7 reasons to love Autumn

Autumn.  I love everything about it.

(Or Fall to our American friends!)

From early Autumn when I can still wear my flip flops (because I hate sweaty feet!) to the throws (no pun intended) of Autumn when I like socks and boots or cosy slippers.

From early Autumn when I can still sit in the garden with said flip flops on, writing my goals, sipping on a herbal, dog at my feet, 8yo pottering in an out.  To the throws of Autumn when I’ve got the layers on and I’m sitting outside on a weekend day or early evening enjoying a cup of redbush.

From early Autumn when the temperature in the air changes after a balmy summer, when you can feel the air changing and you feel the slightly damp and cold after stepping outside for the first time in a morning.  To the throws of Autumn when there’s a definite crispness to the air, a cool feel as you pull your jacket collar up closer around your neck to keep the chill out.

7 Reasons to Love Autumn

From early Autumn when I slip a thin jacket on over my top to go outside, to keep the slight chill out.  To the throws of Autumn when the jacket gets thicker and I keep my gloves in my pockets, just in case, because I can’t stand cold hands.

From early Autumn when I begin to sort through my summer clothes and dig out the thicker clothes in a bid to declutter.  To the throws of Autumn when the thick coats have firmly taken their place on the coat pegs that were barely used in the Summer.

From early Autumn when I determinedly still hang my washing out on a semi-dry day just to get some air to it.  To the throws of Autumn when a load of washing goes straight in the tumble drier because we’ve really no room for a clothes horse and anyway, drying clothes inside is bad for your health and the house.

From early Autumn when I love to see the sparkle of fairy lights in our hygged-up living room and I can see them slightly earlier as the nights begin to draw in.  To the throws of Autumn when the clocks go back, the blinds get pulled, the sparkly fairy lights go on and a little bit of indulgence in the form of hibernation begins.  🙂

What do you love about Autumn?  Tell me in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .  I’d love to know!

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Essential accessories to hygge your home for Autumn

Essential Accessories to Hygge your Home for Autumn

We’ve recently given our living space a lick of paint and a freshen up.  Hubby seems to have an eye for interior design and presented me with this scene which I loved.

Essential Accessories to Hygge your Home for Autumn

On a night-time, it really does feel cosy (so you kind of have to use your imagination for this daylight shot!).  I thought I’d share what we’ve got in our hygged-up home.  (these are not the exact items but very similar.  I couldn’t find the exact ones we’ve got online)

 

I love how these fairy lights are battery powered because our house is short on sockets.  And the sockets we do have are all used up!  So to find these battery powered lights was amazeballs…  I love fairy lights, hubby loves them (and not just because I do) and our 8yo love them too.  They even seem to chill the dog out.  What’s not to love?

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So this house plant might not be exactly like ours but it’ll give the same effect.  Live plants are best of course, because of the oxygen they release.  I’ve read that spikey plants are not good for feng shui so I’ve had a word with hubby and he knows for next time!

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No home of ours would be complete without candles and pretty candle holders and lanterns.  Love love love them and as long as they’re high enough for the dog/cat, they’re an essential addition, creating a chilled out, relaxed mood.  Bliss!

 

Put all this together and what have you got?  A hygged-up home! 

Our home 🙂

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Do you like our accessories?  Have you hygged-up your home?  Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @AllSortsHere  

I’d love to hear from you!  Thanks.

This post contains affiliate links which means I get a little something if you buy something from this post, at no extra cost to you 🙂 

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5 tips to nail the school run

5 Tips to Nail the School Run

Ah the school run…

So we’re back into ‘school’ mode now (or at least we are in the UK).  And how are you coping? 

Love it or hate it, it’s a necessity with young children.  And whether it’s going well or not, there will inevitably be a time when it all comes apart at the seams.  So here are my top 5 tips for a smoother school run!  I say ‘smoother’ because no school run is perfect… unless you know the secret, the holy grail.  In which case, do share!  For now, here are those tips:

5 Tips to Nail the School Run

The List

Write out a list and order each step the night before each school day.  Or keep the same one if your routine never changes.  In that list have things like: take bread out of freezer for sandwiches (It’s very hard to fold/cut frozen bread neatly – I’ve tried!); Trust me, if you’ve got your bread out of the freezer for packed lunches, your pre-breakfast routine will go so much better!

Freshen up

Try to have a shower before everyone gets up (or at least the kids).  It’ll make you feel ahead of the game and therefore make you feel more organised!  And if you feel it, you’re half way there…

Make a note

Note down extras to be taken the next day (violin, P.E kit, reading book, reading record, and the list goes on!) and put the list somewhere obvious like the front of the fridge.  Definitely nowhere that curious toddlers or cheeky dogs can get it!  For older children, ask them to write the list. Even better, ask them to refer to it the next day so they get used to the responsibility.  Although I totally get that it’s sometimes just easier and quicker to do it yourself…   Of course, you could be ultra organised and get everything ready the night before so that you don’t need a list.

Breakfast at night time

Get the breakfast things ready the night before.  Whether that means physically laying the table or simply putting the cereal boxes on the kitchen side with bowls and spoons.  It all helps!

The rogue sock

Lay uniform out the night before.  Okay so they know what they’re wearing but you leave in 10 minutes, there’s a sock missing and the one in the linen basket has been nestled up to a wet towel all night.  For the sake of everyone’s sanity (mainly your own), laying uniform out the night before is a sure fire way of checking that all uniform is present and correct!

If it all goes to chaos, just remember to breathe and remind yourself you’re not the only one and you’re only human…

 

Have you got any tips to add?  Or even funnies about the school run that wasn’t fun?!  (see what I did there?…) I’d love to know. Tell me by commenting below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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Read a Book Day ~ are YOU well read?

Read A Book Day Are You Well Read Reading Challenge

I love the idea of Read a Book Day! 

There’s the obvious excuse of getting stuck into another world, with your nose inside a book.  There’s also the perfect chance to look back on my reading goals and how I got back into reading.

I also love that this Day has prompted me to look back before my reading challenge has finished for the year because I’m not one to wait until new year to start new things and set new goals.  Why wait?  I also love that the picture in this blog posts is of a dog reading a book – suggesting that anyone can get involved and read.  So come on people, read, read, read…!  I set myself a reading challenge of 12 books this year and I’m very pleased that I’m ahead of target.

Read A Book Day Are You Well Read Reading Challenge

Having looked at my ‘read’ shelf on GoodReads I saw 3 books that had particularly given me that pick-up-a-book-and-can’t-put-it-down feeling!

 

You know that feeling, I’m sure.

 

There’s also the feeling of being lost and not knowing what to read next because nothing seem sappealing after such a good read.  Well the 3 that gave me both of these feelngs were:

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

 

Pop them on your To Be Read pile!

I’m not going to review them simply because I’m not very good at reviewing books.  I think I’m too subjective and would much rather discuss them in a facebook group like Bookish Mamas.  Talking of which, I must thank Lucy, Jess and Naomi for establishing this great group.  They’ve encouraged me to actually read again.

 

I had intended to gather all of the group reads, take a picture and publish it on instagram and on here but I only ended buying my own copies of a few before turning to my library.  I love a visit to the library don’t you?

 

As for next year?  I’m going to stick with 12 books as my goal becuase it’s clearly working and puts me under less pressure.  Now I’m off to find my cosy throw, pop the fairy lights, chillax and get all hygge 🙂

But first, tell me what’s your best read of the year so far?  Or what’s on your TBR pile?  I’d love to know.  Tell me by commenting below or tweet me @AllSortsHere 

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5 reasons to relish a routine

5 Reasons to Relish Routine

5 reasons to relish a routine

Routines.  We all need them and while it’s great to take a break and have a holiday, there’s no doubt that I’m more productive in all different areas of my life with a routine.  Because…

 

As much as they’re the bane of my life, pack-ups mean that I have to be organised with food shops again.  No more popping by the shop for something that we fancy, something that we hadn’t planned for.  No, with a packed lunch and food plan for the week, the food shopping incorporates all things lunch box.

 

It’s the same with the dog and exercise.  During holidays, we get up, let her out into the garden to do her business and there she stays (in good weather) while we chill out, kick back and eventually get our bums into gear to get dressed and take her for a walk.  In fact, it’s clear to see that our dog needs routine too because she has no clue what’s coming next.  She becomes unsettled.  While we all get exercise from daily dog walks, it’s not as structured which means that meal-times are also out of synch, blog work is out of synch.  You get the idea.

5 Reasons to Relish Routine

A big area that gets neglected when I’m on holiday is my gratitude journal.  Any other time, I write every night and if I don’t or it gets delayed, something just doesn’t feel right.  No biggie you might think but my journal is important to me for reasons that I outline in this post.  Not writing the simplest things in there that I’m grateful for means that I don’t reflect on them.  Which defeats the object.  Important person things get put on the back-burner when I’m out of routine.

 

Jobs around the house…  it’s bittersweet this one because while it’s wonderful utter bliss not to be like a well-oiled machine going from the washing to meal prep to homework in the blink of an eye, small jobs get left for ‘later’ or ‘another day’ and clutter starts to gather…

 

… which is not good for my mental health.  Clutter and jobs gradually pile up (literally up) and creep up on me until they simply can’t be left any longer.  It’s clear to see why routine is better for my mental health.  An organised day with routine = an organised and healthier mind.

 

In the main I love to get back to routine.  It’s painful at first but my brain feels better for it!

 

How about you?  Do you relish routine or hanker for holidays?  I’d love to know!  Tell me in the comments or tweet me @AllSortsHere .  Thanks.

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Best blogs to read in #AllSortsofBlogs 75

Welcome to AllSortsofBlogs

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


This is where I share #AllSortsofBlogs in my pick of the best blogs to read from recent weeks (or months!).

Firstly thank you so much for ALL 39 of your links!  Again, feel free to add any or all of your favourite posts to the linky.  I’ll share all posts across my various social media ~ twitter, pinterest, g+.

The door’s always open with a new linky starting on the last Friday of the month…


And if you’d like to add my badge, it’s at the bottom of this post.  Thanks.

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Now on to my best reads of recent months (as ever, it’s a varied and interesting list and some really are from the archives of my bookmarked reads!):

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Why a change is as good as a rest for your eyes

Why a change is as good as a rest for your Eyes Vision Direct Contact Lenses Glasses pin WIDTH=

Why a change is as good as a rest for your eyes

 

I’ve worn glasses for a number of years and when I went through a phase of swimming a lot, I decided it was time for a change.

Why a change is as good as a rest for your Eyes Vision Direct Contact Lenses Glasses pin

 

While wearing glasses for swimming is possible, it’s not really practical.  There’s also that thing of not being able to see, meaning you can’t hear properly (does anyone else find that?!).  I found this disorientating with the acoustics and echoes of being in the pool.

 

Back then I tried contact lenses but found them to be uncomfortable, so I soon reverted back to glasses full-time.  I say ‘full-time’ because I do wear them all the time once I’ve put them on for the day.  I can get away with not wearing them all day but as soon as I drive (by 8 am weekdays), I feel much more comfortable (and safe!) with my glasses!

A change is as good as a rest

The opportunity arose to review some contact lenses and I fancied giving them a go again.  Let’s face it, we never get a new pair of eyes and we don’t get to rest them much (well I don’t anyway!) so a change is as good as…  And as it happened, my eye test was due too so it all seemed like the right time.  Aside from the unpleasant puff of air into your eye, I’m a person who actually enjoys having my eyes tested.  Perhaps it’s knowing that it’s a bit of an MOT for me and therefore reassurance.  Opticians can tell so much about your general health by examining your eyes and with a history of glaucoma in my family, it’s double important to show up for regular checks.

Why a change is as good as a rest for your Eyes Vision Direct Contact Lenses Glasses

 

So when they told me that my presciption had changed and my eye sight had improved, I was surprised!  I use a screen far too much: I use the internet for blogging and down-time.  So you can see that I use a screen a lot!  I was really pleased to be told that my eyes were still suitable for contacts and excited to try out contact lenses.

 

What about the lenses?

The contact lenses arrived packaged well and it fit easily through my letterbox.  They were in clever little strips of 7 sections per strip.  Handy because you can easily separate each section which contains a single lens.  If you need to, you can pop a packaged lens in your bag, perhaps for travelling, overnight stays or in case you want to wear them later in the day.

 

A top tip from me is to label your lenses according to your left and right eye.  My prescription is easy.  Because of my astigmatism in my right eye, the label actually says ‘astgimatism’ on the correct lens package but otherwise, I’d definitely label them L and R.

 

As I peeled back the top, it came away easily and I expected a little of the solution to spill over the sides but it was all contained, which is really helpful.  Why?  Because it’s best to have dry (and clean!) hands to put your contacts in.  This is because of lifting your upper and lower lids.  From experience, if your hands are slippery, it’s very hard to do this!

Why a change is as good as a rest for your Eyes Vision Direct Contact Lenses Glasses 2

 

The lenses are very easy to get out of the solution once you’ve got it ‘hooked’ on the fingertip of your index finger.  A swift separation of my upper and lower lid, a quick fix of the lens on the surface of my eye and a few blinks, the lens was correctly ‘seated’ on my eye.  It only took a minute or 2 for my eye to adjust to the feeling of the lens to give me crisp vision.  So along with all day comfort, they don’t dehydrate your eyes but keep them hydrated and comfortable instead.

 

After a couple of hours of wearing them for the first time, it was time to take them out.  I didn’t feel like I needed to but took them out anyway.  It was quite tricky ‘sliding’ the lenses off and out of my eyes but a couple of tries and they were out!  So it was back to my glasses for the rest of the day.  Each time I used the lenses, the process of removing them got easier and slicker.  Each time, my eyes were getting more used to the lenses.  These lenses were so comfortable that a disadvantage is forgetting you’re wearing them!

 

As with any lenses, there’s a slight blue tinge to the outer edge of your iris which is the lens itself.  I don’t think you can really notice this though.  What I love about these contact lenses from Vision Direct is that you can order them on next day delivery so if you suddenly find you’re running out (or have run out!), you don’t have to compromise back to glasses for long!  What’s more, you can order the amount you need, when you need them.  No having to remember to collect them, no parking to pay (though a cheeky cafe stop is always good!)  Straight through your letterbox for your ease and convenience.  Job done!  Thanks Vision Direct!

 

How about you?  Have you ever tried them?  Do you wear contacts?  What did you think?  I’d love to know. 

Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .  Thanks!

Written in collaboration with Vision Direct.

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5 ways the Summer makes you more productive

5 ways the Summer makes you More Productive

5 ways the Summer makes you more productive

 

So it’s the Summer.  School’s out for how many weeks?!  You’ve got all the usual daily stuff to do (except the school run, hurray!)  and children to entertain or at the very least keep alive and stop from getting bored.  It sounds like a mess but here are 5 ways that Summer makes you more productive.  Yes, really!

5 ways the Summer makes you More Productive

Firstly the days are longer which means there’s more light

Sarah from Digital Motherhood says “The sun motivates me! I find it much easier to get up earlier when the mornings are lovely and bright, and if it’s sunny I’m much happier and less lethargic and lazy. Sometimes I think I’m solar powered”

And more light generally makes us more awake and that means more energy

(at least for a little while. Maybe.)

Victoria at Lylia Rose says “Early light mornings mean I’m super productive in the morning, before the kids get up and thanks to the light. I’d definitely struggle getting up at 6am or earlier in the winter, but in the summer it’s not so hard. I find I’m at my most motivated first thing and get a lot more done than in the day time or evening.

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Another advantage of more daylight, says Lyndsey from Me him the dog and a baby is “There is more daylight later in the evening so I actually feel like working until later in the day.

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Juggling means that I’m much more focussed with my blog and everything really. 

When I sit at my desk, I zone in, get stuff done and then I can zone out again for a little while.

“Being a mummy of 5, a childminder and a blogger I know my time is more limited during the summer holidays.” says Claire from thismummyrocks.  “I seem to plan out my time more efficiently so I get more free time to spend with my family or self care. Plus the days are longer so I can fit in an extra hour here and there.

 

In between the focussed moments, I spend time outside

Time with our 8yo playing games, reading a book and just zoning out.  I find this brilliant for getting the creative juices flowing and brainstorming.

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Jen from Just Average Jen says “I have more of a day to day plan without having to fit in the school run. Mummy friends aren’t as free for coffee so I have more time at home too!”

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Jen from MyMummyesPennies says she feels more motivated “during the summer holidays I get to spend more time with my children so what I’m working so hard for is really tangible.

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And Becky from A Beautiful Space says “Sunshine makes me happy and feels more energised and this is why I am more productive in the summer ( plus I’m not constantly driving kids to activities!)

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The long Summer break makes me reflective and I find myself reassessing my goals which, you guessed it!  Makes me more productive!

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What makes you more productive in the Summer?  I’d love to know.  Please comment or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.

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Best Blogs to Read in #AllSortsofBlogs 74

Welcome to AllSortsofBlogs

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


This is where I share #AllSortsofBlogs in my pick of the best blogs to read from recent weeks (or months!).  Feel free to add any or all of your favourite posts to the linky.  I’ll share all posts across my various social media ~ twitter, pinterest, stumbleupon, g+.

The door’s always open with a new linky starting on the last Friday of the month…


And if you’d like to add my badge, it’s at the bottom of this post.  Thanks.

~

Now on to my best reads of recent months (as ever, it’s a varied and interesting list and some really are from the archives of my bookmarked reads!):

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5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays

 5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays parenting school holidays boredom buster activities

5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays

So the school holidays are fast approaching and you’re asking yourself how to keep the kids’ brains active and keep them learning over the hols.

Here are 5 tried and tested ways to do just that:

Let them get bored!

Yes, ditch the structure and don’t plan anything.  Let them get bored occasionally and I’ll bet that their imaginations will start doing the work to keep their brains active the scenes!  While we certainly son’t be banning electronics, turning them off and letting our 8yo ‘be’ will be quite a regular occurrence this Summer.

 

That said, boredom busters definitely have their place…

We all know those days when bedtime can’t come fast enough (ours not necessarily theirs!).  So keep a few easy ideas up your sleeve for the “I’m boooored” moments.  Check the local activities for the summer.  Many school children receive a kind of activites directory and many of the sessions are drop-ins.  Meaning happy kids and peace and quiet for you… for now.

 

Give them a challenge

From riding a bike to swimming, from reading to tying their shoe laces; being active doesn’t have to mean be physical activity all the time.  Maybe they could learn to do some of these challenges, giving them a sense of achievement, building confidence and keeping their brain switched on.

 

Get them up!

I’m all for lazy mornings in the hols (trust me!) but there are times that the sleeping until lunchtime habit needs to be broken for older children.  So give the older children jobs to do with the condition that they’re done in the morning, and maybe even pay them or give them a non-monetary incentive.  It’s a really good idea to do this in the last week or so before ‘back to school’ because it gets them used to the idea of getting up and getting going after a long break, and also gets them tired if they’re up ‘early’!

 

Have a tidy up

This works well for younger children.  A good tidy up reveals long-forgotten toys that refresh the imagination and gives you some breathing space in a less cluttered living space.  And what do you do with all those toys, you all get out of the 4 walls and take them to the charity shop!

5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays parenting school holidays boredom buster activities

 

I asked some other bloggers for their thoughts and here are some of their fantastic suggestions:

Jen from Just Average Jen says: My son has always loved to make his own newspaper or guidebook full of things he has found out or enjoyed. He then sells it to people like Grandma and gets extra money to spend!

 

I love this idea and will definitely be using it, from Victoria at Lylia Rose: My daughter loves the learning workbooks they sell in our local office supplies store. They are for each key state and they have spelling and maths books. She has a word search one at the moment which she finds fun, but it’s aimed at helping with spellings. They’re only a couple of pounds each and she thinks they’re something fun rather than ‘work’!

 

Rebecca from You Me Raising 3 suggests: Limit screen time as I find this can reduce their motivation to get outside and explore. My kids love experimenting and making things so anything science based is a hit! Ice eggs with dinosaurs in for them to dig out is one activity we will try. wipe clean books to practice letters and numbers are also great (preschool age), taking them out on walks to explore nature and recording what we find.

 

Finally, Kelly from School Run Shop says let them be: Let them explore – nature, their surroundings, new places. There’s no better learning than letting them just ‘be’.

What would you add?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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