right Materials. OK, there’s no getting around the fact that children can be messy. Indeed, that’s just part and parcel of having a family: if there’s no mess, then something isn’t right! As such, it’s important that you choose the right materials for your home, ones that will make it comfortable, but also safe and easy to clean. Hardwood floors, for example, will be much more durable than carpets.

Mess Rooms. Every family, to varying degrees, is active, and consequently, it’ll be a good idea to have a room where you can dump all those messy sporting clothes, hiking boots, and other muddy gear that would disrupt the flow of the house it’s not contained. If possible, make it at the back of the house, near the garden, which is likely to be where most of the mess comes from.

Tech-Free Zones. There was an interesting television show shown a couple of years ago. In it, a family lived life as it were 1950 one day, 1951 the next, 1952 the day after that, and so on up until present day. What it found was that as technology improved and become more personal, the time that the family spent together reduced. Instead of sitting around a table playing board games, everyone was in their own bedroom, playing video games! We can learn something from this. In your house, dedicate one room as a ‘tech-free’ zone. When you’re in there, it won’t be about Playstations or smartphones: it’ll be a detox from the connected modern world, a space for the family to enjoy time together without the aid of technology.

Kid-Free Zones. And talking of tech-free zones, what about a kid-free zone? When you’re thinking about making a home that works for all members of the family, it’s important to remember that you are one of the family members we’re talking about! You need to ensure that all of your needs are met, and by adding a room where you can relax without being bothered by your children, you’ll be able to build up the energy needed to be at your brilliant parenting best.

Outdoor Spaces. The inside of the home is important, but let’s not forget about the garden. In spring and summer, that’s going to be the highlight of the home. You can make sure it’s children and adult friendly by adding things like outdoor games, tables and chairs, and a BBQ. When the weather outside is fine, you won’t have to find other ways to keep the family entertained; you can simply move into the back garden, and spend long hours in the sunshine. It’s always a good idea to start planning your garden well in advance of spring and summer, and this will mean that it’s ready to go when the good weather finally rolls around.

Careful with Luxury. Every home deserves to have a few touches of luxury scattered throughout the property. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that if you have a family, it might not be the best idea to load up the house with expensive goods. It might get broken! However, that doesn’t mean your home can’t have those luxurious touches. Try to limit them just to a couple of rooms, such as your bedroom and a second living room, if you have one.

Organised Chaos. There is an art to staying sane when you have children but want to have a tidy home. If you’re following your children around, imploring them not to make a big mess, then you’ll already have lost the battle. Instead, have set times during the day when you have a collective tidy up; it’ll get your children into the habit of picking up after themselves, and you’ll be able to let some mess go, knowing that it’ll be taken care of in a few hours.

Magic Touches. We can often forget, as adults, that life can be pretty magical. If you have young children, then why not sparkle your home with magic, creating a fantasy world that sparks the imagination in the process? There are some amazing bedroom designs that look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale, for instance. In the garden, you can also add fairy lights, and make the most of the best garden projects that add those classy yet imaginative touches.

One Eye on the Future. Finally, remember always to have one on the future when you’re putting together your family home. If you don’t plan on being there forever, then avoid making the big changes that’ll be costly but may not necessarily add value to your house. Part of making sure a home works for the family is ensuring it is beneficial to the family’s finances!

A Day On The Wirral

Sunday, January 07, 2018

This weekend, the boys had the pleasure of visiting a few museums on The Wirral - I stayed at home with Teddy as the weather here in the UK is incredibly bitter at the moment and I don't feel taking him out is in his best interests until it warms up a little.

First on their list was the U-Boat Story. They actually got tickets which allowed them access to a number of attractions: The U-Boat Story, The Mersey Ferry and the Spaceport all for £38. As there were three adults and a teen visiting at that point, I don't think that the price is too steep - although they did get a little pushed for time as they only had until 4pm when the facilities closed.

U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life

The U-Boat museum houses not only a U-Boat which is partitioned into four sections so you can wander around and have a good look inside - but an Enigma machine too. Anyone who studied the War in school knows that the Enigma machine turned the tables for the English, so seeing one of the coveted machines in all her glory was incredibly humbling.

U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life

Seeing such a piece of history is something I think everyone should indulge in, especially as a lot of the school curriculum in primary settings involves the war and its details. Giving your child the chance to explore a piece of history that you usually can only read about is something that not everyone gets to embrace - so make the most of having this gem on your doorstep.

U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life

Next was a trip on the world-famous Mersey Ferry. I'm sure everyone knows the relevance of the 'ferry cross the Mersey' song which actually does play as the vessel takes you on a small tour around the Mersey. Obviously, weather depending, you can have a relaxing trip or a rather wobbly one - I think the guys were lucky and had quite a pleasant trip out onto the waves, giving them a look at Liverpool from the waterfront.

There is food and drink available on the ferry itself, and the tour runs for just under an hour featuring guided commentary about Liverpool herself and The Wirral.

U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life

Finally, they stopped by the Spaceport which currently has a rather special Star Wars exhibition on as you can see. Featuring a private collection of Star Wars memorabilia, you can see a whole host of iconic scenes and characters from the films including Ewoks, R2D2, Darth Maul and Yoda amongst others.

U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life
U-Boat Story, Spaceport & The Mersey Ferry | She & Life

As I previously mentioned, you can visit all three attractions for £38 as part of a 'family pass' - well worth investing in if you are stuck for a day out and want a variety of different things to do. With such a variety of interests catered for, why not make a day of it and visit The Wirral?

A Letter To My Newborn Son

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Dearest little one;

I'm writing this two weeks after you came into the world. Two weeks after my life completely changed - two weeks since I first held you in my arms. In that short space of time, you've educated me in life lessons I never thought I'd ever have to learn - what to do when I'm in the middle of changing you and you decide to go to the toilet, what to do when you cry and I don't know why, and what to do when you babble to yourself in your sleep at all hours of the early morning. You've taught me that sunrise isn't a big deal, and sleeping in past seven in the morning was really over-rated. I've become well versed in nursery rhymes, and I'm far to accustomed to browsing baby clothes on Instagram while you lazily feed at hours I didn't think existed.

My life has been turned on its head, shaken a few times and then left upside down as you came into it.

But I'm.. I'm happy with that. I truly am. Even if I'm awake when the birds are. Even if its been weeks since I straightened my hair or put makeup on. My new job role doesn't require that kind of uniform you see - instead of putting a face on in the morning, I'm putting a nappy on. Instead of dragging a Tangleteezer through my hair I'm throwing it into a 'Mum Bun', no worries had that it probably hasn't been brushed in a few days.

Every sacrifice I've found myself making, I don't miss at all when I look down at you in my arms. Cliché, but the stories are inexplicably true. As soon as you hold your child in your arms, you'd walk through fire and ice to please them - even if it only causes a brief flutter of a smile for a moment. All that matters now, is that tiny little life that falls heavily under your responsibility. I realise now, how selfish and juvenile I probably was before you came along.. Frivolous with my finances, lax at keeping my blessings counted and a queen at procrastination. In my 30 years of life, I've never felt a more enlightening time than I have this last fortnight and I have you to thank for that.

Having a child can make or break you, they say.

Well - you make me, every single day.

Thank you.


Post-Christmas Comforts

Friday, January 05, 2018

So the tree has been packed away into its box, the lights no longer twinkle incessantly and there isn't a scrap of wrapping paper to be seen - Christmas is over and done with, dawn has broken on the twelfth night and we can all collectively breathe a sigh of relief.

That said, now Christmas (and New Year) have been and gone - we can often feel a little deflated. One of the things I like to do at this time of year is have a deep clean at home and indulge in some new bedding. Thanks to JD Williams, I was able to prepare for this by treating myself over the festive period to this Linden Fern Green Duvet Set (£15). One of many choices in their extensive bedding collection, I fell in love with the print itself due to its minimalist, almost Scandinavian feel.

Fern Print Duvet Cover by JD Williams | She & Life
Fern Print Duvet Cover by JD Williams | She & Life

The set is also reversible, featuring a muted striped print on the reverse - perfect for creating a homely feel when folded back on itself. It compliments the fern print perfectly without taking anything away from the minimalist feel. Our bedroom is a bit of a work in progress thanks to being in a privately rented home, but having a set of bedding that I love changes the whole room and makes it much more inviting.

In the same order, I purchased a Christmas present which has already featured on a post previously - the coveted and somewhat infamous Lakes Distillery Whiskey Baubles (£49) that people keep complimenting on Instagram.

Lakes Distillery Whiskey Baubles, set of 6, JD Williams | She & Life
Lakes Distillery Whiskey Baubles, set of 6, JD Williams | She & Life

Each bauble is made of glass, finished with a screw top metal cap which means they can be emptied and refilled each year if you so wish to do so. One of two Christmas ornaments I purchased, I couldn't be happier when they arrived in a beautiful display box which could be used to store the baubles for years to come - it added a new layer of luxury to the set which at £49, wasn't a frivolous purchase for me.

I also ordered the Disney Traditions Snow White Hanging Ornament, but with the excitement of Christmas day and my stepdaughter whom it was purchased for I didn't get chance to take a photograph. I wanted to make sure she got something a little more 'grown up' this year as she's welcoming a half brother into her life with Teddy arriving, and having something so grown up and delicate is a responsibility for a new big sister to undertake. Snow White has always been her favourite princess, so having the Disney element added in made sure it was a huge hit.

I chose these items to review and received them with no charge, but the thoughts and opinions are very much my own.

Saying No To New Years Resolutions & The 'New Year New Me' Brigade!

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 has come to an end - rather quickly! I know I wasn't prepared for the midnight chimes on the 31st of December, but I'm here to round off the year and open a new one never-the-less. This year ended on a huge high note for me, welcoming Teddy into my world and changing my whole dynamic - I'm not longer 'just' me. I'm a Mother. That in itself has had a huge impact on my hopes, aspirations and motivations for the year ahead.

I do apologise for the festive look of this post - I celebrated Christmas in a blur this year and haven't had chance to share much thanks to our new addition!

Every year we face the whole 'new year, new me!' argument. I'm no different, year in year out I punish myself with gruelling resolutions which - lets face it, nobody ever keeps - and that really impact on my life. Whether it comes packaged as a vow to lose weight, or a pledge to stop a bad habit each year we all put pressure on ourselves to change. This year, I'm saying no.

I won't be entertaining any resolutions this year - and I have a few reasons why;

1. My personal growth isn't something I can schedule on a whim. I mean this - resolutions are all about bettering yourself and growing as a person, aren't they? Well surely that's a commitment that you can't just decide to pick up on January 1st and run with, without resenting the growth that you want to achieve. If you want to change something, do it in your own time, when you feel comfortable enough to - the date is irrelevant.

2. I know I won't keep to resolutions - why set myself up to fail? No, really. I can't keep resolutions. I'll always stick to them for a week, maybe two - then hate myself when I fail at keeping to one and resent myself for a while afterward. This is compounded when I've shared the resolutions online as there is an added pressure to keep up appearances. Few things in the world hurt a person more than self-hate, and despite the 'new year new me' culture sometimes marauding as self-love, for some it just doesn't happen that way.

3. Why should I find things to change about myself just because I should? As years sometimes are, 2017 was a gruelling one for me. A tough pregnancy, losing my job and then securing temporary work until my 39th week was hard, but I look back and feel satisfied. I had a lot of strife thrown my way, but as 2018 dawns I've come through and I'm in one piece - so do I really need to look back at myself and pick out things to change? I don't think so, I've been brilliant this year even if I do like a drink of fizzy pop, thanks.

4. I have enough pressure on me, I don't need myself adding to it too. This rings true for everyone, I think. Work, home, play - all facets of our lives have a degree of pressure to them. Social events, family life, keeping a home, holding down a job... We have so much going on around us, why do you need to add more into the mix? I had only just balanced my life when 2016 closed in on us, as 2017 ends I have a whole new role to learn.. I think that in itself will be enough to test my resolve in 2018.

5. I'm going to do me, for me. The last and the most important point I'm going to make on this post. While I won't be bothering with resolutions or the like, I will be focusing on myself more. I will be having he confidence to stand up for myself, I will look after myself and I'm certainly going to embrace 2018 as she comes - no matter what she throws at me, I know after 2017 I'm strong enough to get through it - and get through it with a smile on my face to boot.

The baubles featured in this post are from JD Williams - you can click here to view them. I picked these as we put together Christmas presents before I went in to hospital and I wasn't disappointed when they turned up at our door - made from glass, each one is filled with whiskey and can be hung from the Christmas tree. Now, with whiskey being the focal point of each bauble, you may be worried that once it has been opened you've lost the trinket.

Nope, each one is refillable and comes with a screw cap so you can se them to your hearts content year after year. You don't even need to fill them with whiskey - decorative liquids that include glitter can be used to add a real touch of magic - or you can go with the alcohol theme and fill them with your beloved tipple of choice.
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