Top 3 summer trends

During the summer season you want to feel cool due to extreme heat conditions, and want to look runway ready at all times. With this said, there are certain trends which seem to pop up every year, and some you should stay away from.

These are the top 3 summer trends to consider, and items to have in your closet during the season, which will allow you to look great, and work any outfit the way your favourite stars do.

1. Printed shorts

Bright, eye-catching shorts will draw the eyes to your best features. You can easily pair them up with a solid, subdued top, which is going to accentuate the legs, and the bright printed shorts even more. With bold colours, distinct design prints, and fun designer styles, you can find several great printed shorts to choose from, when you want something fun, bold, and cool for the hottest summer days.

2. Lace

Lace is in. A solid lace dress or skirt, paired with an all black top, is going to look great for a night out, or for a day at work. They come in several colours, you can find dresses, skirts, shorts, and tops, and you can pair them up with any style of shoes and fashion accessories as well. Regardless of where you plan on going, you can easily dress up lace pieces, or dress them down, if you simply want a casual look for going out to lunch with your friends during the day.

3. Backless dresses

There’s no better time of the year to pull off the backless dress than during the summer months. Its warm out, dresses are always a favourite for most women, and they come in many light, bright, and airy colours. You can buy longer or shorter dresses, you can find many different shapes for the back cut-out, and you can pair them up with a sandal, a heel, or even a closed toe boot or shoe, if you are planning on wearing the dress out for the evening.
Certain styles seem to work well for different times of the year. And, during the summer season, there are always new fashion trends which are popping up, and always make their way onto the runway. These are a few of the top trends to consider this year, and are articles of clothing which will work well for nearly any body type, and can easily be dressed up or down for any occasion.

Take a look at home shopping catalogues to compare prices as well as the latest styles and trends from top UK celebrities. Buynowpaylateruk offer an easy to use online comparison where you can find catalogues offering all sorts of products from clothing and accessories to laptops, cookers, sofas and more!

Review: Thermafreeze

When we gave a home to a rescued Python named Lady a few months ago, I started to order her food on-line.  It came wrapped in what looked like ice compartments segmented in plastic. I had not seen such a product before, but these ice packs for food stayed frozen enough to keep an overnight delivery of rats frozen.  I had just been defrosting them and throwing them away – mistake!

Thermafreeze recently got in touch with me and they make a similar -if not the same – product and showed me all the different things that I can use these frozen water-gel ice packs for.  The packs come flat:

unsoaked thermafreeze

Then you soak them in warm water and in under five minutes they puff up.

thermafreeze in the sink

Then you put them in the freezer overnight and bingo! Your own ice pack ready for use.

thermafreeze when frozen

Isn’t the design pretty too?  A nice design is not essential for efficient use, but, it does make using them more pleasant.  They come in a few lovely designs, and, plain too – have a look at their shop.

I like to send an ice pack in my son’s lunch pack but the one I have is quite old-fashioned and pretty bulky.  Of course then it takes up valuable room in the lunch bag, and I generally have to place it outside the lunch box, which reduces it’s efficiency.  Thermafreeze can be carefully cut to your exact requirements – so, I could cut out a few squares and wrap them around the yoghurt, giving it more cold than the sandwich and thus making the lunch temperature more ideal.  You could wrap a bottle of wine when you left home and by the time the picnic spot was reached it’d be nicely chilled.

As my snake food experience shows, it is not just picnics and lunch boxes that Thermafreeze can be used for, but as a cost-effective way to send items that need to stay fresh, in the post.  The sheets are not too bulky or heavy, and these are all considerations when posting items now that the prices have sky-rocketed.

How about making some yummy truffles and posting them to people for special presents?  Pop a pack in with a bar of chocolate to make sure it arrives un-melted to your friend in need.  Or you could bake some brownies and ensure they arrive fresh as the day they were baked to a beloved Aunty or sister.

The possibilities are endless and so, it seems, are the longevity of them. Not only can they e re-frozen again and again but if they are left alone they will evaporate back to their original state.  Then, when you want to use them again, simply soak and freeze.  I like this feature, because those old block-type ice blocks take up valuable storage space when not in use.

I will come back and update this blog if they ever do wear out on me, but from what I see, every home needs some Thermafreeze.

The Value of SEO for Bloggers

SEO for BloggersI’ve been blogging for many years now and hear the SEO acronym thrown about quite a lot.  I could work harder on it but there is just so much information out there on the topic that its actually really hard to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Google algorithms appear to change quite a lot and probably to my own detriment, did I stop paying much attention to SEO issues sometime back. It all just seemed too complicated. I get loads for spam mail from companies promising me extra traffic but I don’t trust unsolicited email any more than salesmen knocking on my door offering me cheap paving deals.

Every now and again I decide to SEO optimise my site and end up just reeling from all the information out there. I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit recently and would love a bit of expert help to get myself back on track, and to help out an ecommerce store that I have been trying to help but isn’t receiving any interest yet.

There are companies that offer to SEO optimise my site for me but when I take on a project I like to learn how to do things myself. There are terrible tales out there about people promising the earth and charging a lot to do it and in the end the website owners find themselves badly penalised or even removed by Google. If I learned how to do SEO myself, I would be able to tailor my exact outcomes to my hopes for the business, as well as being able to adapt the techniques for any future changes of direction.

I’ve seen and been invited to SEO courses in groups but I find it hard to concentrate in classes and they never seem to be a time or location that is convenient. Many bloggers work around their families and each has their niche, so what we need is an SEO course relevant to our personal brand and business style. SEO theory in a public class is great, but it’s hard to ask the specific questions that you need the answers to when twenty or more other businesses are also expecting perfect solutions.

This is where SEO Training London come in. For less than £500 they provide a one to one SEO tuition course that lasts four to five hours so it’s a prefect fit for school hours. London based, they can even travel out to you, if travelling to them will make the school run a bit tight. The course looks totally comprehensive and has received excellent reviews. With the amount of time I have wasted sifting through irrelevant information on-line about SEO, this option sounds really tidy – they do the hard work for you and present it in an intensive few hours that are easily understood by novices and more experienced website owners alike.

Whilst I haven’t taken the course myself yet, It is now firmly on my “want” list for my online business .

Review: APE by Monkey Nutrition

apeAs a runner and heath-concious person, I do use supplements to support my body as well as eating a lovely fresh healthy diet.  Monkey Nutrition offered to give me some advice about performance-boosting supplements from their range.  I provided them with an overview of my training requirements and to my surprise they suggested a testosterone booster.

I was hesitant about accepting, after all, I am a lady and don’t really want to turn into a hairy deep-voiced aggressive creature.  I did a little research and found that sometimes women do take testosterone for a number of reasons and actually at my age (42) I already have less in my body than I did twenty years ago.

So I said yes and started popping a handful of tablets and capsules at breakfast.  There are eight tablets/capsules/softgels to eat at one time which is quite a lot, I thought.  I unfortunately had a cold for the first two weeks and felt pretty rotten anyway but I carried on.

I’ve finished the month now and I am happy to report no excessive hair growth or anything worrying.  What I have noticed is a slightly more oily skin – which is good because mine is a bit too dry –  and an energy boost.  Bearing in mind that this is a trial of one person with no control group, I’d say that they did give me an energy boost and I am sure I have lost a bit of belly fat.  Considering I was poorly for the first few weeks, and not really exercising, this is a nice surprise for me.  I’ve also managed to knock a full minute per mile off my running, but again this could possibly be a coincidence.

I’m not 100% sure but I do think this handful of pills seems to have enhanced my body’s energy levels and performance.  It’s certainly made me curious to try other testosterone-boosting supplements, though maybe with a few less pills to take.


Review & Giveaway: Dobble

Never having heard Esvedium Games or Dobble before, I accepted the challenge of reviewing it with my fun-loving five year old.

dobble Collage

It comes in a sturdy tin, small enough to carry in your bag for emergency entertainment purposes and can be played by two to eight players at one time.  There are also a number of ways that you can play it, or, even invent one of your own. It relies on your speed of visual perception to match animals together and we really enjoyed it’s energetic, fast-paced and kept the attention of the Cub for a good few rounds.

Here’s a quick snippet here:

We reviewed Dobble Kids but it’s also available for the age of 6+ in the form of Dobble, which I have read is equally entertaining.

With the summer holidays coming, this would be an excellent purchase for use in the home and as a travel game.

Esdevium want to give away a copy of Dobble or Dobble kids to one lucky reader of my blog.

Entry is via the rafflecopter form below, UK &  europe, no cheating please :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

6 Solutions for the Most Common Prom Dress Wardrobe Malfunctions

Solutions For Your Prom Dress MalfunctionsOh, Prom Night. That night when girls everywhere compete with one another for attention, long gazes, and Instagram likes.

And if there’s one thing for certain, no girl wants to be the one who has a public wardrobe malfunction on Prom Night. No way, no how.  Nuh-uh. Especially with YouTube, Instagram, and SnapChat waiting in the wings to make the experience go viral.

So that’s why we wrote this guide. This guide is intended to help our high school friends avoid the devastation that could come with a Prom Night wardrobe malfunction, and the embarrassment of what Mean Girls might do with such a malfunction.

Let’s begin with the basic stuff and work our way up to the life-threatening devastation only teenage girls can understand.

1. Underwear Lines

I know some ladies will say that it’s easier to not wear any underwear on uber-fancy occasions like prom because they can’t chance the underwear lines under prom dresses 2016. Well, ew. I can’t chance the one string holding my dress up to snap and then have nothing below. Lacy thongs are virtually invisible, but aren’t a hit with moms. And they are pretty uncomfortable. I hate feeling like I got “hungry bum” all night with a string down my behind. Gross.

String bikini underwear, same thing. I prefer a hybrid; either high-waist or something a little more J-Lo. They don’t cover the whole butt, but they sure cover more than a thong, they look fancy, and they leave no trace. Next!

2. Blah Nail Polish

Either you over-do it and smudge it –or your nail polish chips off. In either case, fret not. Less is more. Take all of the nail polish off and go au naturelle with a clear coat.

3. Random Stains

Ok so you’re out about town and there it is. Mustard stain. Solution: Tide-to-Go stain remover pen. Bam! Good as new –or at least it won’t stain. Do not rub it in, or you’ll make it worse. Dab it, and if it’s still there, try a little hand soap and water in the ladies room.

4. Hair Has a Mind of Its Own

Flat, stupid hair. For whatever reason, it keeps falling down, frizzing out; whatever. Solution: Braid it out or show even a little more neck with a hair bun. Most boys I know go nuts when they see the small of a girl’s neck. It’s the sexiest non-taboo part of your body you can proudly show off.

5. Torn Dress

Pack a whole lotta’ good, strong safety pins with you just in case you tear your dress. They’re easy to conceal because you can affix them to your dress in advance. Just make sure they’re in a place they can’t be prompted to open up and hurt you.

6. Horrible Fake Tan

Uh-oh. I don’t know what, but what is it with girls that try to look orange on homecoming? Seriously, ladies. Orange is not that “new black”! Orange will and has always looked silly. And if your any reason you have a mishap like this –like, you decide “hey I want a fake orange Jersey Shore-looking tan” –do it at least a week in advance, on a Friday evening (so you can hide indoors on Saturday and Sunday exfoliating the heck out of your skin). If you’re lucky, no one will notice.

Petplan Pettakeover with @petplanuk #petplan

“My name is Shadow and I like sticks.  And water.  My  very kind (clever, funny and beautiful) and responsible owner Catherine strapped a GoPro to me so that you yourselves could experience the joy of Sticks And Water.

Some special people at PetPlan provided the camera and then let us loose with our sense of adventure and creativity.

My lovely owner did swear a bit whilst editing our fun day out, but I hereby approve the following video for posting on her blog:”


May the force be felt with you

I came to love Star Wars a bit later in life than most and mostly thanks to the enthusiasm my son has for it.  We’ve done the films, and the games and he even owns his own Darth Maul lightsaber now too. epic yarns

We were delighted to receive these books for review.  They are a collection of “epic yarns” and depict three Star Wars movies with simple words and photos of hand-crafted felt  figurines.  Brilliant, unique and beautiful to look at too.

Jedi apprentices and little princesses will delight in this (heart)felt retelling of the Star Wars™ saga. And so will Star Wars fans of any age! The Star Wars Epic Yarns series launches with the original trilogy, and every word counts in these small but perfectly formed yarns. That’s because each volume features 12 iconic scenes, handcrafted in felt and pithily summarised in just a single word.

The creators, twin brothers Jack and Holman Wang, worked tirelessly to craft each character to exact 7:1 scale and meticulously re-create each setting and scene – bringing the felt characters on location to the desert, swamp, forest and snow.

Star Wars Epic Yarns is a perfect introduction to the saga for young readers and gift for Star Wars fans of all ages.

Jack and Holman Wang are twin brothers who grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Holman still lives. As well as being the creators of the Cozy Classics board books, Jack is a professor of writing at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and Holman, a former attorney and middle school teacher, is an artist and author. Jack Wang is currently based in Norwich until the end of May.


This shows how the books were made, and the work that went into them is quite incredible:

I was worried that The Cub would think they were a little bit too young for him, but he loves them.  His reading is coming along really well at school, and now he has added Star Wars words to the many other words he can now read.

He wanted to read you all three but I cut it to the first book:

You can also win this collection, by simply completing the Rafflecopter tasks below. Good luckyarns2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Father’s day with British Tea Lovers

happy father's day teaThe video on the British Tea Lovers’ website says it all: What DO  you buy for the Father who has everything, for Father’s Day?  After four decades of Fatherhood, and three daughters, my Dad is probably sick of socks, and ties, novelty gifts and (dare I say it?) even, beer.

Enter British Tea Lovers, who have created an unique smoky blend of loose leaf tea in it’s own specially crafted tin for Father’s Day.  Plus, who doesn’t love a handy tin too? #bonus

Being a massive Tea Lover myself, I have been happily testing this amazing blend of Ceylon Black Tea and I can indeed confirm that it is truly a rich, comforting and unique blend. After a hard day’s graft, it’s like a hug in a mug, warm, cosy and with a wonderful aroma of bonfires.

If you’ve not got a Dad, then buy it for yourself, it’s amazing, and you can use the code DAD165, plus, if you sign up to the newsetter you’ll get an extra 10% off (you can use two discount codes per order).

Check out the British Tea Lovers on Twitter and Facebook too.


What to Do with a Glut of Squashes and Courgettes

If you find yourself with an overabundance of delicious squashes and courgettes, to the point that you really don’t know what to do with all of them and you have already given so many away that no one else wants anymore, rest assured that there are plenty of yummy ways to incorporate them into your meals.

Check out some of the tips and recipes below to help you get rid of your glut of squashes and courgettes with ease.

Super Easy and Really Nutritious Salads

There are a lot of delicious recipes that you can prepare that include squashes and courgettes, so rest assured that there are plenty of ways to use these vegetables without getting bored. And you will be getting loads of nutrition by transforming these vegetables into salads throughout the week.

A simple marinated veggie salad is one way to go, and this is the ideal side dish for grilled foods at a summer barbeque. You can also prepare a no-cook shaved squash salad. Or you can instead opt for a more indulgent salad that consists of summer squash, walnuts, and red quinoa.

A Vegan Carpaccio

Want to add a plant-based item to your weekly menu options? Then try making a vegan Carpaccio dish that will use up quite a few of your courgettes. Use tofu, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, parsley, capers, and nutritional yeast to create a delicious ricotta. Then slice your courgettes paper-thin and arrange them overlapping on a platter after preparing them with lemon juice, olive oil, green onion, fennel, and basil.

Make a Chocolate Cake

You may not believe it, but you can use your excess courgettes to make a hearty, healthy, and indulgent chocolate cake. All you’ll need is dark brown sugar, caster sugar, unsalted butter, sunflower oil, regular or dairy-free milk, eggs or your favourite egg substitute, self-rising flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, small bits of chocolate, and grated courgettes.

Then it’s just a matter of creaming the oil, butter, and sugar together, beating the eggs and milk, and combining these ingredients. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder together before combining with the egg mix. Then add the chocolate and courgettes to the mix. Use a paper-lined tin to bake the mixture for roughly one hour at 180°C.

Make Gift Baskets for Friends

Again, when you have far too many squashes and courgettes to cook and bake with, you can always choose to give them away. But do so in a unique way by putting them together in lovely gift baskets that your friends and family will love. This is especially handy if you have a special event coming up, whether it’s a simple summer gathering or a housewarming party, and you need to bring a gift. Other gift ideas can be found on

Now that you know what you can do with all of your squashes and courgettes, you won’t be so afraid to grow as many next year!