I’ve been sleeping on my new Simba Hybrid mattress for over a week now. (Night times only, not non stop.)

Simba mattress discount code

I love it, and even better, you can love to it! Use my link to claim your Simba discount code for £50 off, plus I’ll earn a little bit of extra cash too. Everyone’s a winner!

So, the mattress…

I’ll be totally honest – I was expecting NOT to love it. In fact, so sure was I that I would want my old mattress back, that I didn’t take advantage of their ‘we’ll take your old mattress away’ offer, and now I have a double mattress in my spare room to somehow get to the tip in my Renault Clio.

Awkward.

My scepticism was nothing to do with Simba, it was just that I really did love my old mattress. I’ve had mild back issues since a car accident years ago and I’ve never found a mattress that I like as much, even in fancy hotels where they claim to have amazing beds. I tried to think about it logically though – my old mattress is at least seven years old, and has been through two house moves, so how long exactly was it going to go on being comfortable? Also, having recently separated, a new mattress felt like quite a cleansing thing. Fresh mattress, fresh start and all that.

Plus I was offered a Simba discount code to pass on to you, so I thought it would be the nice thing to do.

So I took the plunge and said yes to testing the Simba Hybrid mattress. View Post

Last year I discovered the joy that is vacuum packing a duvet. I’m a woman of simple pleasures, one of which, it turns out, is watching all the air get sucked out of bedding.

IMAGINE MY DELIGHT then, when I realised you could do it to food too!

The idea behind the FoodSaver Fresh preservation system is simple – keep food fresh for longer and so spend less on shopping and throw less food away. As someone who hates food waste, and will eat out of date yogurt rather than put it in the bin, you can see the appeal.

You can use your FoodSaver Fresh for anything where you want to keep fresh food fresher for longer, whether it’s that second half of your avocado in the fridge, or baking supplies in the cupboard. Air is the enemy of freshness, so the FoodSaver Fresh locks out air and moisture, meaning your food doesn’t spoil as quickly.

The FoodSaver Fresh preservation system has two elements. First up you have the machine itself, which I’m guessing is essentially a mini hoover. It’s a nifty size, and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space on the worktop: View Post

Post in association with EE

Last weekend Belle and I went to Bristol as Belle wanted me to take some pictures of her against cool backgrounds.

Belle

(The backgrounds in some of the others are better I promise.)

MY BABY GIRL!!!

When did she get so big??

It always makes my insides twitch a bit when I see pictures of either of my baby girls looking so grown up. There is such a vulnerability at this age isn’t there? She’s 15, and so very nearly on the cusp of being an adult, at yet at the same time she is just a child, full of doubts and insecurities. I think this photo of Belle captures that mix pretty well.

Parenting at this age is hard too. You want to protect them, but you want them to be exploring their independence and learning to make good decisions. It’s like you’ve put in all the work and then you have to step back and see if it all holds together. (A bit like when I do crafts or DIY, but hopefully sturdier.)

I’ve been exploring this theme with EE today in a post about cyberbullying and the Royal Foundation’s Stop Speak Support campaign. In the post I talk about the challenges as a parent in keeping kids safe online, and highlight three things that you can talk to your children about that will hopefully go some way to equipping them with the right skills, should they ever come face to face with cyberbullying.

Please go and have a read now and make sure you know what those three things are.

Normally when I ask Belle what she wants to do at the weekend she says ‘nothing really.’ She stays in bed until about 1pm and then watches Vampire Diaries until I drag her out to Homesense or something dull like that.

Last weekend though when I asked her, she said ‘I want to go and do a photoshoot, where I wear lots of different outfits and you take pictures of me in front of cool backgrounds.’

Well.

Who would have thought it?

So Belle filled the back of our tiny car with clothes and shoes and make up and hairbrushes and I got my camera and we went up to Stokes Croft in Bristol. When we lived in Bristol we lived pretty close to Stokes Croft and it’s one of my favourite parts of the city. There’s such a vibrance to it – so many colours and cafes and different kinds of people. Unfortunately on Saturday it was also a bit on the drizzly side, and bitterly cold, but we had hot chocolates in Cafe Kino, braced ourselves, and did our best.

I understand that being 15 can suck quite a lot. I look at my body now and think about my body at 15 and I want to cry a bit, because of the inversely proportional relationship that goes on – the younger and more beautiful you are, the more full of self-loathing you also are. Once you get old enough to realise you’re actually a goddess, i.e. me, then things are rather past their prime. Hopefully Belle will be able to look at these photos and realise how beautiful she is.

(Although probably not because of being 15. See above.)

Anyway, we had a lot of fun, despite the cold, and it was nice to get out of the house for a proper weekend outing.

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It’s that time of year again. Along with the change from summer to autumn comes the dreaded task of cleaning all those fallen leaves out of your gutters and downspouts. First and foremost, don’t even consider cleaning your own gutters if you’re not confident you can do it safely. Every year thousands of people are seriously injured trying to clean out their gutters, mostly caused from falling from a ladder, so safety is paramount. If you must do it yourself, here are four ways to clear out your gutter gunk.

Inspect

First, inspect all the spikes that are penetrating the gutters. These run through the fascia boards and into the rafter that are behind them. Over time, these spikes often work their way out of the hole, so it is a good idea to invest in new gutter spikes and re-secure them. You should also look for the cause of any leaks in your gutters or downspouts, including holes or damage. Lastly, inspect the rivets on the downspout in case they have become loose, and then retighten them or replace them.

Clean

how to clear your gutter

Image via Flickr by jeffcovey

Now it’s time to clear all the debris out of your gutters. Typically that means putting on a pair of good gloves and scooping it all up by hand. Toss the leaves, pine cones, and sticks into a bucket or onto the ground below. The debris actually makes for a nice compost for plants and soil. If you come across any critters or birds’ nests, try to move them to safety away from your home.

Wash

A regular garden hose or pressure washer is an effective way to wash out your gutters once all the debris is removed. It’s also a great way to watch for leaks or other problems. If using a pressure washer, follow the instructions carefully and try to avoid spraying the gutters at too high of an angle, or you could accidentally blow the shingles off the roof.

Maintain

You should clean your gutters at least three times a year or at the end of every season. This way, it doesn’t become an overwhelming project, and you will get a longer life from your gutters and downspouts. While you’re at it, rake or gently blow off your roof leaves, but be careful not to damage your shingles.

Also, consider investing in gutter guards for your home. Gutter guards act as a shield to prevent harmful debris from falling into your gutters. The gutters will still catch all the rain but are less likely to clog up. With a good gutter guard system, you can cut your gutter maintenance easily in half.

Safety should always be the most important consideration for a responsible homeowner, followed by maintaining your investment in your home, and lastly financial concerns. Eliminating a dangerous job by hiring a professional, even infrequently, improves your quality of life and provides greater peace of mind. You’ll also have more time for other important things, like enjoying time with family and friends, and who doesn’t need more time for that in their life?

Recently I wrote a little post about HotUKDeals, a website with a community of deal seekers, who help each other find the best bargains, on and offline. If you didn’t read it, go and have a look at how I saved £527 on my Christmas shopping.

HotUKDeals is the UK’s biggest deal-sharing community where millions of consumers find, rate and share deals so that you don’t have to do the leg work, trawling the internet for bargains. The voting system on HotUKDeals makes it ideal for Black Friday deals, as you can see at a glance if something is worth investigating – the hotter the deal, the better the offer. You can also set keyword alerts via the website and free app, so all the deals relating to matching items, such as Xbox or LEGO, come straight to your phone or email.

Today though, with the infamous Black Friday fast approaching, HotUKDeals members have put together some tips for us, to help you grab some great deals. Some of them are pretty extreme – I’m not sure I’ll be staying up all night in the name of a discount – but if you want to be top of the bargain tree then these tips should help.

ALSO…

HotUKDeals has very kindly given me a whopping £250 Amazon voucher to give away! HOW COOL? Have a read of the post and then I’ll tell you how you can enter for a chance to win an Amazon shopping spree.

Black Friday tips

So first up, here are 14 tips from HotUKDeals members to help you get the best Black Friday deals: View Post