Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Must-haves for a Self-catering Break

PhotobucketTo celebrate the King's recent Significant Birthday, we went back to Lancaster for a short, child-free break this half term. It's a city that we'll always be fond of; it's where we were students, where we fell in love, and where we got married. Much has changed since we graduated in 1997. For one thing, I no longer wear white eyeshadow, black Cleopatra-style eyeliner, blue lipstick and denim platforms.

Good times.

And although parts of Lancaster - especially the campus - are hardly recognisable, our favourite haunts - The Dukes, The Whale Tail, The Sultan, and, erm, Wilkinsons - remain.

New to the good times list is Sun Street Studios, modernised self-catering apartments that didn't exist when we were students, but were just what we needed for a short, good-value break in the city centre. What's more they overlooked the place we were had our first date and, a year later, our wedding reception!

Here are some what-to-pack tips if you're new to self-catering apartments.

1. Coconut Water Haircare

Coconut water is the latest fashionable drink for its hydrating properties and now Superdrug has captured this in a new haircare trio which promises hydration without leaving residue. I took their shampoo from this new range with me on holiday as it's suitable for all hair types, meaning that both the King and I could use it.

Coconut is the scent of summer, evocative of tropical islands and heady cocktails. But coconut isn’t just a great taste and fragrance, it’s also one of nature’s most hydrating ingredients.The result was lovely, shiny, smooth-feeling hair, and the fragrance is fine for both men and women. Toiletries were provided at the apartment but they were nothing to write home about so I used the shampoo as a shower gel as well, bringing a real scent of summer to the Lancastrian air.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Prepare and Survive #5: Summer Survival Calendar

It’s that time of year where the trees are greening up, the grass needs mowing, flowers are blooming, and gardens are underway (along with all the weeds!). Ah, the joys of spring! And with spring comes summer break, right around the corner!

We in the UK can count ourselves lucky that our summer holidays only last six weeks. In the US, summer vacation lasts TWO to THREE MONTHS!

Typically the summer holidays start off fairly promising and then descend into “I’m bored!” or “There’s nothing to do!” Or maybe you don’t get that from the kids because they are zoned out watching TV or playing video games all day? And then when summer is over, you wonder where it went…you never got a chance to do all the activities you wanted to do with the kids.

Blast “boredom blues” this summer and make bonding time with your kids a priority by using The Confident Mom’s 2015 Summer SurvivalCalendar.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Appy Days #2: Intuitive Life Coaching Oracle

Sometimes I miss the security and certainty of belonging to a mainstream religion. Similarly, the excitement and mystery of discovering "alternative" spiritual paths is something that's not part of my life any more. I know where I stand on religion. You probably do too. I'm not here to convince you otherwise.

Something which can be as spiritual or as down-to-earth as you please is life-coaching. It can give you a focus or help you find a direction, whether you believe that guidance is coming from within yourself, from God, from angels, from a Higher Power. Where the guidance is coming from is not something I'm here to debate. 

Intuitive Life Coaching Oracle by Indie Goes Software is a lifecoaching app from Google Play that sits comfortably with me. It is as "new age" as you want it to be: the focus is on self-development and empowerment rather than on spirit guides. Tarot it ain't. If you want to bring angels into it, that's up to you.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Q10 Inside and Out

Those who've been following Mumtopia for a while will know that I am reaching "a certain age" this October. You know, that one at which "life begins"? I have no desire to re-live my twenties, and my thirties, during which Prima and Secundus arrived, are just a blur. I wouldn't swap the age I'm at for anything.

I'm happy in my own skin. But I have to confess that when I was doing some market research in Nottingham last week, I was pretty pleased when the market researcher stated that I didn't look 39. Whilst I don't want to look like a twenty-something, I want to look fit and healthy, and that's always reflected in one's skin.

I've always had problem skin, which I think is in part due to my mismanagement of stress and anxiety levels, but I had also begun feeling a tightness on my face after showering or bathing. I decided to try a night cream for the first time in my life.

Friday, 15 May 2015

7 Days of Love for less than $5

Don't you just love spoiling your spouse? It's one of the best parts of being married! (Of course, getting spoiled back isn't so bad either...) I've got to admit that I'm not very good at it. Not that the King doesn't deserve it, but I don't even spoil the Evacuees. I confess we're not big on gifts and celebrations on my side of the family.

Anyway, I recently came across this fantastic, simple, inexpensive idea from The Dating Divas - I know you will love it just as much as I do: 7 Days of Love!

Each day, your other half will open up the assigned daily pill box to find their favorite treats, and another even sweeter surprise from you - a gorgeous printable, courtesy of the Divas!


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Prepare and Survive #4: Find your Balance during the Summer Holidays

When school is out for summer, many parents are suddenly faced with the prospect of busy-ness.  Whether you work away from home or at home, there may still be minutiae to coordinate.  How do you find that balance between slowing down in the summertime and enjoying all that it has to offer? 

The first step is to prioritize.  You may be tempted to create a bucket list of all of the things that you want to do during the summertime.  While there is nothing wrong with setting goals, worrying about fitting it all in can lead to a hectic pace.  When you decide what your summertime goals are, then you can work on accomplishing those and then find time for the simple pleasures of summer. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

What's so essential about fatty acids for kids?

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as Omega-3 are classed as essential for a reason. They are fundamental to normal health, and unlike some nutrients which can be manufactured within the body, they can only be obtained through the diet or by taking supplements.

A deficiency in EFAs can result in a wide range of disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and mental health challenges. Around 60 per cent of the brain is made up of fat, so it's no surprise that Omega-3 fatty acids can promote brain development, improve concentration and assist IQ and intelligence.

Docosahexaenoic acid, more commonly known as DHA, is an Omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, skin and retina. As a result, it is important for brain and eye development, and is particularly key during early childhood.

From birth to five years old, your child's brain will increase by around three and a half times in mass. Here nutrition expert Pharma Nord, provides some advice to ensure your children get enough essential fatty acids to boost their health and wellbeing.

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