Garden Refresh

The past couple of years we have almost neglected our poor garden, we've done the bog standard maintenance of cutting the grass regularly, but that is it, and when it comes to the rest of the garden, i.e. the decking that looked old, the shed that looked drab, and the patches of mud around the shed, nothing has been refreshed or changed recently.

The shed was positioned on the grass very near the decking area, and whenever the boys went in the shed to get their bikes or scooters out, or if we popped something in the wheelie bins which were positioned next to the shed, we would always traipse mud into the house and all over our carpet - it became very frustrating, even all the mats we placed outside and inside just didn't help.

I came to the conclusion that the garden was in desperate need of some love and attention.

Hubby had the week off so we started cleaning up the garden, we moved the shed, painted it, dug out a patio area, laid the slabs, positioned the shed on the patio area, painted the decking, and decorated the garden with some fresh new accessories. A lot of hard work and effort has finally gone into our garden, although, we are not quite finished, we are pleased with the changes thus far. It looks much better, brighter, and appealing. 

Below you can see our two new favourite decorations that we received from the lovely people at Millrace Garden Centre; we've added them into our garden and we think they look fab, they bring character into our garden, and the kids enjoy them, as do I.

These two the bright cute ladybirds climbing up our house.

The new solar silhouette owl that sits silently on our garden wall, watching over the garden and in the night glows.

Mummy's boys who tap into the power of love

From the moment we kiss the tops of their soft little heads, our boys wriggle their way into the deepest part of our hearts.

Years of sword fighting, frog hunting and den building make us love them all the more and even a mountain of smelly socks and muddy trousers can’t dilute our feelings.

Even when they grow up to be sullen teenagers and shrug off our affections, we are certain that, in time, they’ll find their way back into the warmth of our hugs.

Well, it seems the feeling is mutual.

Big boys who love their mums are shouting it from the rooftops. These days there’s no greater accolade than being branded a Mummy’s Boy.

A gentle reminder of a mother’s love can literally make a grown man cry.

Liverpool football manager Brendan Rodgers used the fact to his advantage last season when he pioneered a revolutionary motivational technique.

Instead of shouting at his squad or throwing shoes at them, he read out letters of support and encouragement from their mothers.

Before every match, while the team was waiting to board the coach to take them to the stadium, Rodgers cleared his throat and voiced the loving words every son longs to hear.

Young midfielder Joao Teixeira said the strategy had an inspirational effect on the team as it chased the Premier League title.

And Brazilian Philippe Coutinho said hearing the letters helped players perform better on the field.

He said the mere mention of his mother’s name overwhelmed him and when he heard how she loved him, was proud of him and was always with him, he welled up with emotion.

Rodgers’ plan worked. Well almost.

Odds in the football betting for Liverpool to win that season were long, but a few choice parental words helped the team claw its way up the table. They fell just two points short of the top behind Manchester City.

Meanwhile, Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is a self-confessed mama’s boy. Last year he splashed out on a £1m penthouse flat and promptly moved his parents in as housemates.

He’s described mum Grace as the most beautiful woman in the world and says she’s always there doing everything and anything she can to put a smile on his face.

Last summer, she famously rang him ahead of a crucial England match against Uruguay to tell him to “mash it up” and the young international lapped it up.

Blood ties have nothing to do with a mother’s love.

When Mario Balotelli fired two goals against Germany in the Euro 2012 semis he rocketed his home side Italy into the final.

The first thing he did after the match was rush over to the stand to embrace his beloved mother, Silvia, who adopted him when he was three, and dedicate the goals to her.

He said he had no other desire than to make her happy.

Seems like mothers and sons are playing for the same team.

St John Ambulance’s Big First Aid Lesson

St John Ambulance is reaching out to parents to inform their child’s school about the Big First Aid Lesson, an educational event that aims to equip over 50,000 young people with the skills to act in an emergency. Television star Claudia Winkleman is set to host the biggest free first aid lesson in the country on Friday 12 June 2015.

The Big First Aid Lesson is a one hour free, online first aid session streamed live into classrooms across the country. The lesson will combine first aid training and 999 scenarios with real life stories, as well as opportunities for pupils to join the conversation via Google Hangouts. It is aimed at students between seven and 16-years-old.

The only equipment schools will need is an internet connection and a screen (such as an interactive whiteboard) for their pupils to watch in the classroom or during assembly. This year, the event will focus on first aid skills that might be needed over the summer holidays and pupils will learn how to confidently deal with head injuries, asthma attacks and anaphylactic shock, which can happen to people who have allergies.

Last year over 32,000 young people tuned into St John Ambulance’s first Big First Aid Lesson – and this year the charity wants even more to take part. By 2018 the charity is aiming to train two million children a year in life saving skills.

Claudia Winkleman, a TV presenter and mother of three, said:

‘The Big First Aid Lesson is a fantastic and engaging way of teaching students the skills they may need to help keep a classmate or a family member safe in an emergency while they’re out on the playground or enjoying their summer holidays. All schools should make teaching young people basic first aid a top priority.’

Wendy Human, Director of Charitable Initiatives and Training, St John Ambulance said:

'We’re asking teachers to commit just one hour of their timetables to the Big First Aid Lesson so every student can learn how to save a life - it could be the most important lesson your child ever learns.

‘We’re looking forward to working with Claudia to create a fun first aid hour, so more young people can feel confident to deal with any first aid emergency.’

Young life saver

St John Ambulance frequently hears stories of schoolchildren needing to give first aid. 17-year-old sixth former, Austin Sullivan put his life saving skills to the test when a classmate had a seizure.

The student remembered the first aid training he learnt at school less than 12 months earlier on a St John Ambulance course as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. He immediately took control of the situation and applied his first aid knowledge to help his friend who was having an epileptic fit while they were playing football at lunchtime. Austin’s classmate went up for a header and when he crashed to the ground he started to have a fit.

Austin stayed calm and asked other students to clear back so his friend had enough space around him and then asked someone to go and get a teacher and call for an ambulance.

‘I waited for my friend to finish fitting and then put him into the recovery position. I tried to reassure him that he was going to be ok and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. No one at school knew he had epilepsy.’

Austin added: ‘If I hadn’t have had first aid training, I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do that lunchtime. When I did the course last year I thought I would probably never need to use first aid on anyone in the real world, but I’m really glad that I had the skills to help a friend. Everyone should learn first aid.’

St John Ambulance believes first aid should be on the National Curriculum, so that we can teach first aid to an entire generation. The charity is asking parliamentary candidates to promise to support first aid in schools on a special website: Members of the public can also pledge their support on the same site – so that politicians know first aid in schools is important – and check which candidates in their constituency have signed up.

For more information about the Big First Aid Lesson or to register, go to

Wassen We Beautify Collagen Drink

Collagen has been demonstrated scientifically to improve skin condition and appearance to achieve radiant looking skin. It works from the inside, where it is designed to enhances skin strength and structure, enhances skin hydration, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As I approach the wrong side of 30, I am always looking for ways to improve my skin, but up until now I have always approached it by using products on my skin, and not what I put into my body, which is just as important. 

Thus when I was invited to sample a 10-day of Wassen We Beaufity collagen I took the opportunity to give it a try.  

What was I expecting? A yucky tasting syrup you have to force down your throat each day - but this was not the case with Wassen collagen, it comes in an orange flavour and tastes quite nice, and it quickly became my morning routine.

The idea of the product is, every day you have one sachet your pour into 50ml of water and it helps promote younger, firmer skin and helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Each sachet contains 100mg vitamin C, 15mg vitamin E as well as collagen and the brand advises to take a 8 weeks course to achieve maximum benefits. Although I liked the flavour, it is a shame there isn't other flavours available, but that is my only grumble.

I hadn't told anyone I was sampling the collagen drink, and I did receive unprompted positive comments about my skin, thus this encouraged me to continue with the aim to follow out the full 8 weeks

Wassen Collagen costs £19.99 for 10 sachets.

How to Take Care of your Camera

I recently took the plunge and bought myself a DSLR camera, it's my first ever DSLR and the first time I have used one, but as I continue with my blog adventure, my love of taking photos grows - I find taking photos enjoyable and I'm getting slightly addicted (in a good way). 

Buying your camera is the first step, and they can be quite expensive, thus maintaining your camera in order to get the best out of it is the most important step. Without the proper care and maintenance, your camera will deteriorate with time and you won't sustain the quality you need or want from your camera.

After receiving my camera I carried out research on how best to care for my camera, and below are some easy care tips I have adopted:

Strap - Get your camera a strap and use it! If you drop your camera then it will likely break or end up damaged. With the strap you can carry your camera more confidently, especially when you are out and about.

Storing - Find a safe place to store your camera, a dust-free environment at a reasonable temperature and humidity level, and somewhere little hands can't get hold of it. I store my camera on the top shelve in my cupboard, and always in the camera bag.

Camera bag - Keep it in a protective camera bag, thus a bag dedicated to protecting your camera, it will be safer when you store it at home, but also whilst you are out and about. Remember to keep your camera bag clean. Dirt and dust will gather in your bag and giving it a quick clean, will help keep your camera in good condition.

Lens cap - Your lens is probably the most valuable part of the camera, thus you should take extra care and use a lens cap, which will protect your lens from damage and dust/dirt.

Cleaning - It's advisable not to use just any old cloth, especially your t-shirt, as to clean your lens this way could damage it. All you really need to keep your lens clean is a package of inexpensive lens cleaning tissue and some lens cleaning fluid. Although, it is recommended that you use a rocket blower to blow away dust and other particles, which may cause scratches on the glass when you are cleaning it with the fibre cloth.

Herb and Garlic Butter

Recently I wrote about the #GoGreen challenge where I grew my own indoor herbs, you can see my post here. Since growing my herbs, I've been looking forward to using them, I wanted to make something simple, but also something I will use and enjoy, thus I made some super easy-to-make herb and garlic butter. 

Herb and garlic butter is a great condiment to have in the freezer as you can use it to add taste and flavour to many different dishes: garlic bread, or stuff it under chicken skin, or spread it on a steak - you can even mix it in with mashed potato - Yummy.

It is easy to make, and you can create different flavours, by using different herbs.


Herb and Garlic Butter:
3 cloves garlic, you can use more, depends on your taste.
250g of butter.
A hand full of herbs - I used my fresh basil and I also added parsley.
1 teaspoon of olive oil.
Pinch of salt and pepper.


First I beat the butter with my mixer, until it was fluffy. 
I then crushed the garlic, and added some salt and pepper. 
Using my mortar and pestle, I mashed up my herbs, I poured in a little olive oil, mixed together and added the garlic. Finally, I added the herb mix to the fluffed up butter, and mixed. 
I wrapped it in cling film, and popped straight into the freezer, so it is now ready and available for when I need it.

Silent Sunday