Garden Finished Project 2019

As you may know if you have followed us for a while, we moved house in September last year. This means that we are still putting our stamp on the house. We are aiming to do a couple of rooms a year. This year one of the projects was the garden. I did share some of my plans a couple of months ago. I did stat that we would be doing the work when Joe had some time off work.

Plans

There is a couple of elements which we actually still want to do. This includes getting a chimanea so it is not that cold when we want to stay out later.  It will also help us keep a having a little bit more light which is always a bonus. I know we are going to be using the garden more. When the weather becomes nicer and this is only going to increase with the summer. We are also looking at getting a sand pit for Jess as well. I have my eye on one which is reduce which would fit so I think I just need to order it.

Raised Up Area

Instead of focusing on the couple of bits which we still need to do to the garden.  I am now going to speak about the changes which we have made in the garden. First of all we managed to concrete the raised up area there was elements which were cracked.  This has made it a bit more level. We then have been able to purchase a table and chairs. This was very important for me because it has allowed me to work outside and also we can have meals out here when the weather is nice. We managed to pick up a great bargain we got 6 chairs and a large table for £120.

Of course we had to clean it as well because it was pretty filthy so of course, I got some pleasure using the jet wash. Due to the fact that the raised up area is so high we have had to get some decking panels this means that it is going to be hard for people to fall of and hurt themselves. Of course, I could see Jess become injuries when she was playing in the garden for some reason.

Pond

Talking about getting injuries while in the garden we have now had the pond removed. For sure this is something which I could see Jess falling in. There was a wide range of horrible things in it including bricks which would not have been pleasant.  This has been filled in and there is some paving stones there currently however,  I do think that this is where the sand pit is going to be going. This is going to mean that Jess does have something to play with which is always a bonus. The one I have found also has a lid which means that it should not get rain in it or blown around because of the wind.

Decking

We have also managed to wash the decking which was a job I loved. I do think I have a bit of an addiction to properly cleaning things in the spring time. We have actually painted it with some stain oil this is a bit darker than it has been previously. I am unsure how this is going to last because it does not look amazing and even but it is better than nothing. I could not believe how expensive the stain actually was but it does look a lot better than been very dirty. It is not as slippy as it used to be when it rained. I might have to do another coat of this on because I think there are gaps where it is missing.

Path

The side entrance to the garage is something else which we have changed there used to be just a large paving stone there. Then we has flat bits of grass where we had been walking however, I was no longer really happy with this anymore.  So we managed to get it so it was level and them built it up which allowed us to put the gravel down. On top of this we have managed to put some of the extra paving stones which we had 4 of. This is going to stop us walking on the grass. As you can see we have added some wooden trail this is to make sure that we do not have the gravel on the grass. It does also mean we can have the two different heights along the side of the garage.

Borders

We have dug all of the borders up there was a lot of herbs which had died in the garden and this is not something I wanted in the garden. I wanted to have pretty flowers which were going to add some colour to the garden because after all I wanted it to be a relaxing space. This meant digging it all up and stripping it back but for sure this was worth it.

Rockery

The rock area at the back of the garden we have not changed too much. We actually painted the planter which was there which was full of bricks. We have removed all if them filled it with soil and managed to plant some plants over there. This means that it is a lot more bright. We have lifted the rocks and made them more even and it looks a lot better than having random rocks. This is an area of the garden which I am so proud of. And it did not cost that much this section.

Back

We had a ton of brambles to remove which of course was not a great job to do. I think we have managed to get the majority of these removed now. They were all along the back and I did not want Jess to end up with balls been popped or hurting herself. Where they where in the garden we have now planted some pants. There was some random pieces of wood and trellis. These where things which were ugly and where starting to rot so I decided that we was going to remove this. It does look a lot better even if the fence is starting to break but this is not our fence.

Wendy House

Working our way around the garden we end up at the wendy house which I have painted. This has made it look a lot better. We managed to get some fence paint which was a one coat one. It is a little bit darker than it has been in the past however, it does look more new. I have managed to paint the white sections which some of them are rotten however, they can to be replaced. I am unsure how much longer the wendy house will last.

The floor on the front has been painted but for sure this rotting. However, the planks of wood go all the way through the wendy house so can not be replaced. I have also painted the bits which are near the window. They have been turned blue instead of white and I feel like they look a lot better than they did. Jess for sure loves it and it does mean that she is going to be able to play in it more.

Borders

The other side also had a lot of herbs however, they were dead as well. So we decided that we was going to dig them up completely. Again we have put some very nice plants there because I want some pretty colours there. It does look a lot better than the green and brown dead things which was there previously. As you know I am wanting to add colour to the garden do it is somewhere where I want to be.

Planters

There also was two huge planter which had actually been rotting so this was a job to empty them and then get some new ones. We actually purchased the 46L ones from B&Q. They are plastic so this means that they should not rot. We have actually had to fill them up with some compost because there was so many rocks and horrid things. Of course we have decided to put a lots of plants. They do bring a lot of colour which I love hopefully this is going to be last for a while. They did not cost a lot of money to do either which is always a bonus.

Rabbits

Of course, the main addition to the garden as you may know is the rabbits and their hutch. Rabbits are something which we have been speaking about getting for a while now. I think it is important for Jess to understand the importance of looking after others. I also believe that there is a great bond to be had with animals they help when you do not feel great. We have been looking at them for a while and rescued the pair which we have from Pets at Home they are 8 months old. They are two boys who I think are brothers they have been named Tracker and Marshall. Can you tell who named them they have been known to steal my phone and upload pictures of themselves on Instagram.

What DIY projects do you have on doing this year?

Charlotte xxx

 

Baby Driver

 

Driving with a baby in the car can sometimes be the most stressful thing ever, especially when they’re newborn. Other times it can be easy when the motion puts the baby to sleep leaving you to be able to fully concentrate on the road. Regardless of how it goes for you – driving can often be unavoidable. This means that a decent car and a car seat are essential purchases. Recently, I was searching how to handle this situation better and discovered a study by a UK contract hire and leasing firm All Car Leasing titled ‘Baby Driver’.  Which looks at the behaviours and habits of parents who drive or have driven with babies in the vehicle.

I noticed straight away from the study is if you’re a person who gets anxious about driving with a baby in tow you’re definitely not alone. Most respondents worry about getting lost if it was their first baby and the second worry is ‘other drivers’. This makes sense and I feel the same when travelling in the car.

Anxiety

Shockingly, 37% of the 1,200 parents All Car Leasing surveyed said they had been in an accident while the baby was in the car. This is a number which actually shocked me. It seems a lot higher than what I thought it would be. I wonder where this is due to having a baby in the car causing more anxiety for the driver. I know we used to be worried that Jess would throw up in the car. She used to suffer from travel sickness on shorter journeys rather than longer ones. Or was it the baby causing distractions which ultimately lead to the driver making an mistake and an accident occurring.

Distractions

I was looking to see how people keep babies occupied in the car. Sometimes we do actually find it hard to keep Jess occupied in the car. Obviously she has travelled a lot in the car from a very young age. From the respondents to All Car Leasing it sees that talking its the most used form of distraction. I still use distraction whether this is talking to her or also singing. This is for sure the techniques which other parents use. This was followed by toys which is something which we do not use often in the car. We always found that Jess would drop them and then this would mean she cried. We used to have to stop and give it to her. 89% of parents use distraction so it shows that babies in general usually were not happy just been in the car in the first place. They need someone or something to keep them calm.#

I would recommend having a look at the study and finding out more. I have only selected a small part to comment on.  Whether you are a first time parent or you have a child already. I love to find out more if I am effectively normal when it comes to parenting. I do worry sometimes even now about having Jess in the car and of course, she is 3 1/2.  Another element I found shocking is that 2 in 3 new parents purchase a new car as a result of having a new bundle of joy. This is not something which we have done but we know a number of people who have done this.

For sure I will be checking this article out again should we have an additional child. The reason behind this is because, I think that I have forgotten a lot which I knew when Jess was a newborn and we did a lot of travelling.

How do you feel about travelling with a baby or newborn in the car?

Charlotte xx

This is a sponsored post by All Car Leasing

 

Tips For Email Marketing

Getting newsletters and emails from brands is something which we all get several times a day. As a blogger I receive so many of these emails I have been thinking about creating my own newsletter for my blog. Today I am going to be sharing with you 10 tips to do if you have market via email.

Build your own subscribers

You need to build your own subscribers who want to engage with your content. People need to be able to choose to subscribe rather than you actually subscribing for them. A good idea is not to buy your followers because this will actually anger them and they will not engage with your emails. Have a way that people can actually choose to subscribe to your emails on your site.

Send emails welcoming your followers

Make the people who have subscribed feel special welcome them to your emails. Make them have an email as soon as they do subscribe do not make them wait a long time because this does mean they will not feel as special. This may make them more engaged than if you make them wait a long time to receive their first email. I know that I do not engage with the newsletter if I can not remember subscribing to this.

Get Personalised

If your email starts with dear and then the name of the person subscribed. Studies have shown that people are 26% more likely to engage if they personalised. This means that your content is going to reach more people. This is something which is going to be more beneficial. This is not something which is going to take too much effort but for sure it is going to be effective. You need to make sure that it speaking to people rather than speaking to nobody.

Don’t send the same email to everyone

Generic emails are one of the worst things which you can actually do. For example, if the person is not a blogger there not going to care about email blogging tips. For example how to make sure that their content is seen by more people this will not interest them at all. However, for someone who wants their content to be seen this could be essential and very helpful. So make sure you know what people want and then they may be more likely to engage.

Make it specific

Tailor your message to fit the needs of those who it is been sent to. For example, there is no point sending information about an event to those who are in America if the person is in the UK. This is more likely for your email to become deleted the person not to engage with your content any longer. You may even want to make the content gender specific or age specific for example those who are under 16 may not care about baby and toddler products you are trying to sell.

Send Email Based On Their Time Zone

If you receive an email in the middle of the night you are less likely to engage with it as the middle of the afternoon. You want as many people to engage with your content so why not make sure that you spread out the time that you send out the email. For example sending the email to those who are in the UK 5 hours before those who are subscribed and New York based.

Proof Read and Check Before Sending

There is nothing more annoying than not having checked emails. Spelling mistakes shows to those who are reading your content you have not checked it. By quickly checking there are no spelling mistakes or broken links it is going to make your brand look more professional. It will allow people to be able to click and use your site meaning that you have another hit. This may not take long but may make someone come back to your site which is something which you always want to happen.

There are a lot more tips which I could share regarding email marketing. However, these are the ones which I feel like are the most essential and most common mistakes that people make. For even more tips when it comes to email marketing check out Campaign Monitor. 

What tips do you have when it comes to email marketing as we all engage with them so often.

Charlotte xx

This is a collaborative post with campaign monitor

 

 

Meal Plan 22th February #8

Today I am going to be sharing with you this weeks meal plan. I will admit that we had a cheap shop this week we struggled to spend the amount to do click and collect. I am trying to get some things used out of the freezer still this means that I am going to have more room for things like ice cream in the summer. Without further ado, I am going to share with you the meals which we have eaten this week.

Monday- Prawn Thai Curry, I actually had some prawns in the freezer which we had purchased reduced. We also had some Thai curry sauce which could do with using. I am going to serve this with rice. Curry is something which we have not had for a while so I am looking forward to this meal.

Tuesday- Nacho Chicken , Jacket Potato and Mixed Veg. This is a meal we are having because I picked up some Nacho Chicken from Asda on an offer last week. They sound like they are going to be nice because Nachos and Chicken are two foods which I love. To be honest we both seem to love any Mexican food. I am going to serve this with Jacket Potatoes which we have in and some mixed veg like always.

Wednesday- Creamy Bacon and Sausage Carbonara.  Again this meal has come around due to us having meat to use up we had some sausage left over. I thought that I would use them before they go out of date and I found a recipe which allowed me to turn them into this Carbonara. This is not a meal which I have ever made before but it sounds nice. I think the sausage should make a good twist to this meal.

Thursday- Chicken and Broccoli simmer in soy and star anise. I had some broccoli which I needed to use up. When I was flicking through one of the recipe books which we have I noticed this recipe. For me, this sounds like it is going to be something different which I am all about. Even Joe said it will be nice to see how this one comes out so who knows. I will report back on this one.

Friday- Sloppy Joes’ and Wedges. I have to thank Cheryl from Madhouse Family reviews for this meal. She included it in a meal plan a couple of weeks ago. I have been thinking about it and thought I would push myself to make something different. I am actually looking forward to it because it is like nothing else which we have on the meal plan this week. This is going to be served with simple wedges as I think the sloppy Joes’s should be the main element.

Saturday- Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta. I actually have some salmon in the freezer. I thought I would turn this into a smoked salmon pasta for sure this is something which Jess will eat. This is what I try to do on a weekend a meal which I know Jess will enjoy. She always asks for pasta. This is going to be a simple meal to do it will not require us to spend a lot of time away from her to cook it.

Sunday- Pork Goulash. This is a meal which came around because we have some pork steaks which we wanted to use. I was flicking through Pinterest . I found this recipe. Again this is something different I do not even know if I have ever had goulash. I am not sure what to expect but I will be looking forward to Sunday and having this meal.

This week as a range of different meals some which I never have ever cooked. Of course, I am looking forward to that because it is always fun to test your skills. I hope there is something which has taken your eye on this meal plan.

Of course, this meal plan is part of the linky which Katy Kicker runs every week. I get so much inspiration and I am noise so I love to know what other people are eating.

What are you having for your meals this week?

 

Charlotte xxx

Goals For January 2019

Happy New year I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year period. I love this period of a new year a fresh start and feeling like you are able to conquer the year. I know for sure it does help me because I set goals which I want to achieve. In my head I have some goals which I would love to achieve by the end of the year. Some of them of course are high and I may not achieve. This year I have decided that at the start of very month I am going to set some goals of what I want to achieve.

Personal Goals

Meal plan for the whole month– at the back end of the year we was using Hello Fresh. I realised how much money it was actually costing us. If I do a meal plan and stick to it we are saving money. We was spending £65 on food when we had the subscription boxes. I think we have managed to get it under £50 a week for all 3 of us which is amazing.

Eat 2 veggie meals a week- I get bored of having meals with meat sometimes. I am not looking to go full on veggie but I have noticed that these meals sometimes tend to be more full of flavour. It is actually saving money because these meals do not seem as expensive.

Go to the gym 3 times a week- I have had a gym membership since I moved house. I have no excuse not to go and recently I have not been loving the way I have been feeling . I want to do something about it. My aim is to go to the gym 3 times a week to see if this improves my mental state as well.

Read 2 books- reading is something which I love to do but since I have lost my commute it is something I struggle to do. I think last year I managed to only read 9 books 3 short of my target of 12. Reading helps me switch of and actually relax so it for sure is something I want to get back to doing. I have set myself a goal of 24 books this year so I want to make a good start. Rachael from fromrachaelclaire has started a book club as well which I have joined. In order to get my motivation for reading back.

Work Goals

Engage with followers more- this is something which I feel like I have not done in a while. I have barely been using my twitter account and I feel like I really miss the social side of blogging. I miss my friends who I have made through this as old and new

Hit 1500 twitter followers- this is something which has been on my list for about a year. Like I said last year I basically neglected twitter over instagram. I want to get back and use both platforms more because I know that people are not always on both. It used to be a very social place so lets see if it still is. You can follow me if you don’t already @cupsofcharlotte

Hit 1000 instagram followers- I did do this on new years eve for a short period and then I lost them. So this is something which is very likely to be done. I want to basically grow my balls and speak more on stories. I think this is an amazing way of engaging again with people. Again if you do not follow me over there I can be found @cupsofcharlotte

Use Pinterest- I have started dabbling in this since the back end of November I have been using recipes. I always hear other bloggers saying that it is a huge source of traffic for them to their blog. This is something which I want to see if is going to be the same for me or not . I am having fun with it and loads of my ideas can be found again I am @Cupsofcharlotte

Money Goals

Money is something which I feel like is a huge taboo subject at the moment of course it’s January and everyone is feeling the pinch. I have decided that every month I am going to share with you some of the goals I have which are money related.

Earn the gap between the bills and the amount in the joint account at the moment. This might sound a strange one but this month we have another bill my phone bill is actually two months. This means that the amount we spend on bills is more than a normal month. I want to earn that money so I do not have to go an use money from my account for this expense. The amount is not very much but of course every little helps.

Sell 20 items- I have so much to sell at the moment I became a bit lapse towards the end of 2018. We got so much nice new things for Christmas and some of the older things we do not need may as well be sold. I know over the festive period I found a lot which was too small for Jess so this can all be listed on eBay or Facebook. The items which still have a lot of wear left in them.

Spending ban – I shared this on my Facebook page at end of 2018 @cupsofcharlotte.  I am going to spend money on the necessity this month so the bills which we have every month. Of course, food but there is not going to be any treats because we have plenty left over from Christmas. I think it is a great time to be able to save a bit a replenish our money in time for more exploring when the weather becomes better.

Look at additional income streams– I do not believe in only having one source of income. I think this could be due to the industry which I am working in at the moment. I have been speaking to a friend about this quite a lot and my aim is to make money every single day even if it is a very small amount at the end of the day it all counts.

What are your goals for this month?

Charlotte xxx

2018 – A Review Of The Year

How can it already be the end of the year and time to do a review of 2018. I think this must have been one of the quickest years recently. For sure this does seems to have gone past us in the blink of an eye. Today I am going to share with you a review of the year 2018. Sharing the ups and downs of the year and for sure there has been a fair few this year.

January

It seems so long ago now since it was January of course, this is a month where you do not seem to do a whole lot. Usually the reason is because you have over spent on Christmas and are watching the pennies for the first few months. This was not an overall thrilling month for us we had a second Christmas with the in laws on New Years. Of course this did mean that she got another stack of presents. There was a period of this month where I was solo parenting of course been a military family this is pretty standard. I cracked on even further with my dissertation and university work which meant I was not as stressed towards April. We managed a trip to Dalby Forest to blow the cobwebs away. Even thought we didn’t spend too much this month we had an amazing time. We even had one final trip to Toys R Us in York before it closed it’s doors for the final time.

February

This is one of my favourite months of the year and not because it’s valentines like you may all be thinking. The reason why I enjoy it so much is because the rugby season is back and this is a huge thing for a sports fan like me. Talking about valentine’s day we did manage to have a lovely meal out before at the three cups. February was a month where it was just me and Jess can you sense a theme yet?. I tried to start selling some of my possessions in order to ready to move house which we hoped to do later in the year. February was also the month where the we saw the first snow fall for 2018.

March

Talking about snow the beast from the east manage to hit in March. I do not think I have been as cold as this month. Commuting with a toddler an hour on the train when it was not getting above -1 was sure not fun at all. We managed to spend another couple of weeks solo parenting again this month I am sure I spent half of the year doing this. But March 2018 saw us back exploring something which we love to do as a family we made a return trip back to Eureka!. We also made our first trip of the year to the beach it may have been for a walk for not very long but it still counts. We might have had to wear our coats but that for sure does not put us off at all in this family. It seem’s like towards the end of the month the weather must have picked up again. I was still cracking on with my university work because the majority of it had to be completed by April.

April

April 2018 was another month where we seemed to be here there and everywhere in between. At the start of the month we took the grandparents to Twycross zoo for the first time. It was Easter Sunday and it was not that manic which usually makes a change for a zoo. Joe and I headed up to Newcastle as one of his gifts last Christmas had been to see Fast and Furious live. This was actually a show that I loves so much and Newcastle is a city which I know we will visit again in the future. I took the annual trip to the grand national I know this is going be controversial as some people do not like it. I go because I work there and it is a source of income for me which don’t we all need. The rest of the month when we was not travelling to some place was spent finishing my dissertation. There was a number of long hours spent wondering if it was going to be good enough. I am proud to tell you I do not know why I worried so much.

May

My brother turned 18 how the hell did he become that age I swear he was like 12 two minutes ago. Jess went to her first rugby game of the year and got mega bored because she hadn’t napped all day I think she just wanted to sleep poor girl. We made our first trip to a farm of the year when we visited Cannon Hall Farm. Before heading up again to Newcastle this time to celebrate my birthday and of course see a rugby game. I told you I would be back in Newcastle. May saw me do my final every university assignment. This is the month I realised that I was not going to do a masters this year and spend more time on me. I needed a break. May 2018 was also the month where we started actually viewing houses after having been looking for a long time on Zoopla. We actually bought the first house we did view however, we has seen a lot of properties since.

June

June was another month which was spent house hunting. I remember there been one weekend where we viewed 7 houses in one day. For sure this was a month of looking forward to the future. There was nothing we wanted than a family home. We did make an offer for the house in the month of June. So there was a lot of time spent speaking to banks and making sure everything was in place so we could purchase the house. I spend some of the month making the best use of the sunny weather and reading while sat near the river in York. I think I actually managed to read book in one day which I think may actually be a first for me. I got to work with a local company and review the Hull Open Top Bus Tour. We enjoyed the sun which was starting to shine this month who knew that 2018 was going to be first time in ages we was going to have tons of sun.

July

For me July was the month everything started going a little bit crazy. I kept applying for a few summer jobs just to make the money keep ticking. I didn’t get them but thanks to guys I managed to make money from my blog. Jess took her first trip to the cinema to go and see Thomas the Tank engine. I know she enjoyed it and for sure the cinema is somewhere which we will be visiting more over 2019. I continued to sell more things because at the end of the day it would mean less things to move when we moved house. I was also thankful of the extra money it allowed us to do more adventures. I spent a bit of time this month at my racecourse job and saw the most epic thunder storm. There was plenty of amazing BBQ’s and time spent at the park because the summer of 2018 was so boiling. Obviously like any sports fan I got swept up in the world cup fever there was nothing better than seeing the England Men’s Football team doing amazingly well.

August

August was a month which seems to be a waiting game we finally got our move in date. This meant the majority of August was spent boxing up our old rooms and making sure we had everything ready for the big move because of course we did not want to not have anything. Joe had the month off as summer leave which meant we as able to explore the UK a bit more we had amazing days out. These included York Maze, Chester Zoo, Lego discovery centre Manchester and of course seeing Paw Patrol Live. We also had our first festival experience at Gloworm festival for sure this is something which I would love to go back to next year. I also went indoor sky diving for the very first time I since have been back and I will be writing a blog post all about it very soon. For sure August was a busy month but I think it was one of my favourite months we never stopped but there was so many laughs which occurred. Jess said goodbye to her first nursery in York ready for the big move it was sad because she has been there since she was 1.

September

September was a month of two halves there first so stressful. I found myself commuting from York to the new house every day for two weeks on the train. I spent about 4-6 hours a day commuting just so that Jess could start her new childcare. We did not get the keys to the new house until the 13th which meant that we actually only had 2 days to move in and prepare for the first birthday in the house. Jess turned 3 I would like to say we did something amazing for it but truth we didn’t. We had a little family tea and that was all because we was all shattered and the house for sure was not a home at this stage. The rest of September was spend unpacking so we knew were everything was and if we needed to purchase anything for sure we could. Because for the next two months I was going to be solo parenting as work meant that Joe was going away.

October

This was the first month in our new house which I had to do some solo parenting for sure it was not easy. We only ended up with one minor injuries trip because Jess fell off her bike. We travelled back to Hull for a weekend in order to go to the fair because who could say no to that tradition. For sure Jess had a lot of fun it is so magical been able to see her face light up when you go to something like a fair with all the lights. The rest of October was very quiet for us we did not do anything crazy for Halloween in fact Jess only dressed up because she had a party at nursery. She still goes on about trick or treating so this is something which I think that we may have to do some of this next year. Oh October 2018 is when we started baking a lot more and this is when I realise that Jess has a passion for it. Since then we have not looked back and have made some tasty treats.

November

We knew at the end of this month we was going to have Daddy home for the rest of the year. I think this is one of the reasons is it was a busy month for us as well. We managed to go to a local pub and watch the fireworks for bonfire night it was magically watching a girl who is scared of fireworks be amazed by them. We also had my brother come to stay for a weekend which when he is Jess’ best friend meant so much to her and I think she loved it. We also made two trips to Manchester we went to Inflanation which was amazing this was so fun apart from the friction burn I sustained. We also went back to iFly because I have the indoor sky diving bug. Oh how could I forget in November 2018 I actually graduated it may have taken me 5 years. I got to have my best friend there and the girl who I did it all for I hope she is proud of me when she is old enough.

December

This was a time where we did not seem to stop we met some of the brands which we love at the mama market. We ran a santa run which I am sure this is going to be something which we do again it could become a new tradition. We went on a break before the madness of Christmas to Derbyshire to a log cabin. I will be doing a review of this very soon do not worry. We took a day out to White Post Farm as well which is somewhere which I have wanted to visit for a while. Of course, we celebrated our first Christmas as just a family of 3 with me cooking our Christmas lunch. We have had a lego filled period between Christmas and New Year which for sure has been fun who does not love Lego.

I hope that 2019 is as much fun as 2018. Hopefully we have as many laughs and exciting things. I am looking forward to been able to smash 2019.

What has your highlight of 2018 been?

Charlotte xxx

November 2018 Monthly Favourites

Today I am going to hare with you a range of products which I have been loving throughout the month of November. It is rare for me to do two of these posts in two consecutive months but there has been that many new products which I have loved this month I have the need. There is a mixed bag again this month it includes beauty, a couple of fashion and websites. No doubt I will end up adding some random favourite along the way.

Nescafe Gingerbread Latte

There is something about this time of year which gets me excited it is the fact that we have flavoured coffee. I now do not live as close as I did to the coffee shops which serve these liquid gold. So this year I have tried to replicate some of the Christmas drinks which I would normally be ordering at home. I purchased the Nescafe gingerbread latte and I did not have that high expectations because I know normally they are made with syrup when you order in a coffee shop. This is power of course but there is still so much gingerbread flavour which is what I actually wanted. I could not believe how cheap these actually where for the 8 which you get in a packet you actually only pay £1.50. This is so much cheaper than one latte in one of the chains. I have even been making then in my travel mug because this means that I can still take them out. This is also saving me money which is important when it is the festive season.

Ebay

Ebay is a site which I have been using for a long time now anyway. I both purchase things which I need off it usually I am getting things for Jess that I do not want to end up paying full amount. I also sell a lot on there usually things which has clothing which still has plenty of wear left in it. I have even been know to sell some of my clothes which I either do not wear because they are too small for me or I have no need for them any longer. Unwanted gifts are something amazing to sell as well because if you do not want the gift you would be better off with the cash. I have done this a few times this month we have had presents which Jess still has in the box. You can always treat yourself with the cash that you have for unwanted items. Or if you are like me you can put the money towards Christmas this is one of the ways I have afforded some of the gifts which I have purchased this year. This month alone I have managed to make an extra £100. This is £100 which I would not have had if it had not been for eBay which I think is a bargain.

F&F Mustard Jumper

It has been getting a little bit cooler this month and of course this means that it is time to crack out the jumpers.Now this is actually a jumper which I did get this year however, it was at the start of October so this does not mean that they still have them.  This is so fluffy which is what I want because I want to feel cosy of course when I am wearing the jumper. This is one which is long enough as well to wear with a thick pair of leggings because of course you want to be able to go outside. With this been a mustard colour I feel like it is so practical to be teamed with other pieces things. This is a piece which can be kept for a few years as well because it goes well in that transition between autumn and winter when the temperature plummets. I have had so many compliments on the jumper from people who would not normally realise that you was wearing something new. This tells me that it is a really good jumper and must suit me. I seem to remember that this jumper did not break the bank and it was around the £16 mark but got it when they had 25% off clothing.  I might have to pop to Tesco and see if they do it in any other colours because I love it that much.

Treacle Moon- Raspberry Kisses bath and shower gel

This is a shower gel which I meant to include in last months favourites but it has been a favouite this month too. This is a bath and shower gel. I will admit I have only used it in the shower so could not comment on how many bubbles it would make. I have found when using it in the shower that it lathers really well like some of the Lush ones which I love. The scent is amazing I think this is what originally make me purchase this shower gel.  I am not the best at describing some of the scents however, this does smell like it is a not as sweet version of Lush snow fairy.  It is a really nice raspberry scent and of course this is available all year around which is always a bonus. For this huge 500ml bottle it is only £3 and it lasted me over 2 months. You really do not need a lot to able to feel clean. This is the first product which I have tried from Treacle Moon but for sure it is not going to be the last.  There products would be amazing for a Christmas present if you are thinking of doing your own hamper or something similar.

Zoo Tycoon

Some of you may if your as old as me may remember playing this on the PC when you finished school on a night. Recently when I was spending far too much time in game looking at pre owned games so that we could use the xbox one more I found Zoo Tycoon. Of course, I had to purchase this game because for the memories if nothing else but I have had hours of fun using this game. I have been forcing myself to have breaks from house work and blogging while Joe has been away by playing this game. The game did cost £14.99 which I do not think for a game is not too bad for this console. The game is not the same as the one which but me and Joe remember playing there is a lot more challenges. I managed to play an hour or so before it can become a bit repetitive but that always a good thing so I am not spending too much time on it at all. I have found that since playing it a lot Jess has learnt more animals names and she seems to be wanting to play with animals more.

Gel Nails

This is something which I have have been loving this month of course, November was the month of my graduation.  I knew I wanted to have painted nails but wanted to treat myself because of course I am going to end up smudging or chipping my nails. I found a lovely lady who was actually local to me and comes to your house which is a bonus because I was still solo parenting at the time.  She managed to match my dress to the colour even had the sparkles which matched. I would recommend her so if you are close to the Pontefract area let me know and I will actually send you her details. They managed to last for 3 weeks without chipping of course they did start growing out. I am going to get them done again in the new year because I have adored having very pretty nails.

Nars- Palas Royal Satin Lip Pencil

I have been wearing only one lip colour this month which is very rare for me because I loved this the Nars satin lip pencil in Palas Royal. It is such a pretty shade it is a deep raspberry colour it looks beautiful with anything. This is actually the shade which I wore when I graduate it managed to stay on all day and I did not have to reapply and it also was not uncomfortable like I have found some lip pencils to be. This is smart enough to be able to wear at interviews which is another place which I have been using this lipstick. For sure I know I am going to be getting even more use out of this in the upcoming months. I hacve had this lipstick for a fair few months now it may have even been last Christmas when I purchased it and there is still so much left. It is not going to break the bank it is £19 this would be an amazing gift.

What have you been loving in the month of November?

Charlotte xxx

Meal Inspiration Monday- Chicken and Chorizo Rice

How is it Monday already this weekend for sure this weekend zoomed by. I have managed to meal plan for another week which is amazing because I have found that if I am meal planning I am eating better. Of course, by meal planning it does mean that I am able to save money because I am not wasting food. Today I am going to share with you a meal which I consumed a few weeks ago. This is a Hello Fresh meal which I was sent and for sure Chicken and Chorizo rice  is not something which I would normally be making. To me this sounds like it could be a bland meal however, when I made the Chicken and Chorizo rice it was very far from this.

Ingredient- Serves 2

1 Chicken Stock

280G Diced Chicken

175G Rice

30G Red Wine Vinegar

1 Pepper

1 Shallot

30G Paprika

150G Green Beans

400ml Water

150G Chroizo

Oil

Utensils-

Frying Pan, Lid, Jug,  Kettle and Bowl.

Method
  1. Put 400ml of boiling water into a jug then add the chicken stock this then makes the chicken stock.
  2. Half the shallot, then peel and thinly slice
  3. Add a small amount of oil into the frying pan on a medium to high heat. Add the chicken and chorizo to the pan, stir and cook until the chicken is browned. This usually takes around 5 minutes.
  4. When the chicken is browned add the shallot and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  5.  Add the red wine vinegar, smoked paprika and the rice. Make sure that the rice is coated because this is going give the rice the flavour which it needs.
  6. Once the red wine vinegar has evaporated add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Once this has occurred reduce the heat to medium and cook for a further 8 minutes with the lid on the pan.
  7. While this is cooking trim the green beans and chop into thirds. Halve the pepper and slice into thin slices.
  8. Once 7 minutes add the pepper and green beans to the pan on top of the rice BUT DON’T STIR. Add the lid again and cook for for a further 10-12 minutes.
  9. You know the rice is cooked when the stock is all absorbed and when the chicken is no longer pink
  10. Season with salt and pepper as you require.

For sure the chicken and chorizo rice is going to be a meal which I am going to make again. It is something which could be made with more ingredence so more people can enjoy. I know that everything which you use is something which Jess would eat. Which is a bonus because it does mean that I am not having to prepare two meals.

Have you ever made something so simple but as tasty and chicken and chorizo rice.

Charlotte xx

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Women’s Christmas Gift Guide 2018

Today I am sharing yet another gift guide today it is one for the Women. Before Joe who I know reads my blog thinks he has cracked it and found everything that I want that’s not the case.  I am sharing with you gifts which we have purchased for other people so if you are reading this and you know I purchase for you click off now.  I only have 6 women to purchase for and this can be hard because there are so many amazing gift sets. I am going to share with you a few.  Usually, instead of setting huge a gift set I like to make my own for people because for some reason feel like this is a lot more personal.

Fluffy Socks

The ones in the picture are actually children’s but feel like there is nothing better than getting fluffy socks. I love to be cosy there is nothing better in my eyes than been cosy. There was a stage where m and one of my best friends always bought a pair or two of fluffy socks. I love being warm in the winter and because I spend a lot of time out in the cold because of rugby and February now been the coldest month. Even when I am trying to keep warm fluffy socks is something which I may have on because my office is actually laminate floor I have found them to be so cold.  Primark I have found to be one of the best places to go and purchase fluffy socks from. They always have a huge range at this time of year and of course, they are not that expensive.  I have hundreds of pairs of these and they last such a long time which is always a great thing.

Face masks

Self care is something which the majority of us forget or claim we do not have time to practice. Personally I think there is nothing nicer than been able to stick on a face mask even if it is while you are doing something else. There now is so many amazing Face masks which you can purchase on a budget. Who knows it may make a person who does not really bother with a strict skin care routine change their ways. I think these are amazing as part of a bigger gift. Sheet masks are all of the fashion at the moment and can be picked up everywhere. I purchased some from Superdrug for next to nothing. Of course. if you are purchasing for a Disney fan there is always the ones which Primark are selling which also look like they could be effective.

Bath Bombs

As someone who is obsessed with Lush I do not understand how I could not feature some bath bombs. They do have a wide range of bath products which are limited edition and only for the Christmas season. A problem which I have found with this is that if they really like them you can get them for long after Christmas. This is one of the reasons why I usually purchase from the regular line because then this means that they can be repurchased. If you do venture into Lush this festive season there is so much more than just bath bombs. I think there is not a section which I have tried that I would not recommend. If you are purchasing bath bombs make sure they they have a bath there is nothing worse than getting bath bombs as a gift and not having access to a bath.

Mugs

There is nothing more that I love than a good cup of coffee, of course for this you need a mug. I know there is a lot of people who adore hot chocolates at this time of year. I am not a huge hot chocolate fan but when I saw these initial mugs when I was in Superdrug. These mugs are huge and deep this does mean that you can fill a hell of a lot of hot liquid on this. If you are having a hot chocolate it does mean that you can fit a ton of whipped cream and toppings in and I know this is what some people I am purchasing for will do. Others are like me and will just fill it with coffee because you can never have too much. I managed to pick these up for half price I am unsure if this is because of the fact that it was last Christmas stock or maybe they were on the offer. They did have limited amount of of initials. I know there is some amazing mugs which Cath Kidston do as well as Emma Bridgewater both I find big enough. And I do actually love big mugs.

Candles

Can you tell a running theme with this gift guide of self care. Candles are something which I love to burn to me they make a home a home sometimes. I think they help on the dull damp cold days bring a lot of joy and of course this is something which we all need. As the colder months come who doesn’t want amazing fragrances filling their home.  Depending on the budget which you have to spend their are a wide array of candles which you could purchase. Naturally there is some amazing Yankee candles which throw off a lot of scent. If you do not want to spend all of the money which Yankee can cost of course there is some amazing cheaper candles which have as much throw. TKmaxx and Homesense usually have great candles which you can get with a huge range of scents. You can pick up some amazing bargains and for a fraction of their retail price. I have also found that Home Bargains have been doing great candles I think they are a dupe of Jo Malone ones and also some Yankee ones these have been all available for under £5. For larger jars so these could be amazing if you are doing something like secret Santa or do not want to break the bank on candles.

Shower Gel

The body shop are not somewhere which I shop a lot anymore. This could be due to the fact that I have a large collection of shower gels. So I do not need to purchase them as often as I am trying to run my collections down a little bit. However, recently I was in the body shop outlet and I saw some of their Christmas range which usually is amazing anyway. There was a couple of the scents which once I smelt them the first one was a peppermint candy twist shower gel because this for sure is going to be one which is going to wake you up. A problem which I can find is the around Christmas some of the scents become way to sweet and I know I would not appreciate them so I do not gift over sweet scents. Another one which I purchased was the Berry Bon Bon and for this one it actually smelt like Christmas. For me there is something which is Berries make me think of winter and Christmas. These do last a long time. You could always make your own own gift sets with a range of your favoruite brands which you think the recipient may enjoy.  Soap and glory shower gels always make presents as well bundled together.

Make your own hamper

This is something which I did last year for a number of the females in my life. This was something which they all appreciated more than a gift which they did not want. I made them up something similar to a self care package which is something that I am planning on doing in the future. I have been using the Yankee Votives which always goes down so well. Who does not want their house to smell amazing. I have also been including bits which I love the most because some of my friends then can try presents which I love as well. December is a month which people struggle to do a lot of self care and this is when we should be doing it more.  This year I have actually used Lush to make a couple of hampers. The reason behind this is they have amazing products which can wrapped in knot wraps. These are something which we love because you can use them so many times. Lush do not just do amazing bath bombs they also do some amazing skincare. I love some of the body scrubs which they also stock. If you do not know what you want. There staff are amazing and can help you.

Experiences

Having an experience is something which I have gifted before I even did a post on it last year. It can mean that you spend precious time with someone which you may not have done previously. I do this often with my mum I have gifted her several times spa trips and this does mean we have had so much time. I use sites such as groupon and wowcher to get amazing deals. If you know one of their favourite bands are touring why not get them tickets to their show because of course this is something which they would love.  An experience which we have loved in the past and Indoor Skydiving something which we have continued to do. This is something which I have gifted as well because it is something which I love so much. I will be doing a post about indoor sky diving soon because so many of you have asked me questions about it.

Mini Lipsticks

I was browsing on ASOS to try and find a lipstick for my graduation shockingly I ended up using an old one which I love. I might include it in a November Favourites if I remember. MAC lipsticks are something which I have had before but now do really like spending the money on because they have gone up so much in price in a couple of years. I saw that they do these mini sizes which are only £10. I find it so hard to use a whole lipstick because I like to change them up so often. These would be a great present for someone who you know likes MAC or like me wants to try so more products without spending the earth.

I hope this has given you some inside into you could purchase some of the females in your life this Christmas?

Charlotte xx

 

Preparing for University

Now you have got the grades which has meant that you are able to go to university you think that the works starts. There are so many small jobs which you can do before freshers week which will make your life a lot easier and when you are miles away from home this can be a massive bonus. Today I am going to share with you some tips which I would recommend doing to make you so easy.

Start learning to wash your own clothes

I actually brought 6 weeks of washing home when I was in my first year however, since then I have actually had to do my own. I would recommend learning how to wash your own clothes because then it means that you can wear what you actually want. Instead of wearing what is clean and there is always your parents to help you out if you get stuck before you got to university.

Learn how to save money

Everyone states that as a student you are going to be super poor but if you learn how to save money this is going to help. You will be able to get a NUS card which helps you save money on the high street and at restaurants if you want to be spendy. While at university, there is a lot of apps which you can use which have discounts codes on. I am going to do a post on this very soon.You can even put money on gift cards for supermarkets which means that you do not spend your food money on a crazy night when you do not have the funds at university.

Learn to cook

This is one which is going to help you massively because of course you do not want to have to spend a lot of money on takeaways and ready meals. I think that been able to cook for your family before you go helps massively because it gets you used to cooking and allows you to ask for help before you leave and live on your own. It also may allow you to be able to get recipe’s from your family which will help the more meals you can cook the less likely you are to get bored of eating the same food. It will also let you get used to batch cooking which helps because we all want not to have to cook when you have a late lecture.

Update your CV

Money is going to be something which you need to have, now if you can update your CV to make sure that it has everything that it needs to have on it.  Things such as your new address, those a levels which you have just completed. I got a job at McDonald’s when I was at university and it was so handy having some more money. I would recommend starting to look for part time jobs now because they are advertising soon and most people do not think of looking until fresher’s week.

Join Facebook groups

You can meet people who you might be able to make friends with on Facebook who you can meet up with when you get to university. For example I know there was a page for the halls which I lived in my first year and I met some of the people who I was going to be living with in this group. There is also usually a group for your university course and this is going to be with people you are going to see so much. It does matter if your friends are on your course or not because there is a lot of time to socialise.

Get a railcard

As a student you are more likely to be between the ages of 16-25 which means that you can get a young persons railcard. You never know when you are going to feel homesick and actually want to come home to see people or explore new places. If you get one of the railcards it does mean that you do actually get 1/3 off travel which we all need because train fairs can be so expensive, they actualy only cost you £30 a year. With Santander you can get a 4 year one with a student bank account.

Sort your stuff out

You do not realise till you are about to move out how much stuff you have actually got in. There will be some things which you may not longer want but that someone else will be willing to pay good money for. I recommend actually sorting things out early and trying to sell what you can on eBay or similar ways. This will give you money to buy things which you might actually want in order to move or it gives you more money for when you are at university.

If you have been to university what would you recommend people do before starting their fresher’s year.

 

Charlotte xx