DIY

My Top DIY Tips

Before we begin, I should probably confess that I am by NO means a DIY expert. By the same token, we’ve been doing a fair bit of decorating and DIY recently as we had a few bits in the house that needed doing and our landlady asked us to do them. Between painting, damp-proofing, repairs and improvements – if I’m doing big projects that involve the use of plastics, I used Simply Plastics, it’s been a real baptism of fire as it’s years since I’ve done anything like this, and I was probably a kid helping my parents the last time I did any of it. Jumping in at the deep end means that we’ve learned a few things along the way so I thought I’d share some of my pearls of wisdom with you:

It Doesn’t Matter How Careful You Are, Your Clothes Will Get Dirty

You can be the neatest, most careful painter and DIY-er on the planet but there’s still a better than average chance that you’ll end up getting SOMETHING on your clothes! Wearing old clothes for decorating in is all well and good, but using dedicated workwear if you have a big renovation project to complete is a really good idea as not only will you not mind if you get it dirty, you’ll also feel more in the DIY mood if you’re all kitted out. Take a look at the Engelbert Strauss’s website for some great options.

It Can Make or Break a Relationship

Decorating is one of those things which can be really fun and a great exercise in teamwork but it can also be massively stressful and a source of conflict for many couples. Husband and I are lucky enough to be really good at working together as a team when we’re doing practical things like decorating or furniture building, but it has also caused some fairly big rows in the past, so be prepared for potential tiffs! When doing DIY make sure you prepare a skip for all of your un wanted waste. Check out this skip hire company in benfleet for more information on quality skips.

It Might Not Always Go To Plan

Having a vision of what things will look like is all well and good but tempering your expectations will do you a favour in the long run, rather than allowing yourself to be disappointed if it doesn’t go your way. Husband and I recently decorated our bedroom and I had my heart set on a wallpapered feature wall, only to realise that the wall was just too damp to hang paper on. Although we’ve treated the damp and painted over it, it’s still pointless hanging paper which could ultimately be ruined but that didn’t change the fact that I was VERY disappointed for a while!

Have you learned something from a renovation project recently? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear about it!

Home · Review

Blinds in a Box Review

A few months back, our landlady told us that she was having a new roof put onto our property, and although this was really welcome news, it occurred to us that this meant having very little privacy during the day while the roofers were here. We’ve got blinds on all of our front windows, but we back onto farmland and enjoy the unobscured view from our lounge, so we don’t have any coverings on those windows. I didn’t want to buy blinds or curtains just to be used for a months or so, and while doing some research on temporary blinds, I found a company called ‘Blinds in a Box’.

Blinds In A Box is the brainchild of Simeone Salik, interior designer Janice Dalton and businessman Dominic Lawrence, 3 entrepreneurs from North London. They took their product on Dragons Den and received the praise (and investement!) of both Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan. I emailed and asked if they’d like to send me some blinds to try out and here we are. The blinds come with a set of literally two instructions, so I thought I’d make a (probably TOO honest…) video so you can see what the installation process is like:

As you can see from the video, it was SUPER easy to install the blinds! We’ve been really impressed with the quality of the blinds since we installed them a week ago, too. They allow us a really good level of privacy without blocking out too much light and they come with little crocodile clips so that you can raise them as and when you want to. The white colour is really neutral and Husband and I have both said that we fully intend to leave the blinds up for as long as they last.

If we ever move house again (although, I really hope we don’t!) I would 100% invest in a couple of boxes of Blinds in a Box so that we could avoid that awkward stage where you don’t have blinds or curtains for the new house and end up sleeping in a room with nothing at the windows! Every time we’ve moved house, we’ve ended up putting either newspaper or old sheets up at the windows, and not only does it look pretty rubbish, it’s a total inconvenience. Knowing that we could just pull the blinds out of the box, trim them to the right size and have smart-looking window coverings is really appealing.

The blinds can be bought in white or black (the black offers a blackout effect, which would be great if you’re taking light-sleeper kids on holiday) in regular or wide widths, and can be bought one at a time, or in a box of three or six. We were sent a box of three, which would be £22 to buy, and I really feel they’d be worth every penny for situations like we’ve been in. They also arrive REALLY fast – if you order by 12pm on a weekday, your blinds will be with you the next day, so even if you forget right until the last minute, you can have them with you really quickly.

I can totally see why the Dragons were so impressed with this products, and I’ll be recommending it to anyone who’ll listen!

Eating Out · Review

Become a Mini Ninja at YO! Sushi (review)

If there are two things that my kids love it’s cooking (I had to get them a kids kitchen set) and sushi, but unless you’ve got some serious skills, the two passions rarely meet – until now! Recently, the people at YO! Sushi got in touch to tell us about their in-store cooking classes, Sushi Ninja for adults and Mini Ninja for kids, and we knew we had to go along and try them. Our nearest YO! Sushi is in Lakeside and we’ve actually never eaten there before, despite our love of Japanese food, so it was a first for us all.

We arrived at the the restaurant at 11am, before they start opening up for the day, and the kids were sat down with their bamboo mats in front of them, all cling-filmed up and ready for use, before being taught all about the importance of proper hand hygiene, especially when making food with raw fish. They were given hair covers and gloves to wear and I think I counted at least three glove changes throughout the class, which was impressive to say the least.

The class was run by Marcell, the manager of Lakeside YO!, and she clearly knew her stuff. She was excellent with the kids and taught the whole class without once talking down to the kids or making things too complicated. She was happy to help Burrito Baby, whose hands were probably still a little bit on the small side of sushi rolling, and both of the girls thought she was a fab teacher.

The Mini Sushi Ninja classes cost £15 per child, last one hour and include all of the ingredients, the bamboo mat which the kids get to take away with them, and a goody bag containing the recipe cards, chops sticks and the bag itself. The girls made three types of sushi during the class, a cucumber roll, a salmon nigiri, and a California hand roll, which then gets put into a takeaway box for the kids to eat once they’re done. Husband and I sampled the sushi and were really impressed with how well both girls did. The whole class was such an awesome and different way to spend a morning and the girls actually said that it was their favourite activity of the whole summer.

We were also lucky enough to stay at YO! Sushi for lunch, and although we’re regular sushi eaters, we wanted to try some new stuff too – Marcell kindly offered to choose a few dishes for us so that we got a variety of flavours and MY GOODNESS did she choose well! I’m not usually a fan of squid, but I liked their spicy pepper squid so much that I ate a whole plate of it by myself! The beef teriyaki was also basically one of the nicest things we’ve ever tasted; we were back in Lakeside the next day for a different event and were seriously considering just going back to YO! for about five plates of beef teriyaki!

Although this was our first experience of YO! Sushi, it most definitely won’t be our last. The class was excellent, the food was genuinely lovely and the whole experience was hugely positive for all of us. The classes were so fun to observe that Husband and I are thinking about trying the adult classes too! Head over to the YO! Sushi website for more info about the classes, store locations and the menus.

Thanks so much to Marcell and the team at YO! Sushi Lakeside for giving us such a lovely experience.

Health

Four Conditions Which Medical Marijuana Can Help

medical marijuanaHere in the UK, medical marijuana is rarely prescribed, which is a terrible shame as it’s proving to be a hugely helpful drug for so many conditions. Cannabis clinics in Canada  are prescribing for more and more conditions and the explosion of marijuana as a medical treatment is having a knock-on effect on both crime rates AND contributing huge amounts to the economy. I’ve been doing some research myself recently about medical marijuana and was surprised by some of the conditions which can be treated using it, so I thought I’d give you a look at some of the many things that can be helped by cannabis if you order medicinal marijuana online:

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus can grow in other parts of the abdomen and even in other organs such as the lung and brain. As well as heavy bleeding and infertility, endometriosis causes chronic pain and muscle contractions, both of which can be helped by medical marijuana. Many opiates don’t have an effect on endometriosis pain, but cannabis has been hugely beneficial to sufferers, who’ve replaced strong pain killers entirely. If you wanna know about marijuana dispensaries, visit this article.

ADHD

Adult ADHD is a massively under-researched condition which is finally getting recognition and more diagnoses. The effects of marijuana on adhd can be truly profound and many sufferers prefer to use marijuana than conventional ADHD drugs as there are far fewer side effects. Marijuana can help with focus issues, sleep problems and some of the impulsiveness and tics which can be associated with ADHD.

Cancer

There has been masses of research done into the effects of marijuana on cancer, and despite the fact that it’s still rarely being used, it’s being shown to have huge effects on cancerous growths. As well as helping the cancer itself, Arizona medical marijuana doctors agree that cannabis can be used to help stimulate an appetite in patients who are being treated with chemotherapy, which in turn can help patients to avoid weight loss and loss of energy during treatment.

Epilepsy

According to a study which was conducted back in 2013, marijuana can reduce seizures in patients by up to 50%, which could potentially be a huge number of people who could be helped. Epilepsy can have a profound effect on a person’s life, so something as simple as cannabis as a treatment rather than expensive drugs which have negative side effects could change the lives of millions of people.

Do you have a chronic condition which could be helped by medical marijuana? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear about it.

Fashion and Style

Rebuilding My Wardrobe

wardrobeSince making changes to my diet and activity levels, I’ve not only lost weight but also changed shape (although the summer holidays has done a good job of undoing some of that, unfortunately!), which means that there’s a LOT of stuff in my wardrobe which no longer fits me. There are a few bits which I’ll hang onto, like t-shirts which still look okay, just a little looser than before, but so much stuff is now too big that I need to have a major overhaul of my wardrobe. I thought I’d tackle it bit by bit and focus on main areas which need replacing:

Jeans

While I don’t want to invest too much money on expensive jeans before I’ve hit my target weight, there’s little more unflattering than ill-fitting jeans, so this is something I’ll need to replace sooner rather than later. It’ll be a while before I go for Levis or something with a label, but a few pairs from a High Street store should see me through the winter.

Nightwear

Being a co-sleeping Mama means that nightwear is a priority, especially with winter coming – I cannot BEGIN to tell you how often I get woken up by my own shivering because a duvet-hogging toddler has left me without a cover! I like to wear high-quality nightwear such as soft jersey pyjamas which will keep me warm but allow me to also breathe.

Undies

Being a big-busted lady means that I’m all too aware of the importance of a good bra, and changing shape has meant that many of my old bras are now too big around the band. My bras are generally expensive, no matter where I buy them from, but it’s something that I need to just suck up and deal with so that I can maintain good support.

Basics

This is a pretty general category, but I tend to keep a lot of basics like plain vests and t-shirts which I can use to layer up in the colder months. Being in and out of the car all day means that I HATE wearing coats and thick clothes, so wearing a few thinner layers keeps me warm without making me feel too bulky and uncomfortable. Most of my current basics are either too big or have holes/bleach stains on them (hands up who else ruins EVERYTHING whilst cleaning?!) so replacing them is something that I need to do on a fairly regular basis.

Woollies

I do love a good woolly, and as I said above, they’re an Autumn/Winter staple for me so that I can use them for layering. As with jeans, ill-fitting woollies can be super unflattering (I threw a jumper away in 2013 purely because it clung in ALL the wrong places and I got asked three times if I was pregnant while wearing it!), so I need to invest in some jumpers and cardies in smaller sizes now.