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.

~

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 MyMummysPennies 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!)

~

 

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, 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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Meet the new kids on the veggie plot

Meet the new kids on the Veggie Plot Vegetarian Family Clean Living Diet Food

Meet the new kids on the veggie plot

 

Our 8 year old has asked about being a vegetarian a few times over the past few months (and beyond) and she’s decided she would like to try being a veggie.  Hubby and I have been toying with the idea of introducing a ‘cleaner’ diet into our house too so it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace it.

Meet the new kids on the Veggie Plot Vegetarian Family Clean Living Diet Food

But what constitutes veggie food these days?  And what do we do with it?  I asked some bloggers to point me in the right direction:

Chantele from Two Hearts One Roof has a little treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.   I love the sound of the lasagna with the layered veg and it got my mouth watering!

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Eva from Captain Bobcat suggests a yummy sounding pudding.  Mmmm I love avodaco and chocolate’s always a winner!

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Here’s a recipe that we’ll be trying out from Sophie at Life as Mrs D ~ peanut sauce.  Perfect with pasta!  Yum 🙂

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I love the look of this feta and spinach puff pastry dish from Gee Gardner.

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Ben at Wood Create thinks pizza is a great idea: We decided to go vegan 6 months ago and the kids have really taken to it. We love to make home made pizza with vegan cheese and veg. (Sweet corn, spinach, chopped tomato, red pepper and mushroom) we sometimes even add a little vegan pesto. It’s quick and easy and the kids can help out putting their own topping on! Just 15 minutes prep and 7 minutes in the oven. Tasty meal in under 1/2 hour.

Sounds good to me!

~

I’ll report back soon and let you know how we’re doing!  Until then, tell me about your veggie journey.  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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A new chapter in our reading journey

A

A new chapter in our reading journey

Just last week, we returned some books to the local library (mine and our 8yos).  I love visiting the library with her.  I always have.  It literally opens up a whole world of imagination.

On this visit though, she said she was running out of books to read.  She’s read all the Rainbow Magic books, all the Harry Potter books and various other series.  So, we asked the nice man behind the desk what level would be suitable for a fluent nearly 9 year old to read.  And we were shown the Teenage Junior (TJ) shelf while being told to leave the Teenage Advanced (TA) section for now.  I could almost feel our daughter’s disappointment as she looked at the 4 shelves of the TJ section.  Not many books there when you’re used to browsing through what seems like a whole world of imagination.  Still, we can order books in from other branches and I’m sure they’ll have some sort of reading challenge to keep her going through the summer.

A New Chapter in our Reading Journey

Magical memories as we enter a new phase

While she browsed, I sat on the little toddler seat next to the board books and had a little think to myself.  The days of reading out loud to her, the same books over and over and over again came to me.  The days of her sounding out her first school books, learning phonics and learning to blend the sounds.  Magical memories.

We still have a bedtime story and I’ve recently got the reading bug again and started reading actual books again – partly for my own relaxation but partly to encourage her to continue.  With all the distractions in our childrens’ lives, reading can easily be put on the back-burner.  So at bedtime, because she now reads chapter books with few (if any) pictures or drawings, we only read a couple of pages.  Her school has a 20 minutes a day reading challenge.  She easily manages this because she reads at breakfast too but we incorporate into her bedtime routine, which I love and so does she.  So after I’ve read 2 pages and kissed her goodnight (on her still oh-so-soft cheek) and showered her with a hundred kisses all over her beautiful face, I give her 20 minutes.  She often uses this time to read to her teddies and role play.  She clearly needs this little bit of time to process the day.  Long may it continue.

Times to cherish

Then we often have the panic of her losing her unicorn bookmark among her duvet and the handful mountain of teddies.  It’s the one she cut out from a template in a magazine.  There are 2 others but it has to be the unicorn one.  Eventually, all is still and I often pop up to our room for something and can hear her little voice being narrator.  It’s these times, after a busy day, that I cherish and I never want to end.  But I know they will.

Until they end, I’ll continue to indulge us both in a quick read and then let her enter her own world with her teddies, the characters from the book and feed her imagination as she slowly drifts off to her dreams for the night, wherever they may take her.

Has your child run out of reading material?  Do you use your local library?  I’d love to kmow!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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Best Blogs to Read in #AllSortsofBlogs 73

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, 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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Ideas to keep your kids reading over Summer

Ideas To Keep Kids Reading Over Summer Parenting Boredom Buster Activity

Ideas to keep your kids reading over Summer

When I was at school (all that time ago!), I remember when I went back after the long Summer holidays and it felt really odd to write again!  And this was waaay before we all had phones glued to ourselves and were texting all the time.  We generally had no need to write.  It’s the same with reading isn’t it?  It’s easy for our children to get out of the habit of reading over the summer break – no ‘carpet time’, no reading buddy to read to, no guided reading, no excitement of choosing a book from the library, no reading record to update…

oh wait!

We can do all of these things out of the school environment and maybe, just maybe make it even more fun than it is in school!  You should know that I’m passionate about literacy in our children and firmly believe in the building blocks it gives them in all areas of their learning.  But I’m always open to suggestions and I asked some fellow bloggers for their ideas on keeping kids reading over Summer.  Some of them I had already thought of (great minds think alike eh?):

Ideas To Keep Kids Reading Over Summer Parenting Boredom Buster Activity

Make your own books

Karen from The Mini Malpi says: How about making their own books?  My son has always enjoyed doing this and, now he’s started to learn to read and write, he could add his own words.

I’ve got fond memories of our now 8yo doing just that and I’ve still got them tucked away in ‘memory corner’!

 

Engagement is key

Claire from This Mummy Rocks suggests getting your child to choose their favourite book:  Use Pinterest to find engaging activities to link with the book or relating topics. Keep referring back to the book and re-read. Bring the book to life.

And let’s face it, there are so many ways to do this.  We just need a little extra inspiration by way of Pinterest as Claire says!

 

Make it personal

Emma at The Family Hub says that personalised books can be great for engaging little ones so much fun to be part of the story!

 

Make it fun!

Carla-Marie from Bump2Baby suggests making the book buying process fun: let them choose and have an hour no electrics – reading time only!!

 

Contact the author

This is one of my favourites and something I’d never have thought of.  Adam from You’ve Got All This To Come says: Get in touch with the authors on Twitter- ask a question or leave a comment, they’re usually willing to reply!

 

If all else fails…

And THIS from Jess at Tantrums to Smiles says: A reading den! Both my kids love a good den so sometimes I will set up a reading den in a shady bit of the garden. It can be as simple as a sheet over two chairs with a few books inside a jug of cool icy squash and a few biscuits. We have a lovely time reading together, enjoying a cold drink and getting out of the sun for a bit!

Our daughter has a little den in her bedroom which she chooses a book from for bedtime reading but i’m going to do this in the garden too.  Book, biscuits and bonding time.  Bliss!

It’s similar to Sarah’s idea from Digital Motherhood: Go to the library and let them pick as many books as they like. When you get home sit down with a drink and a snack and look at the books together.

Have you got any more ideas?  I’d love to hear!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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Review of Awebox

Review of Awebox a Customisable Subscription Box

Review of Awebox

What is Awebox?  It’s a fully customisable subscription box where you get to choose from 5 categories that interest you (or the person you’re buying for).  Which brings me nicely onto the ‘box’ options.  You can subscribe for monthly boxes, purchase one-off boxes or buy a gift card.

Review of Awebox a Customisable Subscription Box

The quirkiness of the contents added a little bit of extra character to my box.   But before we get onto that…

 

How about the packaging?

Due to the fact that this was gifted to me for review purposes, I’d actually forgotten about it.  So when I had to pick up a slightly-bigger-then-medium sized parcel, I had no clue what was inside.  On the outside of the inner layer was ‘Awebox’ proudly displayed, quite simply on the brown reinforced cardboard box.  On opening the box, I was greeted with a sea of pretty dark  blue shredded paper.  Even the quality of this added to the experience.  It reminded me alot of lucky dips which added to the fun.

And what was inside?

Immediately, I was drawn to the nail varnish by Essie even though it was the smallest product.  What a lovely, summery colour and hey, even lovely to brighten up darker days too!  I couldn’t wait to put some on.  Now I’m not a massive nail varnish wearer and go through phases of weeks without having a chance to, or remembering to put any on.  But this was a great reminder.  It went on really well and didn’t take long to dry.  Me and nail varnish don’t wear well.  By that I mean that it chips very easily and that annoys me about nail varnish in general.  I have to say that this one was no exception but I touched up the edges a couple of times and you couldn’t really tell.  There’s no reason for me not to buy this brand again.

 

There was also cat shampoo which I have to say, did make me giggle because traditionally, cats don’t like getting wet (or so I understand).  We didn’t even try the cat shampoo because giving our cat her flea treatment is a monthly trauma none of us relish!

 

What next?  Well the herbal tea for dogs intrigued me.  I love the idea of giving your dog a little something with some taste that keeps them hydrated but isn’t as bland as water.  Again, we didn’t actually use this because I didn’t want our dog not to like it and be put off normal water  and vice versa – to only want to drink herbal tea!  It may sound daft to some all of you lovely readers but this is an open and honest review after all!

 

The candles were next in the ‘lucky dip’.  I chose this category because I love, love, love candles and honestly, everything about them was lovely.  The packaging was just right – pretty, clever, about the right size vs the product size – and the smell.  Oh my goodness!  The rhubarb and raspberry was out of this world!  Highly recommended and possibly the best product from the box.  I loved that the 3 tea lights were made from recycled glass too.  Bee Fayre/Bee Garden who produce these deserve a round of applause.

 

Finally I had greetings cards which got me to thinking who I could send them to; someone who I don’t interact with online.  To be honest, I rarely ‘do’ birthday cards, simply saying happy birthday and doing lunch instead.  But the designs are very pretty and you don’t just have to use them for birthdays because they’re blank inside.  In a way, it’s a shame these cards were wasted on me because I might have to give them to a friend use instead.

 

In conclusion then…

Awebox is a great concept and would make a really nice one-off gift for someone.  With 4-6 choices of category to choose from and the option to cancel at any time, the RRP of £20-28 is pretty good value for money and would make a great present.

I’ve got no reason to think that the shampoo or tea aren’t great products, I just chose not to try them.  I would rather have had a cat/dog treat or toy in the box but having an idea of what you’re getting obviously takes away the surprise element.  In that respect, I feel that the pet categories could be quite limiting.  And I also feel that the other categories were limited in ‘uniqueness’.  I wouldn’t have chosen the pet ones myself but all in all a good idea that can be tailored to the customer.

 

You can visit the Awebox website and follow them on facebook, twitter and instagram.

What about you?  Have you considered a customisable subscription box?  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere.

Thanks.

*I was gifted this item for the purposes of this review but all views are my own.

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