God, January is being LOOOOOONG this year isn’t it? It’s so miserable, all the rain and dark mornings.

What you need to to WIN A COMPETITION! How much better would you feel about life if a hamper of cheese turned up on your doorstep?? With this in mind, I asked the super lovely (and lucky) Di Coke to come up with some tips to help you win competitions. Di is something of a comping expert. She’s been winning competitions for twenty years, since the good old days when it was answers on a postcard, and she shares her tips on her own hugely successful blog, Super Lucky.

Here are Di’s seven habits of successful competition winners:

1. Buying random stuff they dont need

 A successful comper will have cupboards full of toilet roll, toothpaste, tuna and crisps, bought as ‘qualifying’ products for competition entries. But in addition to these useful products, expect to see them stocking up on Tena Lady pads and random baby products too. Because if a competition offers a decent chance of a win, compers will buy the product to enter regardless of whether it’s any use to them. Oh, and they’ll buy in bulk too – just in case the promotional packs disappear off the shelves. Don’t worry though, those 40 packs of sanitary towels will be donated to a local FoodBank or Women’s Refuge once the comp’s over!

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energy saving tips

If I’d had a pound for every time I’ve said ‘you left your light on’ over the years then quite frankly I wouldn’t have to care about my energy bills, as I would be a millionaire.

Children leaving on lights drives me absolutely mad, as there is just no excuse for it. Think about it – it’s like the light itself is TELLING YOU YOU’VE LEFT IT ON.

It SHINES. In your face.

I don’t even know how it’s physically possible to leave a room and NOT notice that you’ve left the lights on. I can only conclude that children’s brains have a vital part missing from them until they reach some kind of magical age where they are able to SEE LIGHT.


This post isn’t meant to be me complaining, it’s about positive things you can do to save energy – not just to reduce your bills but also to ensure that you leave less of a mark on the world. I’ve recently bought my own house and so I’m in the lucky position now where I can think about bigger things I can do to reduce energy consumption. I’ve had my loft properly insulated for example, and I’ve got decent double glazing throughout.

Even if you don’t have the cash (or the enthusiasm) to tackle bigger projects, small changes you do can add up. Here are seven properly useful ideas I’ve had to help you create good energy habits in your home.

Get a smart meter

This is top of my list and an excellent first step to help you reduce energy consumption. With free smart meters, which allow you to monitor your energy usage in real time, in actual pounds and pence, it means you can see for yourself how much it costs to do specific things like boil a kettle or run a dishwasher and thus identify ways to cut back. There is something about having this information presented to you, seeing the energy and money tick away, that really helps to hammer the message home. View Post

At the moment for book group we are reading A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. It centres around a family of four children and the generations either side, and how we live as part of a family and how that shapes us.

At one point in the book the mother, Abby, makes a comment about parenting. She says ‘you can only ever be as happy as you unhappiest child.’ I don’t think this is a new statement, but I hadn’t heard it before and it made me stop, put down the book, and think about it for a little while.

Is it true? Can you only ever be as happy as your least happy child?

as happy as your least happy child

Initially it stopped me because I thought perhaps it was one of those simple, throw away lines that perfectly captures something very true. We all want our children to be happy after all, and it’s not nice when they aren’t, but the more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with it. I mean, no offence to my children, because I think they are amazing and beautiful and strong and everything, but they aren’t always the HAPPIEST of people.

I decided I have two problems with it: View Post

Do you ever get sick of being told to ‘get out of your comfort zone’?

God, it’s relentless isn’t it? Heaven forbid we do a steady job we enjoy, or live in the same house for more than a few years, or avoid extreme sports we hate. Apparently life isn’t worth living unless we are on the edge, continuously pushing ourselves further and further out of our comfort zones.

Well I’ve had enough.

I LIKE my comfort zone thank you very much, especially at this time of the year when outside is so cold and miserable. My comfort zone is COMFORTABLE. That’s the point isn’t it?

Let’s take Monday this week as an example – I pushed myself out of my comfort zone by walking to work in the pouring rain. (‘Embrace the weather! Dance between the raindrops!) It was 1pm before my jeans had dried out properly – just in time to walk home again. Getting back after school, cranking the heating up and peeling off my cold, damp clothes in exchange for warm pyjamas and slippers was wonderful.

Weekend mornings are particularly blissful at the moment. Normally when I first wake up it’s still a little bit dark and when I remember it’s the weekend and I can go back to sleep if I want to, I grin and squirm about a bit in the bed, appreciating how it has somehow arrived overnight at the absolute perfect temperature. My feet are extra warm as I can feel the weight of a cat sat on them. I sit up, and when the cats realise I’m awake they all come up close to my face and start purring. I stroke them for a bit, before going downstairs to make a coffee to bring back to bed. I have a scroll through Instagram or read for a while.

Um, why exactly would I want to leave this?

I wouldn’t.

Fortunately this week is ‘Warmth Week’, created by Vaillant as part of their comfort zone campaign as the antidote to the what is commonly accepted as the bleakest week of the year. It’s the perfect excuse to get snuggly.

To help distract you from the urge to bungee jump or write letters to ex boyfriends or whatever hideous thing Facebook would have you believe you desperately need to do in order to be a leading a fulfilling life, I’ve put together nine top tips to help you stay well and truly INSIDE your comfort zone this winter.

top tips to stay warm in the winter

Pick your spot

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I was doing a bit of research this week for a new list.

As you may know, back in 2013 (GAH!) I made a list of 40 things I wanted to do before I turned 40, an event which has rather crept up on me and appears to be happening THIS APRIL.

I’ll be writing more about that at some point, but in the meantime I have started thinking about my next list – 50 things to do before 50. Obviously it will include things like ‘stagger about a bit at the fact that I am in my 40s’, but I also want it to have some fun and unusual things on it, so I was doing some Googling.

I happened upon this list from American Cosmopolitan, (which I should have realised was a bad sign), of ‘50 things every woman should do before she dies.’

Given the publication, I guess I should have expected things like ‘learn to give the perfect blow job at the same time as achieving the dream thigh gap with this one miracle exercise’, but it still made me cross.

Here are some of the things that American Cosmopolitan thinks we should aspire to, some KEY LIFE GOALS for women:

  • Put a streak in your hair, or dye all of it
  • Learn to make one full meal
  • Eat dessert for breakfast
  • Eat a huge piece of cake (or candy bar or ice cream cone or whatever your favourite dessert is) and feel wonderful about it
  • Make a whole cake for no reason other than to sit there and attack it with forks alone/with your roommate/boyfriend
  • Just completely lose it at customer service when they’re being dicks  
  • Spend an entire day eating nothing but crap
  • Speak in public

krispy kreme

Well, I think already we are feeling EMPOWERED aren’t we ladies?? View Post