A Helicopter Trip To The Grand Canyon

We have recently come back from a fabulous road trip to California and Vegas. Whilst we were there we were treated to a present from family members - a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon which was booked through Viator.com and Sundance Helicopters.

We were picked up by a stretch limo from our hotel for the short drive to the airport. The limo was air conditioned and we were given water as well. We needed this as even early in the day the temperature was in the 90s.

When we arrived we were greeted at the helicopter base at McCarran airport and our details were taken. Weigh distribution is important on a helicopter and before boarding you are weighed. Now don't worry about this! No one can see your weight except the person taking your details and it doesn't show up anywhere, so even you can't see what it says. It is just part of the process.

The helicopter base had a little shop and toilets and was lovely and air conditioned. Then we waited for our helicopter pilot Pete.

Pete greeted us and was very welcoming. We put our items in the back on the helicopter, climbed up, strapped ourselves in, put our headphones on, and then we were off!

I have to admit at this point, I am a nervous flier and I have never flown in a helicopter before so the butterflies in my stomach had started. Before we went I took a travel sickness tablet. I am pleased to say though that the journey was smooth as anything. After we rose into the air and climbed to the select height, it almost felt that we were not moving, it was a little surreal, like being on a theme park ride.

We flew out of Las Vegas over the houses and hotels, and before too long the scenery changed. We were over the Moave desert with the Hoover Dam below us. The headphones were perfect at keeping the sound out whilst giving us a running commentary of our surroundings via the audio system.

A marvel of modern engineering the Hoover Dam is over 726 feet high and 1244 feet long. It was built in 1935 to provide a reliable source of water to those in California and today it provides water for communities in Nevada, California, San Diego and Los Angeles, supporting an estimated 18 million people.

We also flew over Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the United States when full and is formed by the Hoover Dam.  The scenery was amazing as you can see below.

After approximately 45 minutes we arrived at the Grand Canyon. 

After time to take a few photos of the breathtaking canyon, we had a picnic lunch. It wasn't a luxury lunch but the sandwiches and pasta salad were tasty, we also had some fruit and crisps and a choice of a variety of soft drinks. 

Of course the glass of sparkling wine was very welcoming. We ate our lunch in a shaded canopy in the canyon which gave us some relief from the sun. 

On our trip back we flew over the Hoover Dam again and the Las Vegas strip. 

We enjoyed seeing the hotels from the air and the bustle of the strip from the relative quiet of the helicopter. In fact in my opinion this was even better than the Grand Canyon.

Before long we were back at the airport and taken back to our hotel in the limo. Our only complaint was that we seemed to wait a long time here before we were chauffeured back but in reality it wasn't longer than about 30 minutes.

Our stop in the Grand Canyon was short, but we had time for photos and a picnic lunch with a glass of bubbly. If you drove to the Grand Canyon you would definitely see much more of it however it would take you an all day round trip from Vegas by car. Our trip, from being picked up at our hotel to being dropped back off was approximately 4 hours, which is so much quicker than driving.

We enjoyed the trip, the scenery was breathtaking and although it was expensive it was worth it - I mean how often do you get the chance to go to the Grand Canyon?

Tell me what do you think of my photos? Have you been to the Grand Canyon?

Something Borrowed Something Blue - Saving Money By Planning A Wedding In Gretna Green

I got married in Gretna Green. Well, I should say my husband and I got married in Gretna Green.

Greta Green is a small village just across the Scottish border from England and is famous for 'runaway weddings'. It is one of the World's most popular wedding destinations with over 5000 wedding ceremonies performed here every year.

The History Of Gretna Green

Years ago no one under the age of 21 could get married in England and Wales without their parent's consent, however in Scotland this was not the case and boys of 14 and girls of 12 could without their parent's blessing. This fact and the close proximity to the English border made Gretna Green a very popular place to get married.

The local blacksmith and his anvil have become the lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings. Scottish law allowed for "irregular marriages", meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony. The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as "anvil priests" - they often conducted the ceremony, bringing down a hammer on an anvil at the end of the service, to announce you were married.

When my husband and I got married we decided to go to Gretna Green as we liked the notion of getting married somewhere different, we didn't want a huge wedding with loads of family so this place sounded ideal and it all sounded very romantic, after all, it is the place where couples in love went to elope! However our family still decided to come along, and having a handful of close family did actually add to the experience.

Today the laws have changed but the tradition of going to Gretna Green for a quieter wedding with fewer or no guests still exists. You can get married in a religious or non religious ceremony and many celebrants still bring down a hammer on an anvil at the end of the ceremony.

However if you want a wedding with lots of guests and all the luxuries and extras you can also have this in Gretna Green too but at a much reduced price. This is due to the high number of weddings that take place every year. Our wedding photos were less than £200 for an album with a selection of photos and the rest on CD, the Rolls Royce was £120 and the flowers were beautiful and also very competitive in price too.

Memories Of Our Wedding Day

I am writing this post for the Something Borrowed, Something Blue campaign by Ocean Finance and the idea is to write about my wedding memories and give one tip on how to save money on a wedding.

I have a few lovely memories of our wedding day. We got married in a beautiful place called Anvil Hall and after the service the celebrant did indeed bring down the anvil at the end of the ceremony - it didn't half make me jump! This beautiful hall was the scene of a number of our photos, I like this one below showing everyone cheering.

We were taken to Anvil Hall in a gorgeous Rolls Royce which you can see in the top photo, I felt like I was a princess being taken to meet my prince.

It was a lovely sunny but cold day in March. In fact the next day when we arrived at our Edinburgh honeymoon destination it was snowing heavily, but this just added to the excitement and special feeling of going on honeymoon.

We would highly recommend getting married in Gretna Green. Some venues like Anvil Hall even allow you to watch the wedding over the Internet which is a lovely idea for friends who can't be there.

My Money Saving Tip

Everything in Gretna Green was well priced, so my one tip would be - if you want to save money, get married in Gretna Green. You can have a great wedding that is very special and that doesn't break the bank. Something you will remember forever, and something very special.

* I was compensated a voucher for this post

Las Vegas Money Saving Tips

Las Vegas is certainly an interesting place, it's not all about gambling either. I have visited twice now and enjoyed the shopping, entertainment and great cuisine.  The hotels are amazing too - you can visit Paris, New York and Venice, all within the themed hotels and all within a pleasant stroll of each other, and that is just for starters!

I am happy to spend money on great meals and fabulous experiences, whilst in Vegas but I certainly don't like wasting money either.

Here is my guide to saving money in Vegas.

  1. For the best prices on hotels, stay midweek and avoid Vegas when large conferences/big events are on as prices rocket.
  2. Consider staying downtown as hotels and restaurants are normally cheaper.
  3. Check out Priceline. Their 'Name Your Own Price' feature can give you big discounts, especially if you don't mind which exact hotel you stay in.
  4. It may be worth staying in self catering accommodation, the Vdara and the Signature have such rooms. Even if you are only making your breakfast every day you can save a fortune.
  5. If you are on Facebook, you can build up freebies on My Vegas. This app allows you to plays games and complete tasks for points which build up for discounts and free food, shows and hotel rooms affiliated with MGM resorts.
  6. Travelzoo and Groupon have regular deals for Vegas on hotels, attractions and restaurants.
  7. Sign up for emails with hotels and restaurants before you go for special offers.
  8. If you are getting a taxi from the airport to the strip, tell the driver not to take the freeway. Vegas taxi drivers are notorious for doing this which adds to your taxi fare.
  9. Sit at a 1c machine and play for a little while. The waitresses come around and you can order a drink for free, just tip a dollar a drink.
  10. Search online for "Happy Hours Vegas ", to find the best prices on alcoholic drinks.
  11. For cheap show tickets in Las Vegas check out https://vegaslens.com/discount/shows-tickets/.
  12. If you are booking any tours in advance search for discount codes online. Viator for example have a 10% discount code at certain times of the year. Check their social media pages.
  13. Vegas is known for its buffets. If you go at 10.30am you can pay for a cheaper breakfast buffet but 11.00am is often the time they bring out the lunch so you get the choice of a breakfast and lunch buffet at the cheaper price.
  14. The Grand Canyon shop on the strip sells cheaply priced water - 2 for $1 and soft drinks 2 for $2. Much cheaper than any other shop in this area.

  15. Search restaurant.com for vouchers which you can buy to slash the cost of meals.
  16. Ceasars has a 24 hour buffet pass which can be used in a number of restaurants.
  17. Have your biggest meal for breakfast and lunch and have a snack for dinner as dinner is almost always the most expensive meal of the day.
  18. Split meals in casual restaurants. Most portions are BIG, appetisers especially.
  19. In Vegas many hotels do not have a coffee maker, so consider taking a travel kettle, sugar and powdered milk if you need your tea or coffee in the morning.
  20. If you have nerves of steel and can spare 90 minutes attend a time share presentation and be sure to say no at the end to collect free show and buffet tickets.

Here are some tips on saving money in Vegas. Let me know if you have been and if you have used any of these tips?

Win A Gift Card With Irene Moller Jewellery Ends 23/09

Irene Moller Jewellery is a company new to me which I have discovered recently.  The company designs and makes stylish and elegant Scandinavian jewellery. I recently interviewed the owner Irene about her business and what makes their company special. 

When did you start your business?

I started my business in 2012 in San Francisco, but I've been making jewellery for myself for much longer. 

What is unique about your jewellery?

The design is very Scandinavian and inspired by Danish design trends. Also all my pieces are lightweight making them very nice to wear. 

Which is your favourite piece that you sell?
Lori Earrings

It is hard to say. I have many favourites, but if I had to pick one then there is one pair of earrings that I keep wearing again and again and those are the Lori earrings.  

What is the most popular item?

Lilly Earrings

My most popular item has recently been the Lilly earrings. The combination of the white pearl with the black oxidised silver ear hoop is really cool. 

Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery you own?

That's another hard question for someone who loves jewellery. If I had to pick one it would be the bracelet I made a few years ago from a necklace I had from my grandmother. The style of the necklace just wasn't me, but the beads were beautiful, so I redesigned it into a bracelet and now I love wearing it because it's part me and part her.  

What are your plans for the future?

I love what I do, and want to keep on designing and bringing new designs to my collections. I like to experiment working with new metals and many different kinds of semi-precious and precious stones.  

Thank You Irene

Today I am giving you the chance to win a gift card worth £55 to spend on Irene Moller Jewellery. You can spend it on anything from the collection. I love the Hannah necklace below myself. Entry is through the Gleam application below which picks the winner at random. It's easy to enter honestly, for a guide on how to enter check out this post by Super Lucky Di!

If you like the competition why don't you bookmark it as you can enter daily. If you enjoy entering competitions, I have more competitions running on my competition page here.

Good luck!

Win A Gift Card With Irene Moller Jewellery

Did You Know You Can Get Invisible Braces?

Braces are not fun. Unfortunately, sometimes they are essential, to correct bite problems, close gaps between teeth and straighten crooked and misaligned teeth. According to the NHS and The British Orthodontic Society, over 200,000 people started orthodontic treatment in England and Wales in 2014-15. Whilst the vast majority of these were children, there has been an increase in adults seeking treatment for cosmetic purposes or having missed out on treatment when they were young. 

Dental treatment with braces can be given on the NHS if you are a child and in some cases in adulthood, but adults who want orthodontic treatment to fix minor cosmetic problems aren't eligible for NHS treatment. Private treatment needs to be considered in these cases. One of the main benefits of private treatment is having a wider choice of braces including clear or invisible ones.

The problem with traditional braces is that they are not attractive. My son had these when he was younger and to have a mouth full of metal seriously affected his self esteem, at an age when he was just becoming interested in girls.

Invisible Braces

There are many options available for those looking to straighten their teeth without braces. This even includes treatments which require no visits to the dentist or orthodontist's office. For more information about the best clear aligner treatments consider this useful resource

There are many types of invisible braces available today including Invisalign and Inman Aligner. Invisalign is a clear brace system which uses clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth, providing a very discreet alternative to traditional fixed braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners which as worn for two weeks before being replaced with the next in the series.

Inman Aligner is a removable orthodontic appliance designed to treat mild to moderate cases of misalignment. The appliance is made up of a coiled spring and metal bar which generate forces which effectively pushes and pulls the teeth into position using the latest technology. What is so good about the Inman Aligner is that it is one of the fastest treatments around and simple cases can be treated in a matter of weeks, and almost all cases within 4 months. Check out Invisalign Essex for availability. 

As you can see modern technology today now produces more discreet orthodontic treatment and prices for these clear brace treatments are surprisingly affordable with many companies offering 0% finance.

Tell me what do you think of these new advances in orthodontic treatment? Would you ever consider a clear brace if you had to? Did you have braces when you were a child?

* PR collaboration

Summer Wine Cocktails

Summer is here and it's the time for holidays, sunsets and cocktails. Two of my favourite cocktails are a Bellini and a Kir Royal. A Kir Royal is so simple to make and you can't beat a glass of champagne and blackcurrant liqueur, served chilled.  I also love a good Bellini. I once went to Harry's Bar in Venice where the Bellini was invented. It's such an interesting place, very small, historic and full of real characters. 

If you haven't tried a Bellini, I highly recommend it. A Bellini is a light and refreshing drink made with Prosecco and peach juice and is lovely and fruity. 

To recreate a good summer cocktail at home, have a look at this infographic from Roberson Wine. I'm off to Spain in a couple of months and I'm looking forward to sharing a jug of Sangria, topped with fresh fruit, with my husband. It's like summer in a glass isn't it?

Tell me, do you have a favourite cocktail made with wine? Would you like to try any of the drinks above.

* A collaborative post all words and opinions are my own.

A Simple Guide To Growing Herbs

I don't have a garden. So when I was asked if I would like to try growing some herbs I thought... strange request! However did you know you can grow herbs almost anywhere?

I do enjoy cooking, and food is so much tastier when you use herbs, so I thought I would give it a go. Here is a simple guide to growing herbs for someone with no experience what so ever.

A Simple Guide To Growing Herbs

1 Buy a pack of herbs like these from Spalding Bulb (or any other good garden company).

2. Read the instructions or follow the pictures. 

3. Gather your soil, put it in a suitable container and water. In this case, I watered the soil pods and mixed throughly before spreading out in the box.

5. Sprinkle your seeds in the container and label them. I cut the names of the seeds from the packets to use as labels.

6. Water your seeds then cover with a plastic container for warmth.

All you have to do now is put the container somewhere where it can get light and spray them with water. I have put mine on a windowsill in my flat. When they have grown just cut them to use. 

That's it...Voila!

I have a mix of herbs here from basil, chives, and dill, to coriander, parsley and thyme. I am really looking forward to using the basil and coriander especially as I use a lot of basil when I make various Italian dishes and coriander for my slow cooker Indian curries. Most of the herbs in pots in my local supermarket cost around £1.50 to £1.99 and the seed kit I used cost £6.99 and no pots to buy, so I think it's a good price and you get the satisfaction of growing them yourself. I did wonder if I should have topped the seeds with soil, we shall see if it makes a difference. I did say I was a complete beginner :)

So a simple guide to growing herbs for someone with no gardening knowledge. 

Tell me have you ever grown herbs? Would you give it a go with your children?

* A collaborative post, all words and opinions are my own

Jurys Inn Birmingham Hotel Review

Recently I was invited to review the Jurys Inn Birmingham on a Cadburys World Special Offer package. This family offer includes 1-night bed and breakfast accommodation for 2 adults and 2 children inclusive of Cadburys World tickets.

The hotel is centrally located on Broad Street, Birmingham, with a selection of restaurants and bars at Brindley Place almost on your doorstep, the National SeaLife centre close by and New Street train station a ten minute walk away. 

When we arrived at the hotel about 11 am the room wasn't ready yet but our bags were taken and put safely until our return. My husband and I stayed in this hotel a few years ago when we went to a jewellery show in Birmingham, but this time we were bringing my son as well.

I remembered the hotel as being of a great standard and very stylish so I was interested to see if it was as good as I remember.

The reception area looks classy and the decor of the hotel is smart and modern. When we returned to check in was straight forward and staff were efficient. Wi-fi is free and parking is £14 a night. When I asked if there were any discounts it was explained to me that the car park was not owned by them, so, unfortunately, there wasn't any although it was next door.

When we got to our room I immediately liked the decor, white walls and fresh white bed linen with a carpet in browns and purples and furnishings in the same colour tone.

It's the little things that matter in a Jurys Hotel:-

Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
Tea and coffee with excellent quality biscuits in the room
Free water
Flat screen TV with Freeview

Free water, tea and coffee and quality biscuits in the room

The bathroom was fresh and modern, with a bath and shower, and expensive toiletries from Gilchrist and Soames which smelt lovely.

The room was clean, and the only minor niggle was the fact that the grouting looked a little tired around the bath tiles. A little refresh here could make a big difference. The shower pressure was good and it would be nice to have a magnifying mirror but I am just being picky now.

The room was air conditioned which we were glad about as it was a warm day and the beds felt very comfortable. 

We took a stroll around Brindley Place which is a 2-minute walk away and this has an abundance of well-known restaurant chains and bars near Birmingham's pretty canals. Did you know Birmingham has more canals than Venice? No, neither did I!

We decided to eat at the restaurant next door that night - an Indian restaurant called Pushkar. We had eaten here last time we visited and it was amazing then. This time is did not disappoint again. It served excellent cocktails and high quality refined Indian food which we really enjoyed and was well prepared and tasty. Highly recommended. 

We then returned to the hotel and had a drink in the hotel bar which had a decent selection of drinks. Drinks prices were on the high side but average for a hotel - £6.50 for a large glass of white wine for example. We didn't eat in the restaurant 'The Grill On Broad Street" but it had a variety of food from salads and sandwiches to burgers and steaks and 'home comfort' food, and appeared to be moderately priced.

For a location right in the heart of everything and although there are a number of clubs on the same street we couldn't hear any noise at all from our room at night.  The beds were very comfortable, not too soft or too hard and we had a good nights sleep.

Breakfast the next morning was extensive and included a full cooked buffet breakfast, cereal including porridge with a variety of toppings, toast, yoghurts, muffins and fresh fruit. The variety was excellent.

My husband and son had a full cooked breakfast and they both couldn't fault it. 

Cooked breakfast as part of an extensive buffet

We then checked out and headed off to Cadbury World approximately a 15-minute drive away. Cadbury World is a family attraction in Bournville which charts the history and invention of chocolate and the origins of the Cadbury business including how chocolate is made. 

We thought the perfect age to enjoy Cadbury World, is between the ages of 4 and 11, although there were plenty of adults there too. They also have a 4D attraction which we didn't have time to visit but it looked great fun. One of the best things about Cadbury World is that you are given a selection of chocolate as you enter, and get the chance to try samples of chocolate in the factory area.

I would stay at the Jurys Inn again in a heartbeat. It's a very good quality 3-star hotel in the centre of Birmingham and ideal for a stay for business or pleasure. Price wise it's not the cheapest or most expensive but provides excellent accommodation in very comfortable surroundings. The Cadbury World package is good value and perfect for those with a young family. If you are thinking of staying in Birmingham it's definitely worth checking out the Jurys Inn.

Win Tickets To Bletchley Park With Intel And Tots100 Ends 22/08

Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire was the site of the UK's government code and cypher school in the 40's. 

It wasn't until recently that I realised the important role Bletchley Park had in World War 2, and specifically Alan Turing's role in cracking the Enigma code - a code developed by the Germans to encrypt messages during the war.

You may have seen the film The Imitation Game where Alan Turing was played by Benedict Cumberbatch. This exceptionally gifted mathematician invented the Turing machine which helped crack the Enigma code whilst he was working at Bletchley Park.

Enigma, the German Cipher Machine used for sending encrypted messages
Copyright Everett Historical Shutterstock 

It is well known fact that the intelligence produced at Bletchley Park did in fact shorten the war by two to four years. The site is now an educational and historical attraction memorialising and celebrating those accomplishments. Visitors can explore, experience and enjoy the top-secret world of iconic WW2 Codebreaking Huts and Blocks set within its atmospheric Victorian estate. This interesting and exciting historical building has also been given the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence and is the perfect family attraction for enquiring minds.

Intel Security which was formerly McAfee, runs a brilliant international Cybersecurity Exhibition at Bletchley where you can learn about the ground-breaking work done there, as well as pick up tips and information on staying safe online today. 

Password security is a worry to me. We have so much personal information online these days and robust and impenetrable security is needed to keep all this information safe. Intel Security work hard to produce new innovative ways to stay safe online through the development of the latest software and hardware. An example of this is their True Key software where you can sign in without passwords. Live Safe is another example which helps shield you digital life from prying eyes. One subscription protects all your devices from virus and threat protection and includes secure account storage with authentication which uses face voice recognition. 

What do your children think the future holds in keeping personal information safe online?

Do your children think retina recognition is the way to go to access personal information? Or what about fingerprint technology, but is a live scan of your fingerprint fool proof? Maybe there will be a non invasive way of getting your DNA to use as unique identification. They may have different ideas, young minds are very creative. Just ask them what they think!

If you like the sound of Bletchely Park, you can win four tickets to visit courtesy of Intel and Tots100 by asking your children how they think personal information will be kept safe and how we will access data in the future. To enter follow the steps on the Raffelcopter application below. Good luck and stay safe online!

Terms and Conditions

The prize is available to UK residents aged 18 or over, except employees of Intel Security/Hotwire Pr (The Promoter) or anyone professionally associated with the promotion. An entry is received when you leave a comment. The competition is open from 15pm GMT on 11 August 2015 to 11.59pm GMT on 22 August 2015. Any entries outside of these times will not be counted. One winner will be selected by the Promoter from all eligible entries and will receive a four tickets to Bletchley Park (RRP £65). The decision of the Promoter in relation to the Promotion is final. No correspondence will be entered into. Winners will be contacted by email. Winners will be announced on the Tots100 website within 30 days of the closing date. By entering participants will be deemed to have accepted by the terms of conditions of the competition. All entry instructions form part of these Terms and Conditions. Promoter:Intel Security/Hotwire PR69 Wilson Street, London, EC2A 2BB

* a sponsored post

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MooGoo Skincare Review

A guest post By Angela from Garden Tea Cakes And Me.

About me

I'm Angela I have been blogging at Garden Tea Cakes and Me since August 2011, I am a  forty something with scoliosis which I see as a difference not a restriction. I share a mixture of interests with my readers:- baking, gardening, home wares, interiors and heritage. Like many I have been influenced by the recent trend for upcycling, sewing and growing your own vegetables.  Days Out and travel are also favourites.  I am delighted to be guest posting on The Diary of a Jewellery Lover. Thank you Melissa.

MooGoo Skincare Review

My facial skincare routine is a pretty average one. I try and moisturise every day, but some days I do forget. I use a cleanser and cloth or flannel to remove my make up and eye makeup remover for my mascara. Then I may, just may, spritz with a skin tonic, but I always moisturise in an evening. Once a week, eh hem, once a fortnight I may do a facial scrub or face mask. 

I rarely talk about my skin care routine or products I use, occasionally I may discuss them with my sisters or friends.  But recently I have had much to say to them following the introduction to a most bizarre sounding brand MooGoo Skincare. I have been using some of their products for the past six weeks. 

Skin Milk Udder Cream £8.00 for 120ml, this is the product that launched this Austrian skin care brand. It is as stated a light cream that easily penetrates the skin thus being quickly absorbed.    

Milk Wash £11 for 500ml  I used as a facial cleanser, I can not tell you how light this product was to use on the skin, hopefully I have captured this with my photographs. With a unique almost soft feel to the product it glides on to the skin, which I used my hands dampened with warm water to create a gentle lather. I removed the product with a wet cloth. I have to say that this was my favourite of the three products, and one I will purchase in the future.

Blemish Cleaning Moisturiser £12.50 for 75g ideally for problematic skin, I suffer with patches of persistent dry skin, but nothing as bad as acne. With excellent moisturising qualities, it solved my dry skin patches. Do not be put off by the slightly grey colour to this cream. 

I love… 
the scent of the products, how to describe them? Natural, soothing, milky but not milky, just very pleasant. No overpowering or stimulating fragrances which you particularly do not want if you are about to relax and go to bed.

A little of these products go a long way.

Perfect for…
People who care about the ingredients of their skin care products.  MooGoo claim to be one of the most environmentally friendly skin care companies around. MooGoo products are aimed at people with sensitive or problematic skin but can be used by all.

The important stuff…
MooGoo was first made when the founder adapted a cream used in dairy farms to help a family member with a skin problem. The dairy version of "udder cream" was designed to heal the cow's udders and keep them in good condition for milking.

Available at selected stockists in the UK, but also available to order online.

* I received a sample bag of products at a recent Shropshire Bloggers get together. 

Providing For The Future For Your Children

The Modern Role Of Dads

Much has been written about the importance of mums in a child's life, we are amazing after all! Yet much less is written about the importance of a dad in a child's life relating to how much they do around the home and the hands on care they give to their children. Where both parents are around to support, care and look after their offspring, whether they are living together or not, the role of the modern dad is bigger than ever. 

Dads Often Share Childcare As Well As Chores These Days -Copyright Halfpoint Shutterstock

Legal and General have carried out a piece of research that says that dads are worth over £20,000 a year for the unpaid childcare and household tasks they do. You may say, well yes, mums are worth that too or even more, however the point I want to make is, that it is worth considering how you would cope financially if the dad of a household was taken critically ill or something even worse happened. In fact, for that matter how would you cope financially if this happened to the mum of a household?

Map of dads contributions to their household in childcare and chores

Years ago dads had more traditional roles. In the 40's and 50's it was rare to find men helping with the household chores but today many dads do. Dads have always loved playing with their children but traditionally never changed a nappy, yet many dads today have done this not so pleasant task, as well as the shopping, cooking, cleaning and ironing on a regular basis.

After the birth of a child, couples can also share up to 12 months leave between them, and although mums generally have more time off, dads are now taking a bigger role in the early life of their children. If you have children, and are living with a partner just think about how you would manage if they were taken ill. It doesn't bear thinking about does it?

Of course many women work these days and many dads look after children when they spouse is working. Between 1948 and 2001, the percentage of working age women employed or looking for work nearly doubled - from less than 33 percent to more than 60 percent.  Jobs today are not traditionally 9 to 5 either with many parents working shifts to provide for their children and dads often look after their children when mum is working. 

So how much time do dads spend with their children and on household chores every week? The answer is 47.5 hours a week compared to mums 65.5 hours a week on average.

Providing For The Future

Copyright Pichetw Shutterstock 

In the research by Legal and General, when asked to prioritise certain statement related to finances, the one that came out on top in the research was 'making sure the children are financially looked after if you weren't able to'. However only 55% of dads surveyed in this research had any type of life insurance.

Life insurance can be bought by mums as well as dads and cover can start at a little over a pound a week, which is affordable and something to seriously consider if you have children. Getting life insurance means there is one less worry in your life, one less thing to think about, and means you are sorted financially if the worst happens.

Tell me, was
 your dad a modern dad? Have you considered life insurance?

* I was compensated for this post, all words and opinions are my own. Please be aware that life assurance is not a savings or investment product and has no cash value unless a valid claim is made

Clarins Autumn/Winter 2015 Makeup Rouge Eclat And Crayon Kohl

Now it's August, companies are sending out the Autumn/Winter samples. Today I am reviewing two new shades of Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick and two shades of the Clarins Crayon Kohl eyeliner.

Rouge Eclat lipstick is packed full of goodies, such as Vitamin E, Jojoba and Sunflower to protect and soften lips and minimise fine lines. They market it as the first 'age defying' lipstick.

Very glamorous packaging 

The two new colours for Autumn/Winter are Tawny Rose and Red Paprika. The Tawny Rose is a lovely soft brown/pink colour and is extremely wearable. What I liked about this lipstick is that it would suit many different skin tones. The Red Paprika is a stronger colour perfect for Winter time, still with a brown undertone. It feels lovely on and has a great sweet blackberry fragrance that isn't over powering, and reminded me of being in a sweet shop.  It covers like a lipstick but feels like a balm on the lips. 

Wearing Tawny Rose Rouge Eclat and Violet Crayon Kohl

The packaging for these lipsticks is beautiful. In a gold stick with Clarins written on it, these lipsticks are very glamorous and you would be proud to take these out of your handbag to reapply your lippie in public. With the use of a lip liner I found the lipsticks lasted most of the day but needed reapplying once or twice.

Red Paprika on the left, Tawny Rose on the right

The Clarins Crayon Kohl is a great eye pencil to structure and define the eyes. It goes on softly and doesn't drag the skin. Each pencil has a soft brush on the end to blend and soften hard lines if needed. 

 Crayon Kohl in shades of 'true violet' and 'carbon black'

Dermatologically and ophthalmologically tested I didn't have any problems using these eyeliners with contact lenses in, there was no irritation at all. The
'Carbon Black' is a classic colour for a really dramatic look, but I preferred the 'True Violet' more, and felt it emphasised my dark brown eyes. The black Crayon Kohl had a sharpener included.

My only criticism of the Crayon Kohl is that if you have eyes that water easily you may find the kohl pencil does not last the night, instead go for Clarins waterproof eyeliner pencil. 

Wearing the Violet Crayon Kohl

As you can see the crayon Kohl defines the eyes but can still give a soft look. I really love the Violet colour, it's now my new favourite eye liner.

The Rouge Eclat is priced at £19.50 and the Crayon Kohl £17 both from Clarins. Tell me, have you tried Clarins makeup?