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9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Wi-Fi at Home.

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Living in the digital age where information is given and received at a fast pace, reliable internet is vital. As a blogger I know only too well the importance of a good, reliable and fast connection. But we've all been there! You're feeling inspired and need to sit down to allow that inspiration to flow through your writing, but you have to wait. And wait. And wait and WAIT. All of a sudden the endless buffering begins. 


It's frustrating when your network slows down but there are a few tricks you can use to boost your Wi-Fi signal. There are some things you can do with everyday objects around your home to make the most of that connection and relieve some of the frustration and stress.

Don't Hide Your Router

Let's face it routers are ugly little things and stick out like a sore thumb. I know seeing that little black box on top of my sideboard is so unappealing. If we're honest most of us try and hide them, but by placing the router in a closet or cabinet makes your connection SLOWWW. Believe it or not walls and doors can also affect the speed of your connection too.

By finding a secure and central location in your home can work wonders. But remember to try and keep your router high up on either a table or unit as this can really benefit in getting a fast and stable connection. We have tried all kinds of places for our router but it works best in our bedroom on our bedside unit away from windows and other electronic devices. 

Disconnect Unused Electronics From The Network. 

If you have multiple computers, phones, tablets, printers, TVs, and other accessories using your wireless network at once, you might be slowing down your wireless network. So go through all your electronics and turn them them off or disconnect the devices you aren't using to improve network speeds. 

Keep The Router Away From Other Electronics.

Believe it or not Wi-Fi signals may experience interference when placed near the TV, computer, or other electronic devices. So it's best to try and keep your router away from such devices for a better signal strength. Keep them high and off the floor too. 

Update Your Router's Firmware.

Updating your router firmware can help improve connectivity and keep your router secure. It is always recommended to install the latest available updates to keep your network safe and efficient. Every router is different, but there's usually a somewhat similar process for upgrading the router’s firmware. Check your router manufacturer’s website for a user manual that includes specific instructions for your make and model.

Change The Wireless Channel or Frequency Band.

If it’s not possible to position your Wi-Fi router away from potential sources of interference, then consider changing its wi-fi channel to one that’s less busy. It isn't quite as simple as changing channel on your TV but you can change the channel your router uses for Wi-Fi in order to avoid interference from neighbouring networks.

Boost Your Wi-Fi Range. 

The humble router can only cast the Wi-Fi so far. For those who live in big houses, or houses with thick walls, receiving signal in all corners of your home can be problematic. By boosting or amplifying existing signals will enables all wireless devices within that expanded coverage space to connect to internet or similar wireless network.

There are areas in your home that don't get a Wi-Fi signal, you may have a dead spot, you're out of reach of your router, or perhaps an architectural feature in your home is preventing the signal from getting through. If there are places in your house, where you can’t get any a good signal, then a Wi-Fi network booster will help extend your current Wi-Fi network ensuring that the connection reaches all corners of your home and eliminate those dead spots.

As a blogger being connected is vital for writing content, uploading photos to sending pitches to companies and connecting with followers on social media. So a fast, reliable connection is essential. JL Audio Visuals offer a wide range of solutions to ensure that you get the stable and reliable connection that so many of us want to achieve - no matter what the size of the problem. 

Reboot Regularly 

With most new routers there is usually no need for them to be rebooted regularly. However, if you connection drops out all the time, then rebooting your router is often all it takes to get you back up and running. In general, it's a great idea to reboot every couple of months. 

A router reboot can fix some connectivity issues, from no connectivity to slow wireless connections, and should be one of your first steps you take when trying to improve connection. Not only that, it's also a good security practice to reboot the router every once in a while

Remember To Switch Off 

Most networks are under demand at the moment because of the pandemic with more families online together during the day. But remember switching off can also be beneficial to families too. You  can always making adjustments to bandwidths or figure of what time of day you're over consuming and make the relevant changes. So if you have children at home while you’re working, ask them to sit together to watch a video on one screen rather than having each in their own room consuming massive amounts of bandwidth. 

Upgrade Your Internet Plan

We have just recently changed our internet provider and honestly, they are awful. We have had nothing but issues with our connection right from the beginning. From our telephones wires getting cut, new routers, to corroded wires and consistent dropping in and out. It has been a bit of a nightmare. Their solution? Allowing us to get out of their contract for free! It just shows that some providers just don't want to get to the bottom of a problem. 

Unless you upgrade your service, the default plan you started with remains the one you’re subscribed to, so it’s worth checking with your provider. Just make sure to upgrade your router and cable modem at the same time. So depending on your situation you can either adjust your plan or perhaps consider changing your provider. 

It can be so frustrating when your network slows down but there are a few tricks you can use to boost your Wi-Fi signal. Believe it or not by doing these simple steps to help. Every household strives for a good, reliable connection and by carrying these simple steps to help boost your Wi-Fi is normally all it takes to get the most out of your connection. 

Do you know anymore way that can help improve your Wi-Fi at home?

Exploring Yorkshire: Mother Shipton’s Cave

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We are still feeling happy, rested and refreshed after our little staycation to the dales a couple of weeks back. It was just what we needed. Are you going on holiday this summer? 


You should, you deserve it. There are so many wonderful places to explore and the Yorkshire Dales is our favourite place to go. With the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, beautiful waterfalls, heritage and so many sheep. It is a great place to disconnect from the world, walk in the hills and just take a breath.


We wanted to go and explore as many adventures as we could and Mother Shipton's Cave which is the oldest attraction in England was the first place on our list. With a petrifying well, mystical cave, picturesque woodland and an amazing adventure playground, it’s easy to see why it has been visited by millions of people over the years. The adventure playground that includes an enchanting Pixie Village Trail, making it an exciting outdoor adventure for all the family.

About Mother Shipton

As the legend goes Mother Shipton was the daughter of Agatha, a local girl who found herself pregnant and unmarried at a young age. When she refused to tell the identity of the father she was shunned from the village. Agatha found shelter in a cave and one stormy night with thunder banging, lightening crashing and gales blowing, she gave birth to her baby daughter, Ursula. Shortly after the birth the baby was placed with a local family and the mother was send away to a convent. 


Life wasn't easy for Ursula. With a large crooked nose, a bent back and twisted legs many taunted her. So she went back to the cave where she was born preferring to live her life alone in the woods. Years later she married a young carpenter from York, Tobias Shipton but life together was short, as he died two years later. The name ‘Mother’ Shipton came years later when Ursula became the oldest woman in the village.

Mother Shipton made a living telling the future and fortunes of those who asked. She foretold the fates of several rulers within and just after her lifetime, as well as the invention of iron ships, the Great Fire of London, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and even the end of the world. It is an intriguing tale to learn about. 

Arriving at Mother Shipton's Cave

Due to the social distancing measures all admissions to the cave needed to be booked online in advance, with allocated time slots allowing 2.5 hours to explore the attraction. Entry to the cave is £25 per car term-time weekdays, £30 per car weekends and school holidays (max 7 people per car), including parking. Please note that minibuses and motorhomes will not be allowed. Unfortunately, pedestrians without a car will not be able to visit at the moment. Dogs are welcome in all areas of the Mother Shipton’s park, apart from the adventure playground which was clearly signposted. 


The Cave and Petrifying Well in Mother Shipton’s Park are both natural rock formations, situated in the centre of a mile-long, woodland park. Therefore access can only be gained via the many many steps within the park. But don't worry there are hand rails and little seats in between for those who need a rest in between. 

The Pixie Village

As you know, my girl loves the thought of fairies and pixies, so to her, the Pixie Village was an absolute dream for her imagination. Deep in the captivating woodland, filled with fairy rings and secret doorways, pixies are waiting to play! As you make you way through the magical woodland keep your eyes peeled for for those tiny little houses. 




But due to the social distancing measures the cottages were too confined for interaction for visitors so there were large screens placed over the doors and no visitors were allowed to touch the toadstools or the pixie houses. But visitors were provided with a trail sheet to explore the natural woodland at their own pace.



The Adventure Playground at Mother Shipton's

We all loved the new adventure playground which has a variety of equipment for all ages. The park is situated partly on a hill where you will find lots of more fun and exciting things to play over the hill. Dogs are welcome at Mother Shipton's apart from the adventure playground due to health and safety, but we all took it in turns to have some park fun with our daughter. 


There were swings, climbing frames, a huge slide, a zip wire and a huge pirate ship with a sandpit. On top of the hill there were more swings, seesaws and some really cool dinosaurs that our daughter just loved. 




The Petrifying Well 

A little way on from the playground you will walk down a series of steps towards the Petrifying Well which is a fascinating and picturesque spot. The waters comes over the rock and falls down to the clear pond below and for many centuries people believed that the water had miraculous healing powers. In the early 1600s samples of the water were examined by medical physicians who agreed that these waters, were in fact a miracle cure.


There are minerals in this waterfall can turn lots of things in just a matter of a few months. There are lots of random objects hanging from the rock's edge including a hat, a boot, pots and teddy beats.


The Cave

Slightly on from the Petrifying Well you will walk up a few steps to Mother Shipton's Cave. But, you'll be surprised as it's not some dark, cold eerie cave, it's more like a cove within the rock side. There is a statue of Mother Shipton as well as signposts and audio available to tell you all about her story. As we walked around the cave, we all turned around to look back at the Petrifying Well and saw that Giant Skull that visitors having been calling for years. It's pretty eerie, however the photo I took was out of focus. 


The Wishing Well

During a visit it is an old tradition to make a wish. The wishing well is fed by the same magical waters as the Petrifying Well and has been wished in for over three hundred years. But if you do want to make a wish there are some important instructions you need to follow to ensure that you wish will come true. Obviously we all made our secret wishes and hopefully they will come true one day.


The Museum 

We were coming towards the ends of the attraction and joined a queue, to our surprise, it was for the museum and gift shop. However due to the social distancing measure and the size of the museum we all needed to wait before going inside. We waited for around half an hour and entered the shop all masked up ready to look at some more interesting facts about this mystical place. 




Many of the items have been donated by famous people over the years from John Wayne's Hat, Agatha Christie's Bag and for the most valuable item was a shoe left by Queen Mary when she visited in 1923. As well as seeing some of the prophecies she foretold and events centered around Mother Shipton's. There is also a little gift shop full of wild and wonderful things. We brought some 'magic water' from the Petrifying well as well as some pencils and fairies to put in our little fairy garden. 

It was a great day out for all the family and Winston loved the walk and all the attention from other visitors. An intriguing and quirky place that children will love.

7 Must-Haves Supplies For a Puppy

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Everyone knows that puppies are cute and adorable but becoming a dog owner is a big responsibility. But to make sure that your puppy settles into their new life quickly, you need to be organised and have everything they possible need before collecting your new pup. 


We have had our puppy Winston a few weeks and it has been full of exciting adventures. Our first few days with him was quite worrying as he became lethargic and started to lose his fur, but a change of food with a daily vitamin added into his diet he became a different puppy. We discovered that Winston was allergic to grains which did mean a lot of changes - but we did our best to be as prepared as we could. Winston has had his last vaccinations so we can take him along our adventures,  and now we have started lead training so there are a couple of essentials that we need to stock up on. 

Mikki Care Magic Dog Bed.

All dogs and puppies love to snuggle and this bed is perfect for that as it provides enough support and security for our boy Winston. It’s incredibly soft and well padded on the sides and the bottom. The interior edges are deep enough that he can burrow and snuggle into it. At first Winston thought that it was a toy or a blanket but now loving how soft and snuggly his bed is. We use this laying flat and use the cord to bring up the sides, however that cord became a bit of a problem as our puppy wouldn't leave it alone. There is a little pocket that you can tie the cord and place inside, but my inquisitive puppy always manages to find it and chew. So we have resorted to taking the cord out altogether and using the bed as a mat which we place inside his crate for bedtime. 


Mikki Car Harness

If you follow our latest posts you will know that we have just come back from our little staycation in North Yorkshire, which was also Winston first holiday. Like with children, we wanted to be as prepared as we could as we made the four hour journey up north. We didn't want him to be overwhelmed with the journey so we tried to keep him as entertained as possible ensuring that we stopped for toilet break regularly, we also needed to take our time with the stops as it was a hot day. But like with most things, safety comes first. There are a number of products out there that are perfect for dogs and their car safety.

For short car trips, dog seat belts are easy (and quick) to put on and take off, while longer trips call for a full car harness. The Mikki Car Harness ensures safe and comfortable car journeys for you and your dog and clips in to your car's seatbelt system. The chest belt is padded to offer maximum protection and the clever swivel link allows your dog to turn around without getting tangled. 

Mikki Recall Training Lead

Dachshunds can be very independently minded dogs. Who knew? While their unique spirit gives them a lot of character and can provide hours of entertainment, it can also make them resistant if you do not approach training with the right approach. Even though we have had Winston a few weeks, we can already tell that he had the mind of a toddler and attitude of a teenager - meaning he can be one stubborn pup at times. 


We started lead training as soon as we could fit a collar around his neck and would walk up and down our living room. As soon as he had his last vaccinations we ventured out into the open and he was such a good boy. However we now feel its time to go one step further and begin recall training which isn't going to be easy with our pup. The Mikki Recall Training Lead is perfect for teaching recall and controlling our puppy from a distance. With double crossed box stitching for extra strength and durability which can stand the test of time and those little nibbles he loves to do with his leads. 

Mikki Grooming Brushes

The earlier you can get your puppy used to being groomed the better! A good shampoo and conditioner for your puppy can really make a difference to their skin and coat help preventing diseases and other health conditions. Not forgetting a soft bristle brush that will be gentle on your pups new skin. The Mikki Porcupine Brush has a combination of soft and hard nylon bristles to enhance grooming action and reduce any excessive brushing force. As our miniature dachshund only has a short coat and because he lost a little first in those first few weeks due to an allergy this brush is perfect for his coat length and condition.


The Mikki Smooth 'n' Stroke Glove is a dual purpose glove to invigorate the skin while maintaining a healthy coat. The rubber bristle pad massages and cleanses the skin and the velvet finishing palm catches loose hairs and adds shine. At every possible chance our puppy would pull it off and run away with it because he though it was a toy, but after a couple of grooming sessions he loved it and actually fell asleep. 


Nylabones Starter Bones for Puppies

Puppies love to CHEW! But if you decide to get them for your pup its all down to preference. For our dogs we have always used Nylabone as they have a whole range of chews and healthy edibles. They are really good to prevent destructive behaviour, anxiety, and to strengthen teeth. But seeing as our puppy is a few weeks old we wanted something that will help with teething but without causing damage. This Nylabone Puppy Twin Pack are a great starter for our puppy that has a veggie flavour bone that can graduate to the chicken for a life bone once our puppy is ready. 


Winston also loves this Nylabone Puppy Chill & Chew which is lamb and apple flavoured that features colour-changing soft material that are especially catered for puppies. These chews are designed to help encourage proper chewing habits, discourages destructive chewing and help clean teeth. You can also pop this bone into the freezer with the colour changing technology showing when the bone is frozen for an extra dimension to a teething chew


We have loved every second with our puppy Winston and at times it does feel as if we have a baby. toddler and teenager rolled into one. But we know that there are more adventures ahead of us, so its good to know that we are prepared as we can as he grows and develops.  

**We have been kindly gifted these products but as always my words and opinions are my own. Images are subject to copyright, please seek permission before using.**

Blast into Summer with Stomp RocketⓇ

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There is no doubt that the summer of 2020 will be different to any other summer. No one was expecting a season of cancelled holidays and social distancing. Swimming pools being closed, stadiums and live music events have not fans. It will be a summer like no other. So of course you want to be sure to keep your family and other families safe this summer in such strange times, but even things will feel completely different this year it doesn't mean that there are not some fun and exciting ways to have fun. 


As the warm and sunny afternoons are still upon us, it has made us realise that we need to make the most of summer, especially before normality resumes in a few weeks. If a summer needed to go out with a bang, it's this one! There are endless activities that you can do this summer that will bring you hours of fun. 

But we knew more than anything we wanted to make the most of afternoons playing outside in the sunshine. It is always fun, super exciting and there are so many opportunities for children to learn and development from all their surroundings. From a walk in the woods, to playing at the park or going on a scavenger hunt. The great outdoors gives children plenty to explore. 


And exploring is exactly what we have been doing and making some wonderful memories together during the process. As things seem to still be pretty restrictive many families are are unable to live spontaneously, everything needs to be planned or pre booked making finding the fun, well not as exciting. 

But one change that has been pretty exciting for us is welcoming our brand new puppy into our home. We decided that now our daughter was old enough and have been asking A LOT, we got her the best birthday present a girl could wish for. We are all so in love with our new puppy Winston and he really has changed the dynamics within our family. Everyday we take him to the local park as a family, he still has a lot to learn about the world but he really is becoming such a lovely little puppy. 

Our walk this week was a little different as I had a little surprise in store. Stomp Rocket!!!! What is more fun that running, jumping and stomping to launch mini little rockets into the sky???


For those who don't know, the Stomp Rocket is THE toy that you NEED. Every family needs to try this Stomp Rocket at least once to see how much fun you can really have without some kind of fancy gadget, or the need to part with those pennies. Stomp RocketⓇ really does launch rockets 400 feet into the air. Yes really! You and your family will have so much fun together trying to launching these rockets into the sky. This Stomp Rocket is 100% child powered so there is no need for any batteries, fuel or any charging. Winning! As well as being great fun, it’s also a way of encouraging children to take an interest in STEM subjects. So that they can become the engineers, technicians and astronomers of the future.


Inside each box there is a Stomp Rocket launch stand, a launch pad with air hose and 3 super high performance stomp rockets designed by aeronautical engineers. It was so easy to set up, all we needed to do was add the air hose to the launch stand and we were ready for blast off. We popped the black tube into the rocket launch and then pop the rocket inside. A run, jump and stomp was all that was needed to launch our rockets into the air. They can really go up high into the sky!

We also tried using Stomp Rocket in our back garden but these rockets are really powerful and can go so high into the sky which did mean that our rockets did end up in the neighbours garden a few times. So personally if you want to get these rockets high into the sky then they are best suited in a wide open space so you can get the most out of launching, just watch out for their landing. 


Ok, I'm not even ashamed to say this but this Stomp Rocket is NOT just for children. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even puppies can have just as much fun, if not more. Does anyone needs an excuse to unleash their inner child every now and again? Stomp Rocket is also a great way for a healthy competition between family members and rocket launching. It is pretty addictive. Who can launch their rocket the furthest? For us, of course my husband, the big kid won. But he did has a lot of practice runs. 

As well as being great fun, it’s also a way of encouraging children to take an interest in STEM subjects. So that they can become the engineers, technicians and astronomers of the future. So before you welcome autumn and start carving pumpkins and wearing your cosy sweaters, take some time to say goodbye to summer and get a Stomp Rocket!

There’s flying fun all day and night for the younger kids with Stomp Rocket Junior Glow. This set of four foam-tipped, glow-in-the-dark rockets soar up to 100 feet! Battle for the title of strongest stomper with Stomp Rocket Duelling Rockets. This set comes with two launch pads so friends can face off simultaneously, sending their rockets up to 200 feet. While Stomp Rocket Ultra lets you run, jump and STOMP to launch four foam-tipped rockets up to 200 feet in the air.

The Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes includes three unique planes: the Looper makes giant loops; the Glider does tricks and glides over 100 feet; and Wild Cat flips, turns and soars. Learn by changing the launch angle, by stomping harder or softer, by launching with wind or no wind. Unless you'd prefer to play indoors with the Stomp Rocket BLO-rockets. These have 4 in 1 games such as Catch A Rocket; Distance Launch; Target Practice; Dodge Rockets. It really is lots of fun and now all available from Amazon, John Lewis, Hamleys and Toymaster.

What do you think of the Stomp Rocket?

**We have been kindly gifted some of these products in the list but as always my words and opinions are my own. Images are subject to copyright, please seek permission before using.**

7 Foolproof Accessories That Every Man Should Own

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Accessories are a great finishing touch to an outfit and show that you have taken the time to compliment your outfit choice and not just thrown it altogether. Choosing the right accessories can take an outfit to a whole different level and allow others to gain a little insight into your style and personality.


However, it seems as if accessories for men are often ignored, which is unfortunate considering accessories can either make or break an outfit choice. Every man should own some kind of accessories regardless of their age, occupation or style. By keeping accessories simple and subtle means that they will be can chop and change depending on their mood, style or occasion. That way they can ensure that they're ready for any last minute meeting, a lunch or going out with friends.

However, keep in mind that you don't have to keep is neutral or basic so don't be afraid to experiment with different accessories until you get comfortable with the right pieces that work for you. So that's why we have shared 7 foolproof accessories that every man should have to get you started. 

1. A WATCH

The watch is often a suitable accessory because of its functionality, however their choice in watch often shows a lot about their style and personality. A watch is a great way for self-expression. Some people like to own just one, good quality watch that they can use in any occasion. While others prefer to have more choice and variety of different wristwatches that they can alternate even daily. 


The more common trend with watches are simplicity and plain in design. The great thing about these types of watches is that they are often very versatile and can be used with casual outfits as well as with classic suits. However, if you prefer a more of a statement then go all out. There is no point in splurging on a Rolex if you plan on wearing it to work on a building site or wear it to the gym. 

2. BELT

A belt isn’t just an essential for keeping trousers firmly in place, it’s also an accessory that can add a subtle touch of personality to any outfit. So if you're wearing jeans, chino, shorts or a suit throwing on a leather belt will be a great finishing touch to your outfit. Most belts fall into two categories – dress or casual so which one you choose depends on your clothes and the occasion. 


This Cognac Leather Auto Lock Belt in Brown just oozes style and sophistication with a genuine leather finish and stylish buckle that stays in place and adjust to any waist size in seconds. You won’t often find many belts that are suitable for both dress and casual occasions, however this belt is so versatile that it will look great with a pair of jeans and shirt or a tailored suit. Its always best to choose a few belts in different colours and materials so that you have a fair share to choose from when you are styling an outfit. 


3. SUNGLASSES

Sunglasses are both practical and timeless. Sunglasses protect eyes however, they are more often used plainly as statement pieces to showcase personal style. Some people own numerous pairs so they can match the right pair of glasses with the occasion, their outfit, and their mood. Whether you’re a sunglasses man or not they can add a stylish, cool touch to your outfit. 

4. BRACELETS

A bracelet accentuates personal style and can be often worn without feeling out of place. Be it casual or dressy occasions different bracelets can allow them to stand out in the simplest of ways. If you have never tried them before, a metal or leather bracelets will set you apart and show you're not afraid to experiment with personal style. 


This stylish Personalised Leather Bracelet with this dual cord of black woven leather will certainly make a statement. It has been designed to be a good length and style for a man, and the leather part is made from specially treated hard-wearing woven leather. It has a distinctive clasp as an extra stylish touch. It also features a personalised touch where you can add initials or a message from a loved one. 

5. CUFFLINKS

Cufflinks come in many styles, of gold, silver, gunmetal, and brass, with all variety of precious stones and other embellishments. These modern and stylish rose gold cufflinks make the perfect accessory. Not only are they functional, but cufflinks are also wonderfully ornamental and are often used to dress up shirts or add a unique touch to an outfit. From HARVEY MAKIN® featuring a classic rectangular shape with a diagonal etched design. Complete with signature gold foil embossed presentation gift box. These cufflinks are sure to make that important man in your life feel really special. Whether it’s a smart pair for the office, or something sentimental for a special event like a wedding.

6. RINGS

Not all men are confident enough to wear rings. The opinion of too many men is that the only ring a man should wear is a wedding band. Luckily things have changed lately and men have started to realise the potential of rings as fashion accessories. Simple bands are usually best. Do not be afraid to try different materials. 

7. A SLEEK WALLET

Form and function are equally important when looking for a wallet. Even though cash isn't always something that many of us have readily available choosing to use apps or credit cards for purchases. A sleek wallet is a must have accessory. However, trying to find a wallet that fits your personal style and hold everything you need may be a little challenging. 


A traditional style fused into a modern slim design along with a variety of smart design features can make any wallet hugely versatile. Wallets come in a wide variety of colours, designs, and styles, but a wallet in a plain colour is good for casual and formal events. A cheesy wallet won’t reflect as well on your personality. 

Every man needs to own some accessories regardless of their age, occupation or style. Never be afraid to experiment with different accessories until you get comfortable with the right pieces that work for you. Hopefully with these 7 fool proof accessories you won't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try different styles that suit your personality.

What accessories would you add to our foolproof list?

**We have been kindly gifted some of these products in the list but as always my words and opinions are my own. Images are subject to copyright, please seek permission before using.**

The Sweetly Inspiring Stories of the Love Monster

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As much as we try to plan ahead, life can throw curveballs that leave us overwhelmed which can be hard to control or understand. It becomes easy to feel anxious and freak out. A few months ago, none of us would have imagined a world where hugging a close friend or family member would feel like a luxury from a past life, yet here we are.


Life has changed in ways that no one thought was possible and even now as things begin to ease many of us are still feeling anxious and worried. So trying to manage those emotions can be pretty tough for an adult let alone a child. It is so important to be supportive when speaking to our children, and reassure that their thoughts and feelings are okay. 

My daughter had a particular tough time with all the sudden changes, not seeing the people she loved or even going out in the car. As parents our priority was to make her feel at ease so we would always  make sure that we were as open and honest as we could be. Eventually she spoke about her feelings and said that she felt sad and trapped because the pandemic is stopping her from doing everything she loved. 


And even though it might seem impossible when they have setbacks, being mindful, supportive and finding ways to show them that it happens to many of us can change the way they deal with those emotions. We have been learning all about the sweetly inspiring stories of the Love Monster who is a slightly hairy monster trying really hard to fit it. But it turns out, it can be hard to fit in when you're a googly-eyed monster. 

But the Love Monster surrounds himself with a group of friends who help him follow his heart and encourage him to try not overthink all the different life lesson they learn on their big adventures. The Love Monster is a delightful character who provides a great role model when it comes to learning about emotional and social development. We love these inspiring stories as they are a really great way to encourage young readers to take a positive approach when life is not going their way. 

The Love Monster Books

The Love Monster books have been written by Rachel Bright and are full of bright and colourful illustrations which are great for children. The are very realistic, and you can see that attention to detail was really important for the illustrator. As well as the bright pictures my daughter really liked the style of writing and the size of the font - these books are perfect for little one who are beginning to recognise letters and words. The Love Monster and the Perfect Present was our favourite book. Everyone in Cutesville was excited for the most special day of the year: Present Day. Love Monster goes on a hunt for the perfect gift for his special someone, but as it turns out, finding the perfect gift is not easy. And the only thing worse than a not-perfect present is no present at all. But Love Monster soon comes up with the idea for the best gift ever. 


The wonderfully warm and witty best-selling books by Rachel Bright are a great way to introduce emotions to your child. By teaching them the importance of kindness, empathy, compassion and teach them ways to deal with feeling a certain way. With each day brings a new adventure and the Love Monster is always very excited to join in, but often finds that by trying too hard to follow with his overthinking head rather than his heart. Something that many children can empathise with. 

The Love Monster Follows His Big Heart onto Cbeebies!

I sat with my daughter and watched a few Love Monster adventures. My daughter really loved watching the Hot Hot Day episode where the Love Monster volunteers to help Book Cub with her fro-yo van while she popped out to get more cups. But after Bad Idea Puppy encourages him to give out extra fro-yo, he gets carried away and accidentally breaks the fro-yo machine, causing a big mess. When Book Cub returns, she is upset, but Love Monster apologises and together they clean everything up. Throughout the episode my daughter made consistent references to the Love Monster and his feelings about whether he should do what he is told not to do - a great episode for a discussion on that life lesson.


We also watched Plant a Seed Day where the Love Monster needed a little patience for the seeds he planted to grow. In this episode the Love Monster begins to get worried as he sees his friends plant growing, but he has to learn that some things take time. This episode is a great talking point for children in understanding the importance of patience. The Love Monster is available every weekday on Cbeebies or you catch up on the BBC iplayer here.

Love Monster Activities

However the fun didn't stop there. We were kindly set over some fun Love Monster activities to do together. The first we did was similar to one of the episodes that we watched together and needing a little patience with planting some seeds. My daughter really enjoyed decorating the pit, soaking the cotton wall and planting the cress seeds. We have been planting a few seeds during the pandemic but it was really interesting to let her take the lead and remember all the things that we needed to do when planting them.



Afterwards we both sat at the dining room table and did some of the puzzles and coloured in some pretty pictures of the Love Monster and his friends. We then finished our day by making some fro-yo pops which are perfect for a healthy snack on a hot day. They were really simple and easy to make and we added some blueberries to ours - we kind of have a thing about blueberries in our house, in that we try and put them in everything. 



We all loved learning all about the Love Monster who is kind and so caring, but it is quite refreshing to see characters like this develop and grow as they learn life lessons. Just like children. The Love Monster is going to be a great learning resource to help children talk about their emotion, understand that feeling certain ways is okay and figure out ways to deal with those emotions.

For a chance to win a set of two Love Monster Books why don't you head over to our Instagram page to enter our latest giveaway. All you need to do is click the link and follow the instructions. Good Luck. 


**We have been kindly gifted these products but as always my words and opinions are my own. Images are subject to copyright, please seek permission before using.**

Our Family Holiday 2020: North Yorkshire, Darley

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With many of us resigned to the fact that we won't be able to head abroad this summer due to the pandemic causing travel havoc, most of us are booking staycations. 


The UK is surrounded by many beautiful, historic and fascinating places that we all should be choosing to go on staycations. One of our favourite places to book a staycation is in the Yorkshire Dales. The panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, beautiful waterfalls, heritage and sheep - what more could you want.


We booked a cottage in the village of Darley in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire. It is not an area we have been to before but it was so good to disconnect, walk in the hills, dip our feet in fresh cold water and just take a breath. We all couldn't wait to get away so we packed the car and got on the road straightaway. Despite the bumper to bumper traffic we arrived at the cottage in good time to get all settled and organise our week ahead. 



The self-catered cottage included a family room, a double room and a single room which is ideal for a family of six.  My daughter was really happy with her single room because it had a dressing table with a huge mirror, my parents enjoyed their en-suite family room with a double bed and single bed. However we pulled the short straw and got the double room that could barely squeeze in a double bed. The downstairs was more than ample for us with a good size kitchen and dining room, a washing machine, a dishwasher and the cottage was surrounded by beautiful gardens that both our daughter and puppy loved.



Exploring Yorkshire

Mother Shipton's was the first place on our list to explore. However due to the social distancing measures all admissions needed to be booked online in advance. The time slot sessions were for pre-booked car admissions only that allowed us 2.5 hours to explore the attraction.



Mother Shipton’s is beloved landmark in Knaresborough and one of the oldest tourist attractions in England, opening back in 1630! With a picturesque mile-long walk along the River Nidd you will make so many discoveries and learn so much about Mother Shipton. It was a great day out for all the family and Winston loved the walk and all the attention from other visitors. An intriguing and quirky place that children will love. 


We then headed to Pateley Bridge a place full of tranquil charms that is nestled in the heart of Nidderdale. With friendly residents, cafes, bakeries and the cutest little shops you will feel so welcomed. If you do ever find yourself in this adorable village then you must go and visit Kendall's Butchers that was full of fresh meat, cooked ham and delicious pies. Every visit they would send us away with cooked meat for the puppy which was so kind. 


Just across the road is The Oldest Sweet Shop in England which is a truly magical and memorable experience. With row upon row of glass jars filled with handmade traditional sweets weighed out by the quarter of a pound into old fashioned scales. Smell the aroma of sweets as you marvel at the old building dating back to the 1600's with its original features, fixtures and fittings.

Rock climbing at Brimham Rocks

As we were in Nidderdale we knew that there Brimham Rocks was one place that we really wanted to visit. We had seen some amazing photos online and knew that our little rock climber would love to adventure to a place like this. There is no entrance fee but you do pay for parking. As you would expect from the National Trust they were very clean and tidy, apart from some dog poo near the entrance that my daughter just HAD to step in. 



We decided to go on a little mystery tour that led us to find Harmby Waterfall tucked away next to a bungalow surrounded by beautiful gardens and rose bushes. The path quickly descends into the woods of Harmby Gill before crossing the stream a wooden gate gives closer access to the waterfall. It was a great find. 



We were half way through the week and we were all feeling refreshed. But it was time for more adventures. The Druid's Temple located near Leighton Reservoir with the surrounding moorland and landscape was perfect for our next adventure. Within the woodland there are a number of other standing stones, and the site is of particular appeal to walkers, families and bird watchers. We discovered this place a couple of years ago by chance and ever since there it has become a favourite place to stop for a cup of tea and slice of cake. 





A picturesque riverside village 

With such beautiful weather that we decided pack a picnic and to go the Strid at Bolton Abbey. But that was booking online too. We thought as it was a woodland walk we wouldn't need to but they were charging £10 for two hours that were not transferrable between the Bolton Estate car parks! I refused to pay that! Last year was £6 and could be transfer them between the car parks. 


We then decided to go further afield and came across a cute little village of Burnsall situated on the banks of the River Wharfe. This picturesque riverside village in Lower Wharfedale downstream of Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. Situated by an ancient packhorse bridge crossing a bend in the meandering River Wharfe, the village makes an excellent location for exploring the unspoiled countryside. Perfect place to eat ice cream! We ended our day at The Hoffman Lime Kiln a wonderful place to discover the industrial heritage along the self guided tour. We made a cup of tea in their car park before setting off on the walk, but afterwards I managed to get behind the wheel in my parents huge car to practise parking.



The weather is always unpredictable and changed to bright and sunny to doom and gloomy. But that never stops us and fwe came across Hackfall Wood a beautiful landscape open to all near Masham, with lakes, waterfalls, follies and paths to explore stretching along the banks of the River Ure. There is something about the wild splendour of Hackfall Woods that simply inspires creativity. It really made us feel like an explorer discovering a lost civilisation. My daughter said she felt like Dora the Explorer.



It was our last day and there was gorgeous sunshine. One last trip to Pateley Bridge then to Heben Suspension Bridge over River Wharfe. A very nice and peaceful walk along the side of the river. The view around the bridge are simply breath taking, with plenty of wildlife and trees surrounding making it the perfect place to picnic. After an hour or so splashing around it was time to make a move.


Our last stop high on Ilkley Moor was the Cow and Calf Rocks which are a large rock formation consisting of an outcrop and boulders. The rocks are made of millstone grit, a variety of sandstone, and are so named because one is large, with the smaller one sitting close to it, like a cow and calf. According to local legend, the Calf was split from the Cow when the giant Rombald was fleeing an enemy, and stamped on the rock as he leapt across the valley. The enemy, it is rumoured, was his angry wife. But who knows? It is a pretty exciting story to tell the little lady who couldn't wait to go rock climbing with her Daddy. 


So there you have it! All the details to our little staycation in North Yorkshire. It was so good to disconnect from the world take some time for ourselves, relax and not worry about everything around us. We have created some of the best memories that we will cherish forever. 

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