Sleeping on a water bed – #40thingsbefore40

Have you ever been camping, and woken up in the middle of the night to find your air bed has sprung a slow puncture and your hip is resting gently on the hard ground?

Have you ever been a passenger in a car, where the driver has put his foot down sharply, leaving you feeling slightly queasy?

Now imagine those sensations blended together. Add in a gentle yet disconcerting sloshing sound, drink a bottle of wine, and there you are, on a water bed.

When I was growing up in the 1980s, water beds were the epitome of cool. They were a proper fad – suddenly everyone who was anyone, (i.e. no one I knew), had one, and I longed for one of my own. I imagined it would be amazing, like sleeping on a little boat, bobbing happily along a calm river.

It was not. View Full Post

Competition – win a set of three clever cotton towels from Hammamas

“That’s not a towel,” said my fiancé, “it’s a scarf.”

“It is a towel,” I assured him, “from Hammamas, but you can use it as about a million other things, like a beach blanket, or a sarong, or even a table cloth.”

“Or a scarf,” he said, winding it around his neck. “This one is mine.”

And so that was that.

Hammamas towel review View Full Post

Money advice for single parents – getting financial help in an emergency

I’m no stranger to financial troubles. As a young, single parent, I found myself in a good amount of debt, and totally understand how easy it is for money issues to spiral out of control. Fortunately pay day loans weren’t so prevalent 15 years ago, or I could have ended up in a proper pickle. 

Luckily, payday loans aren’t the only option if you need money urgently. You might be able to get a budgeting loan, hardship payment, short term benefit advance, or even a grant. Single parent charity Gingerbread has put together this really handy video, to tell you all about your options, whether you need help with paying the rent, utility bills, or for a one-off purchase.

Gingerbread provides advice and practical support to single parents, and campaigns to make sure their voices are heard. You can find out more on their website.

Please do share this video with any friends you think may be in need of help or support.

 

Are you wearing the right sized bra? A day out with Mish Lingerie

It’s a tough old life being a blogger. A couple of weeks ago I had a day out that’s the perfect example – I popped down to Cornwall, ate some mini pasties, tried on bras at the Mish Lingerie shop, had an ice cream… it was all very stressful indeed.

buy lingerie online

buy lingerie online

Who am I kidding?? It was awesome! Seriously, I know I must be about the most annoying person in the world, always blathering on about my mini breaks and days out, but bear with me today, for I bring you a serious message. 

Today I’m talking bras. 

First up, a confession. I am one of those women who dresses for comfort. I may only be 37, but wardrobe wise I’m about 68. If I could get away with ordering all of my trousers from a Sunday supplement then I probably would because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t rather have an elasticated waistband? Unfortunately, this makes me a bra fitter’s worst nightmare, as I’m the sort of person to think ‘I’ll just go up a back size, just to be comfy…’ View Full Post

Help support children living with violence, conflict, hunger and disease with World Vision – #CharityTuesday

As you may know, a couple of years ago I visited Ethiopia with World Vision, and ever since I have sponsored a child there – Eyerus. If you can’t commit to child sponsorship, you can support World Vision with one off donations too.

So, what’s the problem?

Poverty, conflict and disaster leave millions of children living in fear. Fear of hunger and disease. Fear of violence, conflict and exploitation. Fear that robs them of a childhood.

How does your organisation set out to solve it? What makes your approach unique?

Our local staff work in thousands of communities across the world to free children from fear. We live and work alongside children and their families to help change the world they live in for good.

Our worldwide presence means we’re quick to respond to emergencies like conflict and natural disasters. We also use our influence and global reach to ensure that children are represented at every level of decision-making.

We can do this because people like you are prepared to sponsor, donate, pray, campaign or simply share the stories of boys and girls who have been given lasting hope for the future. View Full Post

Because what 16 year old doesn’t like to wear their mum’s clothes? My donation to the SendItNow #GoodDelivery campaign

This week I did my bit for the PDSA.

I didn’t rescue a skinny dog or de-flea a bedraggled cat or anything, but I did donate what I think is the most expensive item in my wardrobe. (Not hard to be honest as most of my clothes come from charity shops or sales.)

The PDSA are working with SendItNow to collect special items from a group of bloggers, which can be auctioned by the PDSA to raise money for their valuable services, and I am one of them! Hoorah! It sounds like a cliché, but I love using my blog for good things, and to be able to make a little bit of difference where it’s needed. 

You’d think, with this generous attitude, that I’d be the sort of mother to shower her children with gifts and attention, doing my best to fulfil their every dream.

Pah! View Full Post

The one where my sister emigrates

That makes it sound terribly dramatic doesn’t it? Like she might be off to New Zealand or something, never to be seen again.

She’s not, she’s only going to Ireland, but that is a whole other country, and it will be the farthest away she has ever been from me. I know it’s not technically that far, but at the moment she lives 20 minutes away, and you can’t very easily just go to Ireland for tea can you?

Needless to say, I will miss her very much.

There is something very special about a sibling. You share a complete history, from a very similar perspective, and it gives you a unique bond that you can never really have with anyone else. Nobody else will ever appreciate the fun in a game of ‘Estate Agents’ quite like she will. I also rely on her completely for all of my childhood memories, partly because my memory is terrible, but also because she is the night owl, and I was always in bed before all of the exciting things happened. View Full Post

Competition – win a NOW TV Box with a 3 month Sky Movies Pass

win free sky movies

Belle loves to share facts. She has a QI book on her Kindle, and every so often she reads them out. While we were away last weekend, she told us one about popcorn.

“Did you know,” she asked, “that £30 of popcorn kernels resells in cinemas for £3,000?”

I always knew that cinema popcorn was a rip-off, but blimey, that a bit much. If ever you needed a reason to stay home and watch a film instead, then that’s it really isn’t it? Pop down to Tesco, pick up a bag of Butterkist, stick on Sky Movies, job done. View Full Post

Festival fashion for kids

All summer long we’re bombarded with emails, social media posts, TV adverts and posters about how to get that perfect “festival fashion” look. By this point I know we are all sick to death of seeing images of 20 year olds sat around a fire wearing brown suede fringe crop tops, but not all festival fashion has to be worn by an unusually skinny girl with dirty blonde hair, laughing manically at a sunset.

If you’re off to a family festival with your kids this summer, you can all still look the part too. It’s a big part of the festival experience and your kids will love getting into the spirit of things with some cute new outfits. Over at melijoe.com there are loads of lovely pieces that will get your kids in the mood for a summer of great family festival memories.

Here’s a summery summary of my favourite new items on the site: View Full Post

A short rant about buying a wedding dress on eBay

In my head right now I am singing ‘here comes the bride’. Take a minute if you will to do the same and get into the right mood.

(Note that I am singing the ‘here comes the bride, all fat and wide’ version, because that’s the only version I know.)

(Another thought – does it even have words?)

Anyway, that’s the kind of mindset I need you in, as today I am sat at home waiting for the arrival of my eBay wedding dress. I have never bought a wedding dress from eBay before; in fact I don’t know if I have even bought a regular dress from eBay before. It’s jolly exciting anyway.

I wish I could tell you all about it and post a picture, but that would rather spoil the whole ‘groom not seeing your dress’ thing wouldn’t it? I could ask him not to look, but what groom is really going to think ‘sure, I’ll let the whole of the internet look, but I’ll be sure to avoid that one blog post.’

I’ve never been into wedding dresses as a thing, so have no idea if it’s even going to suit me. I’ve never looked at wedding dresses for fun, never even tried one on before, even just to pretend. I am a complete wedding dress virgin. Today will be my actual first time. View Full Post