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5 Valentine’s Day gifts for under £20

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to share some gift inspiration on the kind of items you could buy for your loved one…and for under £20 (what’s not to like?!)


You don’t have to spend stupid amounts of money to show your partner you love them, sometimes a simple gift can mean so much more than a bunch of flowers that have cost the earth and not to mention they perhaps don’t last very long.


I have found 5 gifts that will help sweep your better half off their feet…or let’s hope so!


Personalised ‘Head Chef’ His and Hers Aprons

The Card Factory are selling some ‘Head Chef’ his and hers aprons for £19.99 here – and what’s more they can be personalised with your names. One is pink and one is black. So if your both into cooking this could be a lovely gift for the both of you to celebrate your love not only for each other but also for cooking.


Personalised ‘Your Song’ Poster

Do you and your Valentine have a special song? Or when the song plays does it remind you of something? Prezzybox are selling this personalised poster with a CD print, the name of the song and the recipients name. A quirky gift that will live on forever.


Gold Scratch Map

If you and your partner are avid travellers, a scratch map is a great way to scratch off destinations you’ve been too. It’s only £18.99 from IWOOT (currently 20% off!)…I might even get myself one of these.


Name a Star Gift Box

Another gift from IWOOT is the Name a Star Gift Box. Do you think your loved one would love to name their very own star in the sky? This kind of gift could suit any type of celebration really, but even better as a Valentine’s Day gift. It comes complete with a registration form to fill in and send by post or online and once you’ve named your star, completed the form and sent it off you will receive a certificate for your very own star in the universe and once it’s registered your named star will be published in the Star Registry. You’ll be able to find your named star whenever you like to reminisce or show off to your friends and family. How lovely! Find it here.


100 Movies Scratch Off Bucket List

This is a really cool find on Present Finder. It’s £12.99 and similar to the scratch map. There are 100 movies to watch for a film fanatic or couple. Once you watch a movie, simple scratch it off – it doesn’t get anymore satisfying than that! Personally I would love a gift like this, as it sets you a goal to watch the most iconic movies in history. It can be found here.


There are lots of unique gifts out there to treat your loved ones, and being unique doesn’t mean they have to be pricey. Your gifts can also be tailored for both of you to enjoy, to make it more personal and romantic. I hope these ideas help in some way when you buy your next Valentine’s Day gift.


Let me know what gifts you’ve received for Valentine’s Day before?

Disclaimer: I have not been gifted any of these gifts. The price of these gifts were correct at time of posting and are subject to change.

5 tips for a better work-life balance

Balancing work and life is something I’m still trying to figure out. There never seems to be enough time in the day, as the saying goes.

“I remember a time when I used to come home from work and get bored”

The weekdays are spent at work with the evenings in pretty much a solid routine of dinner, bath, quality time and bed and then the weekends are spent catching up with chores around the house, seeing family and friends or spending time together as a family and then not forgetting trying to fit in a hobby like blogging!


I know I could spend more time on myself, with my partner, with my son and with family and friends, but where do we find that balance? How do we balance it all?

“Working and being a mom is like having two jobs, because you work all day and then come home and work again”

I remember a time when I used to come home from work and get bored (I know?!) with not having much to do apart from having dinner, having a shower and doing a little clean. That all changes when you have a baby and it only gets worse as they get older. There is no such thing as getting bored as they keep you occupied from the moment they’re awake to the moment they go to sleep.

I’ve never been a stay at home mom (only when I was on maternity leave) and you know what…it’s damn hard, so I have full respect for moms who look after their children 24/7. I actually believe going to work is (kind of) a break, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier.

Working and being a mom is like having two jobs, because you work all day and then come home and work again, and I don’t mean just looking after your child, it’s the extra washing, extra cleaning, having to feed and bath not just yourself, but another person within only a few hours. While I’ve sat here writing this blog, my son has tipped a bag of crisps everywhere and is now crushing them with his feet into the floor…when I’ve just cleaned. We all know it’s exhausting, which is why it’s so important to have a healthy work-life balance.

Below are some tips to help you balance work and life and to be honest I to need to take a leaf out of my own book and take some of the below tips on board.


Take time out for yourself

Spending time on your own or doing something you enjoy is so important. We all need time to ourself, regardless if you work or don’t work. Taking care of another human being who relies on you for literally everything can feel like your independence has been taken away. You don’t want to ‘lose’ yourself so make sure you take a bubble bath, get your hair and nails done, see a friend or just go for a drive. You can watch your favourite programme on TV anytime or catch up with Instagram later. Self care speaks for itself. Care for yourself.


Get yourself a diary

I love using a diary. Last year I used my calendar on my phone, but it didn’t feel quite as effective as using a physical diary that I can write in. A diary can be used anyway you like. I use mine for appointments, reminders, bills etc. But you could use it to actually write down your thoughts or how you’ve felt that day. Or even ‘book in’ your self-care time and book in time to see friends and family. That way you keep a better track of that balance and know when you last did something.


Get on top of your finances

Life is hard as it is. Know how much you’ve got coming in and how much you’ve got going out so you can spend the rest of the month planning meals out, birthdays, that trip to the hairdressers or that holiday you want to save for. It seems like one of those things you don’t really need to do for a work-life balance, however it will help in the long run. If you know you have £100 extra cash to spend that month then you can work on planning to do something with it (if you like). Have a read of a previous blog I wrote about ways to save money here.


Set timers

This might seem a bit silly, and I’m not saying set a timer for the more important things like family time, but what I mean by this is if you need to give the house a clean of an evening set yourself a timer of, let’s say 30 minutes, this way you don’t burn yourself out or get fed up of it, after all it’s a daily job and let’s face it when you’ve been at work all day, you just can’t be arsed…or perhaps thats just me?!. Once that time is up. Stop. Or set a timer when you’re taking a bubble bath, like an hour so you can work on other things, but you’ve still managed to take some time out.


Try and focus on one thing at a time

There’s nothing worse than spinning too many plates, it’s stressful and it can make you forget things. Focussing on one thing at a time may seem impossible in some scenarios, like cooking the dinner while trying to entertain a 2 year old (or is that just me…again?!). But when you’re at work focus solely on that, I’m not saying turn your phone off from the outside world, but engage in conversation with your colleagues, do something above and beyond to make you feel good, and then when your at home focus on spending time doing the things you love if that’s blogging, playing with your children, decorating, cooking, the list goes on, but try to switch off to help you get that balance.


As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I’m still trying to figure out a more healthy work-life balance, but I do think this takes time, and with a toddler who can switch personalities within a second, sometimes you have to change up that balance to suit them. It’s not easy, but I hope some of these tips come in handy for someone.

Let me know what you do for a healthy work-life balance?

Mom guilt – why do we get it so bad?

Mom guilt is something I have on a daily basis and I’m sure other moms can relate. I describe mom guilt as a pain. A pain in my heart and a churning in my stomach that makes me feel like I’m failing as a mother or I’m not doing things the way they should be done or at least seen to be done.

“I constantly question myself as a mother”

I have mom guilt over the most stupidest things and the most obvious things, there is no cut off. It bothers me all day. This week, I felt bad when Blake was trying to show me something and I raised my voice and said no. Not because I didn’t want to get involved in the activity he was doing, but because I’m so used to saying no, it’s like a force of habit at times, but the guilt I felt in that split second was awful. Within 10 seconds he was fixated on something else, but the feeling stuck with me for a while after.

“We’re that one person who understands them the most”

I can’t help but feel that everything I say and do now will effect him when he’s older, which is why I think I’m so hard on myself. My doctor once told me that up until a child is 7 years old, it’s that crucial stage in their life where their personalities and behavior develop, which made me even more anxious to ‘get it right’.

My biggest guilt is the fact that Blake isn’t talking like he should be at his age and I can’t help but feel like this is partly my fault. I constantly question myself as a mother. Did I encourage him enough? Is it because I work too many hours? Do I spend enough time with him? Should I have had more 1:1 time with him? Should I have given him a dummy when he was younger? The questions are endless and they are never answered. Although this seems to be turning a corner lately, it absolutely breaks my heart that he is behind in this area because I see him get frustrated when he can’t tell me what he wants, I see him look blank when other children his age talk to him.

“Everything we do for our children, we want to do right”

Mom guilt hits me hard when I have to leave him at nursery in order for me to go to work, although he loves going now, at first he used to cry and chase after me and I could hear his cries as I walked through the corridor. That pain, as his mom is inexplicable and then I’m riddled with guilt all day.

So why do we get it so bad? My answer. I think it’s because we’re that one person who understands them the most. We carried them, felt them from the inside and brought them into the world. We spent the most time with them when they were born and they rely on us to make and do things right. We get mom guilt so bad because everything we do for our children, we want to do right. They’re our world as much as we are theirs.

“We try our best, and our best has to be good enough”

And do you know what? It doesn’t get any easier. For me, it gets harder. But we learn to be strong, swallow our guilt and carry on, because we have no choice. We try our best, and our best has to be good enough. Our babies remember if we were there or not, so make that time count. Feeling guilty over things while they grow is one thing, but feeling guilty because we we weren’t there is another.

Do you struggle with mom guilt, I’d love to know I’m not alone.

4 easy and cost effective ways to save money in 2020

In today’s world, I think it’s safe to say a lot of us struggle with saving for the future because of various reasons, but what if there were a few easy and cost effective ways we could save money for the future, without having to ‘lock’ money away in bonds or investments in order for our money to make a reasonable amount of interest.


Thankfully, there are some ways you could save money in 2020 without having to break the bank. I have tried and tested a few below, even in difficult financial times. You just need to stick to it and in time you will see the result. I really hope these examples below will help you save and by this time next year you’ll be splashing out on that holiday, paying off some debts you’ve had for a while or perhaps just keeping it for a rainy day.


The 365 days money saving challenge – save nearly £1,500 in a year!

When I was at University (and had just brought a really run down house), money was tight, even though I had a part-time job and my partner worked full-time, but we still couldn’t save, so I heard about a great way to save money on a tight budget.

The 365 days money saving challenge allows you to save bit by bit each day. I would start saving on a Sunday, putting £1 away then £2 on Monday, then £3 on Tuesday and so on until I reached £7 on Saturday, and then on Sunday I would start with £1 again. Doing this adds up to nearly £1,500 by the end of the year, which was enough for me to buy more clothes, get my Christmas presents or pay for a holiday.


The 1p a day challenge

This is another cost effective way to save bit by bit each day. Start off with 1p on the first day, 2p the next and so on until you reach the 365th day, which would be £3.65. Sticking to this would save you £667.95. You could buy a hell of a lot with over £600. To help you follow this challenge you could use this checklist by playpennies to help you keep track of your savings each day.


Use an AI (Artificial Intelligence) Assistant

Plum is a great way to save money a little bit at a time based on your spending habits and you don’t have to do anything. Plum is an AI Assistant that connects to your bank account and tracks your spending daily to learn about your income and spending. Every few days Plum sets aside a bit of money at a time, just enough depending on your spending habit’s, which adds up overtime, what’s more it’s free! More information about Plum can be found here.


Simply save £10 a week

If you saved £10 a week for a year you would have £520 by the end of the year, a nice tidy sum to help you out the following January perhaps when money is tight.


So there we have it, 4 easy ways you could start saving money in 2020, in a cost effective way (hopefully!). I hope this will help with your money saving aspirations if not now, perhaps in the future.

Let me know how you save money below, I’d love to know and I’m sure others would benefit from it too!

Christmas is over…what now?

The excitement has been and gone and today I took our tree down (please don’t hate…aha!). We spend months and months prepping for one day and then boom it’s gone.

As a mom I appreciate the magic Christmas brings, the smile it puts on my sons face and the feeling I have when I see him happy, but after all the prepping, buying, hosting, cooking and fighting over the last packet of sage and onion in Aldi it can sometimes actually take over your life for a few months. Do you agree?

So although I feel a sense of sadness taking the Christmas decorations down, I also have a sense of relief that it’s over for another year, which is why I think between Christmas and New Year I take everything down, now I’m not a grinch in the slightest, but I like the sense of being ready for the new year ahead without having to drag Christmas along with it that little longer.

We spend so much money and time thinking about what present Uncle Bob would like (even though we only see them twice a year) and spending too much time in the Card Factory picking out 100 cards for your friends and family and not forgetting your Nan’s cousins sister in-laws daughter and then stressing about everything that comes with wrapping a present – the paper, tag, ribbon, bow, bag and the stuff that sticks it together. Jeez no wonder we feel relief when it’s over.

Christmas is a wonderful time don’t get me wrong, but I’m ready to carry on life as it was 2-3 months ago. A bit of organisation, less stress and routine until next time!

What are your thoughts? Do you find Christmas stressful or do you love the hustle and bustle?

9 things we hate doing around the house

As I write this I guarantee within 30 seconds you’ll have at least one thing in your mind you hate doing around the house that gets right up your nose. It’s something that puts you in a bad mood or you put it off for absolute ages until you can’t take it anymore.

Before I had my own house it didn’t really matter to me what food I had in the house, if my clothes were scattered across the floor or even if my room was vacuumed enough. But having my own house and the responsibilities that came with it changed that mindset almost instantly. I was a little naive when it came to keeping everything clean, stocking up on the essentials each week and keeping everything maintained… let alone remembering and affording to pay bills.

“Our old neighbour used to trim our hedge, because he knew how much we hated it and let’s be honest how rubbish we was at it!”

Throw a toddler into the works and that once clean and maintained home is no longer the prime concern. Half the time we don’t even get time to do most of the jobs around the house, let alone enjoy doing them.

“I love a roast dinner, but I don’t love the huge amount of work it requires.”

So here are the 9 things we hate doing around the house, can you relate?

Cleaning the dreaded loo

Definitely number one on my list, if I can get out of it, I will. With three toilets to keep clean it’s a job I just wished cleaned itself. Even the thought of it turns my stomach…not including the time it takes!

Ironing

What a burden. No thank you! can’t be arsed, life’s to short, and I won’t buy clothes that look like they will require ironing. I know – excuses, excuses, but I’ve used them all to get out of this vile task.

Duvet cover

This is my worst nightmare so I call it a ‘Bob job’. I don’t think I have ever done it. It is one of those jobs that I just find distorting and claustrophobic. I used to think about getting stuck in there and not finding my way out – this has obviously scarred me for life 🤷🏻‍♀️

Cleaning the oven

Another ‘Bob job’ that I have never done 🤣 I just don’t get it. How does it get so dirty when everything is cooked in pots or covered up. It feels like one of those jobs that just creep back up on you when you least expect it.

Mowing the lawn

I don’t have grass in my back garden as we have fake grass (posh ay). In our old house the arguments we used to have about who’s turn it is to cut the lawn was unreal. We were that bad with the gardening our old neighbour used to trim our hedge because he knew how much we hated it and let’s be honest how rubbish we was at it 🤣 now we just look bonkers vacuuming our posh ‘grass’.

Putting freshly washed clothes away

This is one of them jobs where you just really don’t see the point. Other than it looks tidy and it has its place. There are three of us who live in this house (OK four with the dog) and you’d think there was 10 – I just don’t understand where all the washing comes from and why it just keeps coming back!

Picking up dog poop 💩

Having a dog is like having another toddler and Boe poops more than any other dog I know…sometimes up to 5 times a day. But I have to admit that this is another ‘Bob job’.

Washing up

Some find this quite therapeutic, but for me I find it boring and not to mention gut-churning. Soggy food and dish water just make me vom 🤢 thank goodness the dishwasher was invented.

Making a roast

I love a roast dinner, but I don’t love the huge amount of work it requires. You end up using every piece of kitchen equipment you own from saucepans to measuring jugs to colanders and cutlery and then we’re back to square one with the cleaning 😫

So there we have it, 9 things in the house I think some of you would be able to relate to. I’m not lazy (honest!) I just don’t think we’re made for the chores that succumb us and sometimes it’s ok to leave that extra pile of washing for a few more days or leave the oven for another week. There are more important things we could be doing after all!

Let me know what you hate doing in the house!