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Sparkle Your Day with Sodastream

Water is the best thing you put in your body, yet even though we can all agree that drinking water is good for us we still don't drink enough. Water can help to control calorie consumption, boost kidney function, help with digestion, and improve our skin. Now I'm not going to sit here and say that I drink enough because in reality I just drink enough to keep going and over the last few week I have noticed a change in my skin, my hair and I feel really tired all the time. 

Drinking water has so many great health benefits, but let's be honest water can be boring. I know that I can drink around three glasses of water before reaching for the kettle, but I'm trying to limit my caffeine intake too. So over the last few weeks we have been looking at ways to drink more water and so far by jazzing up my water the whole family seems to be drinking more water. 

Infusing your water can make all the difference. It's so refreshing and I think it's far more appealing than just water and by preparing water in advance you can have as much ensure you keep to your water goals. We have even gone one step further by adding a little sparkle to our fruit infused waters, with our brand new SodaStream machine the possibilities are endless. 

As a child a SodaStream was THE thing to have but for one reason or another my family never seemed to get around to getting one, so now we finally have one and can totally get behind the hype. My husband has been talking about getting something like this for a while but there are quite a few different types, styles and colours available on the market so we couldn't agree. But finally we decided on the SodaStream Spirit and its great way to add a little sparkle into our drinks. 

There are a number of reasons why we wanted to get a SodaStream the most important reason was to help and encourage us to drink more water, as plain ole tap water can be pretty boring. Not only that, over the course of a month my husband and I consumed far too many carbonated drinks on the go and it was pretty costly. We also have become more aware of our plastic usage and with this little SodaStream we can helped stop the single-use plastic bottle from going into landfill and help save the planet.

Our SodaStream Spirit is a compact cordless design that is super sleek and stylish, making it easier for use to enjoy a little sparkle at the touch of a button. The SodaStream Spirit comes in lots of colours including black, white, red, blue, pink, navy blue and dark purple to fit in with most kitchen decors. We had a black one but with our brand new kitchen the white would have gone so much better with the kitchen decor. You can buy the SodaStream on its own or with extras.  The hydration pack included the SodaStream maker, a gas cylinder, two 1 litre bottles, two 500ml bottles, Soda Press in the flavours Ginger Ale and Blueberry & Lime. 

The SodaStream Spirit comes with a single gas canister which can make up to 60L of sparkling water; so around a months worth. You can purchase additional gas canisters via the website, or from Argos, where you can take your old spent canister in and exchange it to save yourself the cost of a new one. Not only that SodaStream also have gas cylinder plans to choose from where you can choose to pay yearly or every three months making it more than affordable. Its going to be cheaper than buying single use plastic bottles which is also better for the environment.

How to set up your SodaStream?

To set the SodaStream Spirit up all you have to do is take off the back, twist the canister in and replace the back. It's that simple. Then fill your reusable bottles with water up to the line, place into the machine and push it back until you hear a click. Then press the button on the top for ten seconds or until the button feels harder to press and then pull the bottle forward and you're good to go. 

Now its time to get creative with the flavours and perhaps create a delicious cocktail or two. The bottle can then be reused as many times as you would like. You can either pour it into a glass as soon as you have made it fizzy or you can put the cap on the bottle and store in the fridge for later. We like to drink the water as it is or add some squash to it too. In our hydration pack we got two flavours Ginger Ale and Blueberry & Lime which are organic, less sugar content and no artificial flavourings. Honestly my favourite flavour of the two was the blueberry and lime but it still needs more than the two spoonfuls suggested. The Ginger Ale wasn't my favourite but its not really a flavour that I like anyway, but my husband preferred this one. 

Since we have been using the Sodastream Spirit we have been drinking so much more water, we still like to infuse with fruits, add the Soda Press flavours or squashes. It really tastes so much better than plain tap water. We are saving money, the planet and our health! So its a great change to make. 

** Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted our SodaStream Spirit and the Hydration Pack from SodaStream but as always all views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity. All images are subjected to copyright ©2019 **

Slap Ninja: How Fast Are You?

As my daughter is getting older she seems to be getting more into games, they are a great way to get some quality time as a family. However if your family is anything like mine then you will avoid games like Monopoly like the plague. But over the years games have seem to exploded with designers thinking of the most craziest ideas to get the whole family involved. Personally the best family games are the ones that you require a little luck with an element of surprise or tension, but most of all offer a lot of laughter as you play. The crazier the game the better.

That's exactly why I need to tell you all about our latest game Slap Ninja. Its fast paced, crazy and has an element or surprise with a zap or two just for fun. It is similar to the game you played in the school playground where you avoided your hands being touched or slapped at any cost, anyone else remember that game?

What is Slap Ninja?

Slap Ninja is the new fast paced skill and action game. Are you fast enough? You can play as a Ninja Master and use his huge karate chop SLAP to defend his coin from a very sneak opponents. Or play as a student trying to tap the coin in the Ninja's hands to try and defeat him. Three points need to be scored by the student or the master to win, its simple and easy to get your head around. On each side of the bench there are three sets of stars to help you keep track of the score, as it can be super quick and you want to try and aim for the stars to light up on your opponents side. The first player to defeat their opponent three times is the winner, and the loser gets zapped. 

I'm not normally a big fan of these types of games as they tend to lose their fun factor quickly but it was so much fun playing slap ninja with my daughter. We both enjoyed taking it in turns playing the master and then the student, the game is really fast paced so it kept us both interested. You really need to keep your eyes peeled though because if you don't you will most certainly get slapped and zapped. 

Slap Ninja is set up on a bench where the master and the student are trying to get to the precious coin which is clearly seen in the Ninjas hand. With the coin being red and pretty big in size really made it easy for each opponent to try and hit it before being slapped and zapped. On each side of the bench there are three sets of stars to help you keep track of the score, as it can be super quick and you want to try and aim for the stars to light up on your opponents side. The first player to defeat their opponent three times is the winner, and the loser gets zapped. The zap certainly packs a punch too, so make sure you get to the coin before being zapped.

The sound effects on the Slap Ninja are pretty intense and really take you by surprise. The first time we started to play my daughter wanted to be the student and jumped right out of her seat when she got zapped. I don't think we have ever laughed so much. It really is such a great game to play with the family. It definitely brings out a competitive streak in our daughter and for obvious zap reasons she wanted to be the master, every single time. 

One of the best parts about Slap Ninja was that it was so simple and easy to understand the aim of the game, we also loved that this each game was super quick and everyone was able to enjoy being a student and the master. We also got some cool red ninja bands included in out set so we could feel like a real ninja. However, my five year old wanted to play Slap Ninja with a blindfold to make it extra hard! Ha. Lets just say she wasn't a master for long. The only negative that we found with our Slap Ninja was that sometimes the handle would catch on the master side making it easier for the student to get to the coin, but other than that its a brilliant game. 

Slap Ninja is going to be that game everyone wants to add to their Christmas lists for sure, especially if you like getting slapped or zapped. Slap Ninja retails at £19.99 over on Amazon but they are available for only £14.99 at Very and £15.99 at Smyth Toys. 

** Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted Slap Ninja from Jakks Toys but as always my thoughts and opinions are my own **

Little Monster Halloween Treats

As always this time of year is the busiest month in our social calendar and we have so many adventures to look forward to. But just in case we don't already have a million things to organise we added a little Halloween baking into the mix just for fun.

Halloween treats are the best and if you're looking for a quick and simple Halloween treat or party food, then you will love making these little monster treats. They are so easy and simple to make you'll can make a batch of these in no time at all not including the setting of course. We enjoyed making these monster treats for home whilst watching some Halloween favourites, but they are great ideas for a spooky party or for you to enjoy at school. 

No monster Halloween treats are complete without a monster apron, right? We can't get over how cute our monster apron  is and the fact that they can be personalised with her name is even better. My daughter gave her little monster apron a name, Boris! Of all the names she could pick Boris was the one! Gift Pup have a wonderful range of Halloween gifts for children such as aprons, mugs and notebooks to jot down all those Halloween recipes. So we have prepared all the ingredients we need for our little monsters, washed our hands and now we are Halloween apron ready...

To make these little monster treats you'll need:

For the simple and easy treats use:

12 Kelloggs Rice Krispies Squares (see below for homemade)
500g white chocolate
Squires Food Colouring in Green
Writing Icing Pens in Green, Red and Blue

For the homemade rice crispy squares

165g Rice Krispies
45g Butter
250g Marshmallows

For these little monster Halloween treats you can choose to either use Rice Krispies Squares for a quick and easy treat. But if you have time and you're feeling more creative you can make your own Rice Krispies Squares so continue to first step of the method. However, if you want to make a simple and easy treat skip to step four. 

1. Melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan over a low heat on the stove. Once melted, add the marshmallows and stir continuously until melted into the butter.

2. Add the Rice Krispies into the saucepan and stir into the melted butter and marshmallows using a spatula. When thoroughly combined, line the base of a dish with parchment paper and pour the mixture in.

3. Press into the dish until compacted down and up to the sides of the dish. Leave to cool. Once set, cut into 12 Rice Crispy treats.

4. Insert a lollipop stick into the base of each monster treat and place onto a baking sheet. Then place the baking sheet into the fridge for 15 minutes. 

5. After 15 minutes. Chop your chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, stir occasionally until completely melted, no licking the spoon.  

6. Now to colour your chocolate. For best results, use a oil based food colouring when it comes to adding it to the chocolate. Even a drop of water can turn your melted chocolate into a gritty mess, so add the colour in small increments and stir in thoroughly before deciding whether to add more. 

6. Taking each treat carefully dip each one into the bowl of chocolate and ensure that each one is fully covered, if you want a less mess approach spoon over the chocolate over the bowl and turn as you go. Then place onto a baking tray lined with parchment, then give each monster two edible eyes before the chocolate sets.

7. Let the little monster treats to set for about fifteen minutes then it's time to give your little monsters a face, nose and eyebrows. But you can really be as adventurous you want and remember to try and be creative. Wait a few minutes and your little monsters will be ready to eat. 

These little monsters are so easy and simple to make you can make a batch of these in next to no time. We enjoyed making these monster treats for home to enjoy watching our Halloween favourites, but they are great ideas for a spooky party or for you to enjoy at school. 

* Disclaimer: For this post we have used affiliate links, so if you do buy anything from the links used I will earn a small commission. We were kindly gifted our monster apron from Gift Pup but as always my words and imagery are my own.*

Unravelling the Language of Reverse Mortgage Application

When you retire, there are a lot of things to enjoy. But one thing you may not enjoy is having a severe reduction in income. When you need more retirement money, a traditional mortgage might be your first thought. However, getting one means paying an ongoing mortgage bill. A reverse mortgage is a good alternative, but before you apply you need to understand the language of reverse mortgage application.

What a retirement only mortgage is...

A reverse mortgage is sometimes called a retirement mortgage or a retiree-only mortgage. That is because you can only get it if you are at least 62 years of age. It is a mortgage designed to give you the most living security during retirement without increasing your monthly financial stress. It does so by providing you with funds out of your home value to spend free and clear for as long as your home stays your main residence. Since that could be several years, that means you can be financially freer during retirement.

Why is it referred to as 'reverse'...

A reverse mortgage is referred to as “reverse” for one simple reason. It pays you instead of you paying it. If you select to receive regularly scheduled payments, it can simulate the income you lose from working, at least for as long as funds last. Since you do not have to repay portions of it early on like you do with a traditional loan, the cash flows in the one direction, to you.

So what is a reverse mortgage calculation tool?

It is not as easy as it sounds to figure out how much you can borrow with a reverse mortgage. It requires the help of a reverse mortgage calculator. The purpose of a reverse mortgage funds calculator is to access your total home value and then apply specific formulas to figure out how much of that value you can legally and safely borrow. Those calculations are necessary due to government lending limitations and other rules.

Figuring out how much you can borrow is only one issue when dealing with a reverse mortgage. Knowing what the reverse mortgage calculator says you can borrow is essential. But another issue you have to deal with is choosing between a regular reverse mortgage and an HECM after the reverse mortgage. An HECM is a home equity conversion mortgage. It is essentially the same as a reverse mortgage, except it is offered through a government agency and is thus protected and insured by the government.

Deciding if you want a home equity line of credit...

The term “home equity line of credit” is one commonly associated with reverse mortgages. It simply means an account set up like a credit card. It allows you to borrow from your home equity when and how you want or need. The two common alternative ways to receive your money are in planned equal ongoing payments or as a single up front large payment. Deciding if you want to set up the line of credit is up to you. It depends on your current retirement needs and any future financial issues you anticipate.

How a loan period relates to a reverse mortgage...

In the world of reverse mortgages, the loan period is not as much of a concern as it is in the world of traditional mortgages. That is because a traditional mortgage has a set loan period, or period of time in which the loan must be repaid by you. A reverse mortgage is only fully due whenever you stop living on your property. Therefore, the loan period is not defined when you first sign the loan agreement.

As you can see, the language of reverse mortgages is not always straightforward and easy to understand. That is why it may benefit you to talk to a reverse mortgage advisor. He or she can help you decode the language. Once you clearly know the meaning of everything in a reverse mortgage contract, you can sign it with confidence.

Meet the Little Goo Drops from the Goo Goo Galaxy

My daughter has been completely enthralled by space since learning about it during her first year of school. Astronauts, planets, the sun, the moon if it's in our galaxy she wants to know about it. It was only the other day that I was trying to teach her that silly acronym about remembering the planets, anyone else remember that one? I think it's important to encourage children to learn about space to help develop an appreciation for the universe, but we can always have a little fun, add a little sparkle and use a little imagination...

Crashing from the the gooey galaxy far away are the squishy jiggly Goo Drops. These little alien babies are lost and stranded far from their home stars waiting to be rescued by goo loving Earthlings. Their squishy, jiggly bellies are filled with some of the goo from their galaxy and when you squeeze them you can see their sparkling, glittery galaxy move about inside them. 

We were kindly send over Astra Nommy and Yumi Unicorn who arrived in their little alien goo pods with windows all around. But during their crash landing our ones did get a little damaged but they were still great to use in our creative play. Inside each goo pod you will get goo doll, passport, goo-to-go cup, straw, string and three goo ingredients! There's a DIY galactic slime activity included that we were able to mix, make a little slime smoothie, with each colour having a special meaning.

Astra Nommy 

Say hello to Astra Nommy who has a very squishy, jiggly belly filled with some of the galaxy as we squeezed her belly we could see her sparkling, glittery galaxy move about inside. It looks like confetti and reminds me of sprinkles. Astra Nommy has a really bobbly body and we loved watching her head wobble as we played our games. She loves donuts, can be shy but is super sweet who is always on the look out for sweet treats to eat.

Inside the goo pod there is goo-to-go cup with the cosmic cloud and star shine, a straw with a string attached to the cup.  Inside the goo pod there is a pull the emergency hatch where the Inter-GOO-lactic Passport and the slime crystals were hidden inside. It's filled with heaps of fun details about Astra Nommy like her birthday, eye colour, height and what planet she's from. When we went to make our slime we couldn't find the slime as they had slipped into the back of the box so we went ahead with the cosmic cloud and star shine. The slime fell out and we took the cosmic cloud and star shine out of the cup, made the slime and popped the others two back into the cup. A slime smoothie perfect for our little goo pod, it was a pretty turquoise colour. As it has a little string attached to the pod we decided to attach it to a bag but we didn't secure the lid enough and cosmic cloud went everywhere, so its perhaps made more for display.

Yumi Unicorn

Meet Yumi Unicorn who is an adorable little unicorn. As many of you know my girl loves unicorns and magical creature so Yumi Unicorn was by far her favourite. It's hard not to see why she is the sweetest little goo drop filled with pretty purple mystical glitter goo from her Mystico home star. Yumi Unicorn is the Goo Drop who always has her head in the clouds, she's a dreamer who's a little forgetful! Aren't we all? With the D.I.Y activity with this go drop was easier as we knew that the slime crystals were hidden behind the pull emergency hatch, my daughter did this little smoothie on her own and it was a pink goo with blue on the top with a secret hidden message telling us to follow our dreams. 

DIY Galactic Slime Activity

Inside each goo pod you will find a little goo-to-go cup that had two small sachets inside, with a cute little straw and string attached. My daughter couldn't wait to start our slime activity, how as the slime crystals with Astra fell into the back of the box we couldn't do the slime part first. So make sure you checked your passport for the slime. The inter-goo-lactic passport included some information about the goo drop including their birthday, planet, eye colour and things that they like. For the Galactic Slime Activity there was a step-to-step guide in making the slime, or as we like to call it a goo drop smoothie! We started with adding the slime crystals and a little water into the goo-to-go cup allowing enough time for the slime to set. The next step was the cosmic cloud slowly adding water as the cloud grew, topping our goo drop smoothie with star shine. It is important to remember that the goo drop smoothie is for display only. Each smoothie colour has a special message from their little goo drops such as shoot for the moon, you're a real star, follow your dreams and you're out of this world.

We really enjoyed make the goo drop smoothie, but it's a shame that it is for display only. It's a tiny one shot packet of slime, cosmic cloud and star shine! The goo-to-go cup isn't secure enough and ended up on my carpets but a quick scoop back into the cup as we were good to go. At only £14.99 per Goo Drop it would make the perfect little stocking filler or small gift for someone who loves slime, glitter and creative play! My daughter has asked for Luna Laguna next. You can get these from Smyths Toys, The Entertainer, and Amazon. You can choose Astra Nommy, Yumi Unicorn, Stella Skygems or Luna Laguna why not collect them all?

** Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted the Goo Drops from Character Toys bundle but as always my thoughts and opinions are my own **

Autumn Goals

Hello October. It's the second of October and so it make complete sense to update you all with our plans for the autumn. I know, technically it's been autumn since the end of September but I kind of feel the start of October is when all things autumn can begin. Finally, the best month of the year is upon us and we can't wait for the beautiful colours, the fresh crisp air, walking in crispy leaves and the hot beverages, er hello pumpkin spice lattes! I'm definitely looking forward to snuggling up in blankets and reading a good book whilst watching the changing colours of the season. As always this time of year is our busiest month in our social calendar and we have so many plans. 

Go Pumpkin Picking

Something that has become our family autumn tradition is of course pumpkin picking, its a day out that we all look forward to. Living in the countryside we are surrounded by fields and fields, however there doesn't seem to be that many pumpkin patches where we live. So we have to jump in the car for a little adventure to a pumpkin patch our favourite place to pick our pumpkins is at Undley Pumpkin Patch. Over the last few years it really have grown in popularity and they even have car park attendants over late summer early autumn. But as well as it being a great place to pick up your pumpkins there are a few things that children can get involved with such as bounce on the pumpkin shaped bouncy castle, get lost in the the maze, have their face painted, ride a donkey as well as climbing tyres and hay bales. There is also a tent that is full of lots of stalls that have an array of different handmade things perfect to add to your autumn decor. A couple of year back there was also a craft area but for one reason or another that part was taken away, so we are hoping that it comes back this year. 

Update Home Decor For Autumn

As soon as we begin to see those crisp golden leaves fall from trees, I am always ready to update my home for autumn. At the minute, everything still seems to be light and bright but now I am ready to welcome the seasonal changes. We have pretty neutral décor in our house, so we’ll be adding in a few autumnal prints and a cosy knit blanket or two. So far, we have updated our blinds and added some lovely mocha thermal curtains which is something that we have been meaning to do for some time, but never seem to get around in doing. I am ready for the autumnal feels in our home and we have already started to update every single candle, not forgetting stocking up on the best autumnal candle, the gingerbread candle. We have been adding a few copper hues to our living rooms and last month we some jar lights that are perfect to switch on alongside our lamp in the evenings. When it comes to being comfortable during the colder months, everybody is different. Some like to add a new blanket or pillow to their current decor, some enjoy turning the heating up and some like to indulge. By adding a new rug, or curtains can make all the difference to your home to help make it feel more comfortable. 

Autumn Photography

Being inspired by the lovely Sara Tasker and her wonderfully creative book Hashtag Authentic I plan on exploring the world in all its glory this autumn. By reading this book has really impacted on the way that I look at the world and its so much more exciting behind a camera lense. Honestly, if you love photography and want to try and up your game them go read her amazing book. Its full of photography tips, tricks and there are even a couple of challenges in there too. So with that in mind I'm so eager to get out, explore and capture. Autumn brings the warm colours, glowing lights and glorious backdrops, making something truly magical that only autumn photography brings. One of the great things about family autumn photography is not only the glow and the warm colours, but that it's not too cold so children are more than happy to be outside playing in the leaves, collecting conkers and returning home for a hot chocolate. There are many different places in Norfolk that we have yet to discover. 

Drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

With the cold autumn weather it gives you an excuse to sip on mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream. Not forgetting that Starbucks have launched their Pumpkin Spice Latte and drinking indulgent drinks is an absolute must do for autumn, forget the calories. Is it even autumn if there is no pumpkin spice? Probably not! However, the extra expenditure over the colder months can add up so I plan on making my own creation of the pumpkin spice latte, so watch our Starbucks! A little indulgent drink every now and again is ok but being on slimming world can be pretty difficult. That was until I came across this little bottle of goodness. Say hello to Jordan's Sugar Free Syrups with Pumpkin Spice, they even do a foam whip that you can pump into a latte! Yes please. 

All Things Halloween

With October comes the time we get involved with all things Halloween and we are all so excited to get into the spirit of Halloween. It has to be the best time of year for my little girl and like every year we shall be getting dressed up and heading into town to do our local Halloween trail. Our local Borough Council and the Vancouver Quarter always team up to celebrate Halloween with a special trail around the town. Last years trail was in the main town centre and started at 3pm where children and their parents were invited to collect a special Halloween map before making their way around to collect clues and sweets. At the end of the trail we handed our maps in to get a bag of sweets as if they needed more. They are changing things a little this year and the event is on a Saturday and during the day meaning that there will be lots if villains and workshops in town. What is Halloween without a little pumpkin carving? Carving pumpkins is so much fun and the possibilities are endless. My husband and daughter had a great time carving pumpkins last year together, obviously my husband did the actual carving, however our daughter had so much fun scooping the insides out. You can have just as much fun with some of our no carve pumpkin ideas too. 

What are your plans and goals for autumn?

Autumn Transitional Pieces

Hello Autumn, finally the best season is upon us! There is nothing quite like looking at the changing colours of the nature, the fresh crisp air, knitwear, booties and the hot beverages, er hello pumpkin spice lattes! As the evenings get shorter and there is a breeze in the air, it's time to start pulling those sweaters out from the back of the wardrobe. 

As we reach this awkward period with gorgeous sunshine one moment, to bitter wind and pouring rain the next, it's so important to build a transitional wardrobe. The last couple of years when it comes to my autumn wardrobe, I have found myself in a bit of a style rut where I stick to the same styles and wear the same thing over and over again. So this Autumn I have decided to go break the wardrobe rules and step outside of my comfort zone of black jeans and sweatshirts. With these five key transitional pieces you will be covered through the autumn months, no matter what the weather throws your way. Even if you pick a couple of these, I know you will be in a much better position to tackle the unpredictable weather of this season. 

1// Cosy Knitwear 

Autumn is the beginning of jumper season! So go and pull all your chunky knits and sweater from the back of your wardrobe and bring them to the front. Cosy knitwear is a always perfect staple to add into your autumn wardrobe. Knitwear can be so versatile and can be worn with about just anything. Whether you're pairing a cable knitted jumper with a pair of skinny jeans for a casual look, or go full of chic with a turtle neck and leather skirt for a more professional look. You can buy different styles of knitwear for women and the best autumnal outfits for men from justyouroutfit.

2// A Good Pair of Boots

Because boots are usually more expensive, it's important to shop for ones that can be worn with a number of outfits. Look for a pair of boots that compliments the clothes you already have in your wardrobe. Ankle boots will certainly become a stable. Ever so stylish and versatile this shoe never seems to get old. Pair with a dress and tights in the day or finish off any going out look. For me some simple black Chunky Heel Chelsea Boots are always my choice. 

3// A Blazer

Blazers are not just for work, you can really change the look of any outfit with a cute blazer. I have to say a simple black blazer, paired with jeans and heeled ballet pumps is definitely my go to with autumnal looks. A cute blazer can be perfect for work, play and everything in between, a beautiful jacket earns every penny you spend on it.

4// Jeans to Suit Your Shape + Style

When it comes to jeans everyone has their own style and preference, but it really is important to feel comfortable as well as feel great. A great pair of jeans is an essential part of every wardrobe. With so many cuts, silhouettes, rises and washes it can be hard to decided what to buy. Personally, I don't think you can ever go wrong with a good pair of black skinny jeans - they are super chic, classy and will go with pretty much any autumnal look.

5// A Trench Coat

The best trench coats come in all shapes and sizes, from neutral shades in classic shapes to textured and colourful styles. It is a timeless classic and everyone needs a cute trench as a part of autumn staples. They can be super versatile and one of the few items of clothing that is suitable for both casual and smart occasions. With a jeans and a plain tee or tailored trousers, a neutral coloured blouse and ankle boots. It just works.

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The Best Ways to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Let's talk about sugar! I don't know about you but as a mum I am always worried about my daughter and her sugar intake. When we are out and about on adventures there seems to be sweet treats or sugary snacks around every corner. That's not even mentioned that most drinks available for children are sickly sweet and full of sugar. As one of the most addictive substances, it may seem difficult to avoid the temptation of such a delicious ingredient, but it is possible. By making simple sugar swaps. 

When it comes to cutting down on sugar, even just one or two swaps can really make a difference to how much sugar you and your child are eating, so the start of September was the perfect opportunity for a fresh start and introduce some simple sugar swaps into our life.

Make Your Cereal.

Most packaged breakfast cereals, granolas, and porridge contain lots of calories, carbohydrates, and plain sugar. That morning sugar can cause a spike that will lead to an energy crash at the office a few hours later. You’ll end up hungry. So instead of a packet of sweetened porridge, make your own plain porridge and flavour it yourself. There really is no way to start your day that with a healthy and nutritious bowl of porridge. You can have any combination of toppings that you like, the choice is endless. We really like banana and blueberry as it is packed with antioxidants from the blueberries as well as fibre and slow releasing energy from the oats.

Bring Your Own Snacks

When we are out exploring on our family adventures it can be hard to avoid the sugar, as there seems to be temptation around every corner. We don't need to eliminate sugar completely we just want to make healthier choices and add in extra goof for you foods. So instead of choosing convenient food and drinks on adventures we like to take our own snacks. By packing our own snacks like blueberry and lemon barshealthy pretzels, and roasted chickpeas will be convenient, healthier and satisfy your cravings but not overload you with calories or sugar.

Jazz Up Your Water

Water is the best thing you put in your body, yet even though we can all agree that drinking water is good for us we still don't drink enough. Water can help to control calorie consumption, boost kidney function, help with digestion, and improve our skin. Now I'm not going to sit here and say that I drink enough because in reality I just drink enough to keep going and over the last few week I have noticed a change in my skin, my hair and I feel really tired all the time. 

Drinking water has so many great health benefits, but let's be honest water can be boring. I know that I can drink around three glasses of water before reaching for the kettle, but I'm trying to limit my caffeine intake too. So over the last few weeks we have been looking at ways to drink more water. Infusing your water can make all the difference. It's so refreshing and I think it's far more appealing than just water and by preparing water in advance you can have as much ensure you keep to your water goals.

We have been trying these Twinings Kids Cold Infused as they are sugar free and made with all natural ingredients. It has been a great way to add a hint of flavour without the drinks being loaded with sugar. By simply adding an infusion bag to our water bottles and giving it a quick shake has really changed the game. We have so many delicious flavours to choose from such as Strawberry & LemonadeMango & Orange and Blackcurrant & Apple. These cold infused have been making such a difference to our water intake and each pot comes with 12 diffusers so you will have plenty of opportunities to jazz up your water.

Get Your Fruit Fresh

If you have a sugar craving, eating some fruit such as bananas, apples or oranges is a far better way to satisfy a craving that downing a milkshake or eating some chocolate. Fresh fruit has lots of fibre and other amazing vitamins that we need, however be careful to not over indulge in fruit juice or dried fruit as it is sugar concentrated. We love making fruit kebab skewersoat bars and being creative with fruit and veggie faces.

Meal Plan!

Believe it or not but meal planning is king! Whether you're trying to watch calories, ditch sugar or save money. Meal planning is everything. By planning in advance, you can aim to have nutritionally well-balanced meals throughout the week. Planning your meals ultimately allows you to take control of your own personal nutrition needs, eat quality foods and make healthier choices meaning that we can watch out for added sugars or create a balance with sugar intake.

** Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted this TWININGS bundle but as always my thoughts and opinions are my own **

Styling A Farmhouse Kitchen

As many of you know we have been wanting to renovate our kitchen for some time, but for one reason or another we never seemed to get around to actually beginning. So over the summer we decided it was time to bite the bullet bullet and begin our kitchen renovation, we are so excited to share our progress with you and finally, IT'S TIME. 

*This post is in collaboration with DESENIO, Use code ‘MIMIROSEANDME25’ for 25% off all prints between 17th September and 19th September ONLY! Excluding frames and handpicked/personalised prints.*

It's been quite the challenge with a few setbacks and needing to postpone until the beginning of the holidays, not our best decision I can tell you. It was hard living in the middle of the chaos, trying to keep a little one occupied and confined in the house during the hottest months of the year. It's still not perfect but we are a working progress and so I wanted to share all the details of our styling our farmhouse kitchen.

Planning our kitchen renovation has been something on the cards for a while, however we wanted to get the rest of the house all completed before starting on renovating a kitchen as we knew it wasn't going to be an easy task. Ever since we moved into our forever home we always knew that we wanted a modern country style vibe in our kitchen (thanks to the many hours of scrolling though pinterest). However designing a kitchen isn't as simple as you'd think as there is quite a lot to take into consideration. With millions of paint colors, cabinet stains, and countertop, tile and backsplash options settling on a final design is both exciting and daunting. 

Our kitchen is the heart of our home as we tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen entertaining family and friends so it's really important to get the design just right. We wanted to try and create a kitchen that was warm and inviting, yet simple and humble with natural wood, classic shaker style cabinetry, ceramic sink and a soft colour palette. The reason why a farmhouse design appealed to us the most because you can choose almost any colour scheme that works best for you and the space you have, whilst still maintaining a traditional farmhouse style. 

Keep your walls and cabinets light and bright 

Light should always be encouraged to flow throughout the room as much as possible.  We decided on cream cabinetry and units as we felt as if this would help make our kitchen seem much more open than it actually is. However if you're someone who needs colour then there is nothing wrong with painting an accent wall or something. The whole reason why we decided to renovate our kitchen was due to the fact it had an awful lighting, it was very yellow. We wanted to make the kitchen feel brighter and bigger without changing the outlay of the kitchen, too much. The kitchen has rustic elements that add a farmhouse sophistication to the space. The walls and worktops are a stark contrast to the cream cabinets and we honestly couldn't be more in love. 

Don't underestimate kitchen art

By adding a splash of art to your kitchen walls is a great way to keep your decorative flow. There are a couple of prints already in my home, but there is a cute white shelf that I am desperate to decorate with pretty prints. I really love the idea of open shelving in a kitchen as you can change the look from time to time. The most recent additions to my shelving are all from Desenio, we have worked with Desenio before when we renovated our modern and minimalist home office. I adore Desenio and all their gorgeous prints with hundreds of photos, quotes, illustrations and art to choose from there is bound to be something to suit your taste. These prints can really help change the look of any room and the fact that Desenio are so reasonable in their pricing, you will probably get more than one or two prints.

As we are going for a farmhouse kitchen style with rustic woods theme throughout we decided to go for a wooden frames as the contrast looked amazing against the pebble coloured walls and on the white shelving. When it came to choosing the prints for my open shelving I knew I needed to choose something that made a big statement which is why we decided to go for this gorgeous sketch Watercolour Hands No3 which is of two people holding hands by their little fingers. As we wanted it the key focal point on the shelving we decided to get this particular print in a large size of 40x50 and we are in love. We also decided to get this Forest Silhouette 21x30 and it really compliments our woodland theme hallway and helps with the flow, this is one of three prints available in the range. Our favourite and final print for our kitchen shelves is the typography prints Sweet Home in a landscape view in the 21x30. Framed art displayed on open shelves adds an inviting focal point to an open, airy kitchen. It’s also a great place to welcome friends and family making quite the impact.

Supersize the sink 

There is only one option when it comes to farmhouse kitchen sinks, and that's ceramic. Traditional and hard wearing, a deep ceramic sink coupled with a similarly-styled draining board is the perfect addition to the farmhouse theme. We have a more than an ample kitchen, however we don't have the space for a dishwasher not matter how hard I wish, but deciding on a sink that will work well in a farmhouse kitchen is not always easy. There are so many different styles and designs that you really are spoiled for choice, this reversible 1.5 bowl inset sink with a main bowl capacity of 25L is a traditional ceramic sink that really suited the farmhouse style. We also decided to integrate this ceramic sink into our rustic wooden work tops to make it completely seamless, one of my favourite features in the kitchen. With its integrated drainer and simple design all it needs is a sleek stainless-steel tap to make it a real feature to enhance the style of our kitchen. We chose to add a beautiful traditional style tap with ceramic lever handles which is the perfect finishing touch to our farmhouse style kitchen.

Antiques and accessories

One of the easiest ways to incorporate farmhouse style into your kitchen and throughout is displaying vintages accessories. From mason jars and glassware to rolling pins and antique bowls, ideas to decorate a farmhouse kitchen are endless. These vintage items can often give color and charm to a kitchen whether you hang these items on wall or display them on shelving or in a glass front cabinets. 

Bring something living into your kitchen

Nothing brightens up a room than with a vase of fresh blooms so why not freshen up your kitchen with a plant or a vase of flowers. I'm literally obsessed with real flowers and I think that there is nothing quite like freshly cut flowers to liven up a room, making it colourful and so much more inviting. It helps that fresh flowers are not too pricey and add a certain decadence to a farmhouse kitchen. However, plants are a great addition to a farmhouse style kitchen too. An array of greenery throughout the home gives your home an instant botanical feel and make you think of embracing the outdoors. Plants in the home has become one of the biggest design trends over the past few years. People crave bringing a bit of the outside in, from big statement furn trees to tiny succulents and even arrangements of herbs in a kitchen window sill. Plants can be arranged and clustered or spread out throughout, not only do they look nice and add a pop of colour, but they also help purify the air and can make you happier. If you have light in your kitchen, you might even be able to grow some herbs.

Smart storage collection

When we were planning our kitchen renovation an absolute essential part of the designing process was making sure that we utilized the storage space. Many modern kitchens tend to choose to hide away the majority of the utensils and appliances, but that is the beauty of designing a farmhouse kitchen it is the perfect place to have all these on display. Spice racks, a ceramic jug for wooden utensils, a knife block or hanging herbs there are so many ways you can try and ultilise your space in a farmhouse kitchen. Cabinets and drawers are also a great place to try start, as they are not always used to their full potential. We have added internal storage solutions to our drawers and cabinets with pull our wire racks, fitting a cornice cabinet, a pull out spice rack and under cooker draw for trays. 

I'm really happy with our farmhouse kitchen and even though it is still a working progress, it is by far my favourite room in the house. Slowly but surely the room is coming together really well and sure has a lot of character all we need now is some cute antique lighting and a few more rustic hues. One of my favourite ways to style our farmhouse kitchen was adding an open shelving and displaying these gorgeous prints and some flowers. I love the fact that I am able to change this opening shelving from time to time depending on my mood or the time of year. Why not grab yourself some of these gorgeous prints especially as all my wonderful readers can get 25% off posters on Desenio with my code! My code ‘MIMIROSEANDME25’ gives 25% off all prints on all Desenio sites between 17th September and until midnight (UK time) on the 19th September ONLY! Excluding frames and handpicked/personalised prints. Follow @desenio for more inspiration.

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