Why Is Home And Garden Security So Important?

We take such care of our belongings when out and about and dread the thought of our homes being burgled but how many of us truly take care of our home and garden security? It should be one of the most important concerns especially if it has high-quality furnishings and equipment! Unfortunately, many people are simply after what they can get and home burglaries are on the rise in most areas. So how can we prevent these criminals from obtaining our belongings? This handy guide from Rattan Direct has some great ideas and here are a few tips from me to you.

Did you know that between July 2016 and June 2017, almost 400,000 homes were burgled in the UK - and those are just the incidents that were reported to the police? London was the most heavily impacted, hosting 80% of the postal codes that reported break-ins and domestic thefts. 

Thieves often target the master bedroom first as this is where they expect the biggest amount of ‘loot’ to be - loose cash, wallets, purses, electrical appliances such as smartphones and laptops etc. Jewellery is also enticing for them. Did you know furniture is also becoming a popular target too?

Make sure your doors and windows are locked

Not all burglaries are smash and grabs - very often there is an unlocked door or window that the burglar can use to break in. Ensuring your locks are always locked when you aren’t in the room is the safest way to stop any burglaries from taking place.

Be wary of door to door salespeople and always ask for ID

Statistics also suggest that plenty of homeowners have been conned by strangers who pose as door to door salespeople and are allowed to enter the property. Always ask for ID and if you don’t feel right about someone, don’t let them in. If you live in a flat there are various door access control solutions such as those by Advance Systems that can provide an added layer of security.

At work during the day? Invest in a security system

Most burglaries actually take place during daylight hours when most people are out of the house at work - between 10am and 3pm. An experienced thief can take less than 10 minutes to get what they want and go. If you know you won’t be at home, an alarm or CCTV should help prevent such occurrences. Statistics also suggest that burglars often live close to their targets so they could know your movements - another reason home security is a must. You can check out security systems like the Vivint security system, their smart home app allows you to check in on your home from any location. For a Vivint price check here.

Lock away your garden items if you can

Garden thefts have increased in recent years as they are easier for thieves to access. Bicycles are an obvious popular target so lock yours up and make sure it is stamped with a serial number. Power tools are also popular, even ladders too - so make sure these are locked away safely. Did you know garden furniture is the second most often reported item of personal theft, after wallets and purses? Bolt down your furniture if you can and maybe invest in furniture covers so they can’t necessarily see what is on offer. Perhaps invest in some outdoor storage for your outdoor items too!

Finally, keep your pets safe

When thinking about home and garden security, people often forget about pets. The stealing of dogs has always been popular and you would hate for yours to be stolen. Make sure your dog is microchipped and kept inside when you aren’t home. Be vigilant as dog thieves often work as a gang and keep an eye out for chalk marks on your perimeter - this is sometimes used as a message to other thieves about what is inside. For pets who live outside, keep their homes secured and check on them regularly.

So how many burglars get captured?

Unfortunately, only one in 10 of these crimes is usually solved with only 5% ending in prosecution. They can be extremely difficult to solve and are starting to be considered low priority in comparison to violent crime. The return of stolen goods isn’t always guaranteed either so make sure to make notes of any possibly enticing items - write down serial numbers of your electronics, any distinguishing markings on jewellery and any other information that could possibly identify your items. 

You can find out more about how to protect yourself from criminals at defencesolicitorslondon.co.uk, a useful online resource. 

Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your home and garden safe - how many do you already do?


How To Stay Healthy While On Vacation

Holidays are great! Whether you like to sightsee, or relax, soak up the culture or stay close to your hotel, but one thing we often do on holiday is indulging a little too much. I'm all for this too. Having that extra dessert, or that one too many burgers, but if you travel a lot like me then that indulgence will soon mean that your weight could slowly creep up and you might not want this. Jet 2, the low-cost holiday company asked me to write about my tips on how to stay healthy on holiday so here they are.


Try and have a healthy breakfast as this will stop you eating rubbish for the rest of the day. If you have a buffet breakfast put in front of you, indulge in a full cooked breakfast by all means but try and have your eggs scrambled or poached rather then fried, avoid anything like fried bread and be sure to have fresh fruit, fruit juice, a smoothie bowl or a fruit smoothie if available.


If you have had a large breakfast have a light lunch, of soup, salad or fruit. If you are tempted by the regional delicacies of pastries and cakes then have one here instead of lunch, and avoid anything else.


If you normally have fries with everything consider healthier options such as rice or couscous if available. Choose white meat such as chicken and fish over red meat such as lamb or beef for a change. Look for dishes that are colourful and have lots of vegetables such as stir-fries and avoid anything too creamy.


If you enjoy a drink then instead of drinking cocktails, beer, wine or lager all night, have a soft drink in between or sparkling water that has no calories, to pace yourself. Mocktails are a tasty alternative to cocktails without the alcohol just be careful of the sugar content.

Food safety

To avoid an upset stomach go to places where the food is freshly cooked if possible. If you are going to a buffet go at a busy time to ensure that there is a high turnover of the f
ood and that it isn't waiting all day on a hot plate. It is especially good if you can watch the food being cooked in front of you. If you are not sure if the water is safe then drink bottled water and avoid foods washed in the local water like salads. This is why it's important to gather all available travel health information on your destination before you make concrete plans.  


Nothing ages like the sun so ensure you put on sun protection if you are going to be outside a lot. Apply frequently and cover yourself over when the sun is at its hottest, from noon to 2pm. A sunhat is a great holiday accessory to protect your face from the sun and rash vests also help protect and are especially good for little kids. Don’t forget though to apply sun cream to any exposed areas and reapply on a regular basis. Don’t forget to take good quality sunglasses to protect your eyes.


Taking a flight can make you an increased risk of DVT or deep vein thrombosis, so on a flight over 3 hours, go for a walk and exercise your ankles. Flights on the Dreamliner planes are good to help prevent jet lag so you are going long haul try and check out airlines that use these.


If you enjoy sightseeing then exploring a city or area can walk off the calories. Some hotels may have a gym or run exercise classes too. If you like jogging then take your trainers and ask at the hotel if there is a safe area to run outside. Swimming is a gentle exercise suitable for all so if you have access to a pool make use of it. If you are on a beach holiday check out if the water is safe for swimming and if so indulge. Yoga classes are a great way to exercise and help your mental well-being as well and some hotels and resorts do offer these in today’s day and age.

Mental health

Do things on holiday that make you happy. whether that is sightseeing, or staying by the pool. It’s good to give back to the local economy and this can make you feel good as well, whether you book a local tour, shop for handicrafts or eat in the authentic restaurants. Consider visiting a spa for treatments and to relax or rejuvenate yourself while you have the time. Activity holidays are great fun and you could learn a new skill and keep you mentally alert, like cooking, yoga, art or rock climbing. 

pin for later

These are just some guidelines and things to bear in mind and as always balance is key. Of course, if you do overindulge don’t worry about it just cut back a little when you are back home, eat healthier and take more exercise until you lose the pounds again. With my tips, I hope you can see there are ways to enjoy yourself on holiday but still be healthy. Check out Keene On Food for more ideas. Sometimes I just wish I would take my own advice!

Tell me how do you look after yourself when on holiday?

*In collaboration with Jet2

Replacing My Heating System

I've recently been thinking about completing some more home renovation. We have lived here for a while now and like most people, I have got to the point where I would like to make some changes. Of course a slap of paint here, a change of decor there doesn’t take much effort but the bigger jobs require that little more time.

Not long ago I had my kitchen renovated and I finally have a kitchen I am happy with but now is the time to focus on the rest of my property. With my son at university, I am keen to revamp my home whilst he is away. It can be so easy to get tied up in all the things going on in our lives and not realise the stuff you want to change until there are multiple jobs to be done around the house. I know I have got a few things on my list of things I want to do around my home!

So many people I know have had their boilers replaced recently and I am thinking about it too - mine has been in for many, many years and I think it is slowly starting to give up the ghost. I’d love an instant hot water supply from a tap - it takes ages for my heating system to heat up enough and I end up standing there for ages, just for some hot water. I am keen to get a heating system that gives me that instant hot water supply - a system that uses circulating pumps to help save energy by not heating a large tank of water and also saving me from wasting a load of water too. How great would it be to be able to do the washing up almost straight away rather than having to run the tap for ten minutes wasting water waiting for it to heat up? It would be great to have a modern up-to-date way of adjusting the heating too, with a tablet attached to the wall. 

I’ve been researching up on different home heating systems to see which one may be the best for me as it is always wise to be well informed about certain topics and your home is something you definitely need to be informed about.

There are a few different things to consider when it comes to home heating - central heating which is what I am definitely leaning towards due to the energy saving and instant hot water element; wood heating which burns organic material to provide heat and hot water; immersion heaters and storage heaters and perhaps even renewable energy. Whilst renewable energy is something I would love to consider, it isn’t feasible in my current property. It would be great to reduce your carbon footprint if you can.

Hopefully, I will get started on some new renovations soon - it is just a case of sorting out my budget, working out what I definitely want to do and researching what needs to be done. Fingers crossed I can get everything ticked off my list very soon, get the changes I want doing and make my property be exactly what I want once more.

*PR collaboration

Best Golfing Resorts To Visit In Winter

If playing golf in hat, gloves and waterproofs doesn't appeal to you, this is a good time to plan a getaway to escape the wintery UK weather. The world is full of beautiful golf courses and many of them are bathed in year-round sunshine so why suffer the British weather, you have a plane to catch!

Short Haul

If it's not baking sun you're seeking and you're willing to don long trousers and a comfortable golf sweater, then a short haul flight will get you to Spain and Portugal where the skies are blue and the weather is fine and mild. The Canaries, in particular, offers glorious year-round springtime. Tecina Golf on the picturesque island of La Gomera is a great choice. After a short boat ride from Los Cristianos port, you will find yourself positioned in an idyllic setting on a cliff top with an ocean view and volcanic backdrop.

Slightly further afield and a 3-4-hour flight, you will discover some of the most fantastic courses that North Africa has to offer in Tunisia and Morocco. Choose a resort in Agadir, Morocco for some excellent courses, a sea view and lovely beaches. In Tunisia, you can often find 5* luxury for 4* prices at the golf resorts there. Try the Yasmine Hammamet and Monastir for great courses and an exotic backdrop of camels and flamingos.

Long Haul

If what you're looking for is a real winter warmer with guaranteed hot sunshine, and you're willing to hop on a long-haul flight then the world is your oyster. North America offers a wealth of world-class courses and resorts. For a tropical retreat with balmy air, warm sea and post-game rum cocktails, Barbados could be the place for you. The Royal Westmoreland or Sandy Lane's Green Monkey are good choices but there are many more besides. Just watch out for the ball snatching monkeys!

The Sunshine State of Florida also has numerous fantastic options for a golfing break including four Disney courses and the Trump National but for a more understated holiday try Saddlebrook which offers two great courses and fabulous beaches nearby.

You may never have considered Asia as an option for a golfing break but there are many unusual and wonderful offerings including top-notch golf bags, to be discovered.. How about a beautiful and exotic Banyan Tree resort in Vietnam with courses by Faldo, Norman and Montgomerie nearby on the coast close to Danang. With some amazing sightseeing opportunities thrown in, this is a very special option for a winter break.

Sri Lanka also offers a refreshing change from the norm. 11 hours away, you could be playing golf in a humid jungle valley taking in views of the tea plantations. Sri Lanka represents excellent value for money and the Royal Colombo Golf Club can hold its own against some of the best resorts in the world.

There are a plethora of golfing resorts to think about – so there’s really no reason to rest your game this winter; just enjoy playing somewhere different!

*Guest post

Things to Consider When Hiring a Party or Wedding Band

It is always great fun hosting a party for your friends and family. Nothing beats getting everyone together to enjoy great food and drink and the chance to dance the night away. Great memories are created at events like this, whether it's a special birthday, anniversary, wedding or something else.

If you are planning a special event hiring the right band will make all of the difference. Aside from looking through entertainment sites like Alive Network, the tips below will help you to do exactly that.

Choose an experienced party band

The band you hire needs to play together regularly. Vibetown of Leeds is a great example of the kind of band I suggest you consider hiring. They have plenty of experience and offer an extensive playlist.

See them play

If you can, take the time to go and see them play live. A lot of wedding and party bands play local venues during the week. Failing that ask them if they have videos and recordings of themselves performing live. All of the best bands do. Or you can check out their website, most Bristol wedding bands like Switch have a playlist of songs on their website.

Pre-agree the playlist

You need to sit down and put together a playlist with the band. If there are any special songs or family favourites that you want to be played, double-check that the band is able to perform them. Whenever possible, listen to them actually playing that track. This is important because every band interprets a song slightly differently, so knowing how they are going to play it in advance is a good idea.
Fraudio's Wedding Band Hertfordshire plays a mix of popular indie rock like Coldplay and the Beatles plus many more familiar songs to keep everyone on the dance floor all night. So it's important to see how they will sound on the night.

Ask the band for their input

It is important to include a variety of tracks. This ensures that the music being played will appeal to all of your guests, rather than just a few. That way, more people will want to get up and enjoy a dance. A good band will happily give you suggestions. They play a lot of events, so really know what tracks are the most popular with party or wedding guests. However, if you want another source of inspiration, just click the link. There you will find a list of popular songs that will get you started.

Agree on the price and the details

It is important to get a written quote that lists out exactly what is included in the price. Most bands will need to take a break during the evening. You need to know what time this will happen and for how long, so you can fill that time with either a DJ, speeches or another form of entertainment.

Check the venue rules

Before you can agree on some of these details you will need to understand the rules of the venue you are holding your party at. Most stipulate the hours between which music can be played and PA systems used. It is really important that both you and the band are aware of the rules and abide by them. You really do not want the police turning up to ask you to wrap your party up.

Make sure the band can access the venue early

You should never assume that the venue will open up early to allow the band access to set up their kit, always check. Usually, a band member will check out the venue in advance to make sure that they have enough space to set up their sound system, microphones and instruments.

Provided you follow these simple tips, your event should go well. Have you ever hired a band? 

*Collaborative post

Win Beautiful Jewellery From Dower And Hall Ends 22/11

In the good old days, P.B. or pre-blogging, I had a small family run high street jewellers. We prided ourselves on selling the best quality jewellery for the style-conscious man and woman, and this is where I first came across Dower and Hall. 

Dower and Hall are a British company founded by husband and wife team Dan and Diane. Their passion for jewellery shines through in their beautiful designs. From engagement rings with the best quality diamonds, to more fashion-led luxurious jewellery made in a range of metals, Dower and Hall jewellery does not disappoint.  

Nomad collection

One of my favourite collections is the Nomad collection. This collection is inspired by the organic shapes found in nature, from pebbles on the seashore to the desert landscape of Africa. Many of the items in this collection have a beaten look and an irregular shape but are still extremely glamorous. I have a sterling silver nugget bracelet from this range which I adore. Keep reading to see how you can win one too!

Gemstone collection

Another range which I find incredibly pretty is the Gemstone collection. With stunning precious amethysts, blue topaz, dazzling diamond and stunning sapphire, the range is individual and unique and perfect for special birthdays, anniversaries and keepsakes.

Cherish What's Inside collection

The Cherish What's Inside collection, is a collection whereby you can personalise your own beautiful locket. Choose from a range of exquisite charms from cocktails to hearts, lucky clovers to 21 charms. I adore the little boy charm, which is super cute as well as the angel treasure charm. The Cherish What's Inside locket is a locket you can keep close to your heart, forever more.

Twinkle collection

The Twinkle collection, which has been a much-loved collection for some time now has new additions. Sparkling rainbow jewels, mix with ombre tones and vivid stones to make a vibrant range perfect for the Christmas party season.  My favourites in this range include the statement cuff studded with bright stones and the opal bracelet that catches the light beautifully.

Sterling silver small Nomad nugget bracelet £195

As you can see all the jewellery from Dower and Hall is exceptionally beautiful and today on my blog I am giving my lucky readers the chance to win a Nomad nugget bracelet. This classic bracelet in sterling silver retails at £195 and is finished with a T-Bar clasp. Simply stunning.

Entry is via the Rafflecopter application below. It's not as hard as it looks to enter, honestly, so why don't you give it a go! Check out my other competitions when you are here too. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions
My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only.
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter
Please allow 28 days for delivery
No automated entries
Giveaway ends midnight on 22/11/2017

Good Luck!

Discovering Incredible Sicily

If you’re looking for your next holiday spot, Italy is an amazing destination that you and your travel companion should really consider. It really is an incredibly unique destination in that it has something to offer everybody at any time of year; sun, snow, sea, mountains, lakes, cities there really is something for any kind of holiday. Because of this Italy is, of course, a hugely popular holiday destination for tourists from all over the world; meaning at certain times of year you may find the more popular destinations full of tourists.

One part of Italy that has managed to retain its incredible unspoilt nature and authentic traditional way of life in Sicily. Not only will your camera roll be full of photos by the end of your trip, you will also make some of the best memories of your life. Here are a few things to look forward to.

Beautiful Beaches

If you’re planning on visiting Sicily during the summer, you are in for a treat. Thanks to its crystal clear water Sicily boasts many of the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy and indeed Europe. Its deep blue coloured waters are so transparent you can see some of the incredible sea life below.

The waters are great for scuba diving and water sports, though even a run of the mill snorkel will allow you to see the wondrous sea life below the waves. The beaches are definitely one of the highlights of the Italian island not only for the water but of course for the sunshine, clean sand and beachside bars serving the fresh catches of the day.

Amazing Accommodation

Leave the hotel behind and choose an original accommodation for your holiday. You can rent a place to stay owned by locals, which is often near the beach and will allow you plenty of room, privacy and a real home from home!

Local companies such as WishSicily have a really impressive array of Sicily villas with pools throughout the island meaning whether you fancy somewhere next to the beach, or in a little provincial town, you can find a lovely place to stay. Freedom if you have children and don’t want to book more rooms in a hotel; freedom if you want to buy your own food and eat some of your meals at home; and even just the simple freedom of feeling at home in another country!

Fantastic Food

Markets offering a selection of local produce, fresh fruit and vegetables and famously good Sicilian street food means you’re never going to go hungry on your trip - even if your budget is limited. Check out the food markets in Catania for example. If you have a villa it can be a smart move to buy local ingredients and cook at home in order to save money and cater to the kids, however eating at a restaurant at least once during your stay is an absolute must. You will find lots of delicious options on the menu.

Sicily is known for its fish dishes, freshly caught and cooked using ingredients local ingredients to make incredibly delicious meals. You also have many pasta options depending on what your taste is. If seafood isn’t your thing you needn’t worry as there are so many dishes it’s impossible not to find something you fancy. The flavours are out of this world when it comes to authentic Sicilian cuisine, and you can’t forget dessert either as many of Italy’s most famous sweets originate from Sicily.

Happening History

Of course, Italy is known for its fascinating historical heritage, and Sicily is no different from the rest of the boot, being full of important and perhaps surprising history. Not only does it have two volcanoes (that you can hike and visit) but it also has spectacular ancient architecture. Considering the various different cultures that have inhabited the island over the course of its long history, the architecture has been shaped and evolved along with it. All over the island, you will find unique monuments of those that were there before us, and realize how much Sicily was touched by them. Take a stroll through the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, or visit the ancient Greek amphitheatre in Taormina- you will not be disappointed.

So, if you were questioning where your next postcard should be sent from, I hope I’ve convinced you that Sicily is where your plane needs to land. Obviously, you can’t see everything in one trip, but what you do see will have you looking to come back again for more!

Bathroom Cabinet Review With JD Williams

I've been looking for that perfect bathroom cabinet for a while.  Something that is stylish, sleek, modern and functional. Well, I think I've found it, finally! A white gloss console cabinet from JD Williams.

A couple of years ago, we took a big step, saved up our pennies and had a new bathroom fitted. Now bathrooms cost a lot of money and I became a little obsessed with finding the right accessories. We bought a metal bathroom cabinet from a well-known home store in Wales but were really disappointed in it when it became rusty in no time, the glass became scratched and the metal fixtures broke off.  We were not amused. I sound like the Queen! 

So when JD Williams the catalogue company contacted me and asked if I wanted to review for them, my first thought was to see if they had a bathroom cabinet that would fit perfectly into our bathroom. Luckily they did.

The white gloss console unit bathroom cabinet from JD Williams is part of the white gloss bathroom range, with other coordinating pieces available. 

The cabinet came, flat packed, and was fairly straightforward to make but you do need a screwdriver, so allow 20 to 30 minutes to put it together. It's made of a melamine material with a shiny gloss finish.

There are three shelves on the cabinet and these are sectioned up, the right area is open and the left is closed with a door. 

The handle and hinges inside are made of a silver metal in a frosted finish and look decent quality. The cabinet feels quite heavy and will not move easily if you knock it.

The cabinet has a sleek contemporary look which we really like. It fits into our bathroom perfectly and is big enough for our toiletries. I would say it is big enough to store products for two adults and a child or two. It is easy to wipe clean and looks fairly straightforward to look after. The cabinet seems impervious to water due to the gloss finish, however, if you did spill anything else I would wipe it up immediately in case it damaged the gloss finish. Although I haven't shown this, inside I decided to line the shelves with a plastic material to protect the surface from spills of hair products and nail varnish remover. You can never be too safe.

The white gloss console unit bathroom cabinet is priced at £79. For the size and quality of the item, I feel this is a fair price. I am really pleased with this cabinet. and would definitely recommend it to others. It's smart, it's chic and it does what you need it to do. 

JD Williams often has offers for new customers, so it's always worth checking out their website to see if they have a discount available when you place your first order.

Tell me have you ever ordered from JD Williams? Did you know they did homewares?

Claiming Compensation On Flight Delays

Have you ever been delayed on a flight? I have. But do you know your rights when it comes to flight delays? Did you know you are entitled to some financial compensation if your delay goes over a certain time? My husband and I were delayed going to Orlando due to engine problems on the aeroplane. We managed to leave before the time period in which we could claim compensation though.

So what are your rights when it comes to flight delays? We travel quite often so have been researching to know exactly what to do in certain situations and what we are entitled to if required.

Every year, flights are overbooked, delayed, diverted or cancelled. Travellers are left frustrated and are left inconvenienced by this. The Flight Compensation Regulation (261/2004) is a piece of EU legislation that has set rules for the compensation that passengers can claim in these instances. The EU Court of Justice also strictly imposes air passenger rights so airlines must adhere to policies, accommodating passengers and providing refreshments if their flight is delayed.

If passengers are departing from or arriving at an EU airport, these regulations apply to them. Passengers from outside the EU are also included if they are arriving at an EU airport and the airline is based in an EU member state.

I bet the idea of claiming flight compensation seems quite stressful and a lot of hard work. But what if I told you there were companies out there ready to help you claim any compensation you are entitled to. If you are wanting to claim for a flight delay but think the process may be quite difficult, then perhaps consider a company like Flight Delay Claims 4 U.

Flight Delay Claims 4 U offer a no win, no fee so there really is nothing to lose. There is also no initial fee. They also offer access to specialist flight compensation solicitors - these qualified solicitors will take on your claim and use air passenger rights and case law to achieve the best result they can for you. They also have a dedicated flight delay claims team so you can track the progress of your claim as the company helps you seek compensation for your delayed flight.

If your flight has been delayed for three hours or more, you could be entitled to up to £540 compensation. The company has a 98% success rate in court which is great. They also have a live flight delay and cancellations feed where you can claim to. What should you do if your flight is delayed? You need to gather information, take photos and keep all official airline documents such as letters, tickets and vouchers.

Pin for later

Whilst we haven’t yet had to claim compensation as we haven’t ever been delayed for long enough, it is always a risk when flying as much as we do and knowing our rights is key to knowing where we stand. After all, rules and regulations are there for a reason and are there to protect us.

Have you ever been delayed for a long period of time when travelling?

*PR collaboration

Hotel Chocolat Tasting Box Competition Ends 12/11

Hotel Chocolat, the luxury chocolate company makes the perfect chocolates which make excellent gifts but did you know that they also have a tasting club? No? Well, let me tell you all about it here.

The chocolate subscription club is a service that means once a month you get a special edition box of delicious chocolates delivered to your door. What's especially cool is that you are given a chance to rate the chocolates and influence future selections through your scores as well as getting the chance to taste experimental chocolates before they hit the shelves.

So I was given a box to try. The chocolates were delicious as always. I have to admit I am a big fan of this chocolate brand so it's hard to be objective! My favourites were the raspberry pannacotta, with lush fresh raspberry flavours, and the peach and jasmine, a sweet delightful and fruity centre enrobed in white chocolate.

In fact, all the chocolates were delightful and really high quality, you could tell by the taste. That's because they use best cocoa powder in the chocolates, cocoa powder from cocoa farmers they support in St Lucia.

I also like the mix of white, milk and dark chocolates in the box, a little something for everyone really. Every month, the box is unique and especially chosen by their in-house chocolatiers, and every month they create new and delectable chocolates for their customers to try.

If you sign up, your first box will be delivered to your door within 5 days and at the moment your first box is only £9.99 with a bag of free chocolate 'gemstones' too. A great deal I think you will admit.

Today on my blog I am giving you a chance to win a one-month tasting box of from Hotel Chocolat worth £22.99.  Entry is easy via the Gleam app below. While you are here don't forget to check out the other competitions I have running too. Good luck!

Win a Hotel Chocolat tasting box worth £22.99

Terms and Conditions

You must be 18 + to enter 
Open to entrants in the UK only
One entry per household 
Winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending. 
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw 
Please allow 28 days for delivery 
Closing date 2017-11-12 11:59:59 PM

Sprucing Up Your Home This Autumn With Apollo Blinds

In the Autumn I like to think about sprucing my home up. It's the perfect time of year, just before Christmas, and by injecting some freshness with new furnishings and fittings, your home will get a transformation in no time, ready for the busy Christmas period.

This year the cool Autumn trends in colours are inky blues, amethyst and terracotta. 

Inky blue hues, amethyst and terracotta have been trending all year. Inky blue is a versatile colour and fits well with tones of sage green and grey colourways whilst rich amethyst shades will bring warmth to a colour scheme. With both these colours, metallic and silver shades will compliment the shades perfectly, whilst crystal accessories will lighten it all up. Another trending colour is terracotta, and this is the perfect colour to create a cosy welcoming home when mixed with warm amber, citrine and tourmaline hues.

Now, something I really need for my home this Autumn is new blinds. The blinds in my office are old and beige and are totally not me. An injection of colour would be the perfect way to show my personality and bring our home bang up-to-date.  For our bedroom, I would be looking at a floral print to match a duvet cover I have and for the lounge a cream, beige and brown design to coordinate with the muted natural tones of the furnishings I have. This is where You Choose from Apollo Blinds comes in. 

You Choose is a bespoke roller and roman blinds service, from Apollo Blinds, one of the UK's largest providers of made-to-measure blinds. 

The service allows you to choose from a massive selection of over 270 materials in their soft cloth blind range. Want a roller blind in this seasons must have inky blue colour? No problem. Want a Roman blind in a leaf and flower print? Of course! What about a simple black and white stripe? Easy to do. If you want a funky print for your child's bedroom you can have that too.

You Choose also work with iconic home designer brands such as Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely and Josef Frank, so you have the designer look, with a made-to-measure service and no expensive mistakes that can happen when you make your own blinds at home. In fact, I wouldn't know where to start with making my own blinds, I've been to three sewing classes and I still can't sew! That's the genius of the You Choose blinds. You get a bespoke made-to-measure service, so blinds for any shape window, even difficult sizes, with the most amazing array and choice of fabric.   Even if you can't find the pattern you like in their range they will go out of their way to help you find that perfect design that will coordinate with everything.

The Apollo Blinds You Choose service starts from £84 and I think is a reasonable price for that luxury service. The only problem with the You Choose service is which design to pick!  

Let me know, would you use a service like this? What style of print would you have on a bespoke blind?

*PR collaboration

High Quality Photo Service Artsy Couture Review and Giveaway Ends November 8th

Artsy Couture is a website with simple goals - to provide the consumer with the highest quality, most innovative photo products at amazing price points.

Starting out in 2012 in a small two-car garage with just a dream, many sleepless nights and one product, the company was built and launched for the professional photography market. Based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, USA, they now operate out of two production facilities and are run by a fantastic team.

Artsy Couture has evolved over time and today is a full-service boutique photo lab that offers an array of premium products, for the professional photographer as well as the average person taking photos for a hobby. They ensure that the quality of the products are exceptional and strive to bring innovative products to their consumers on a regular basis.

I’ve been taking a look at the site recently and have really been liking what they have to offer. So much so that I have created a wishlist of the items I think I would most like in and around my home.

Canvas Wrap

With a solid wood base and the tightest cleanest corners you’ll ever see on a canvas, these canvas wraps look amazing and I would love one in my home - it would be a hard decision to pick which photo to put on it though! Do I choose a family picture, perhaps a picture of my son, or do I choose one of the many scenes from our travels? The choice is very tough!

These wraps come with a thick black backing that comes standard with hanging hardware and wall bumpers meaning it is ready to hang. The product also has a UV-free protective coating which means it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

Custom USB Drive

As a blogger and freelancer, USB and hard drives are a staple part of my equipment. What better way to set my USB drive apart from the rest than with a custom USB drive? You can choose between 8GB or 16GB and you can choose from wood or standard (durable plastic). They are around the size of a standard business card and will make a real talking point - you could use your photographic images or perhaps even your logo on it!

Professional Photo Prints

We all love a good photo print, don’t we? It is easy to see why professional photographers value Artsy Couture so much. Using only the highest quality Kodak Endura professional papers (with the choice of Lustre - a satin-like sheen with a modestly textured surface - or Metallic - a high-gloss paper with distinctive pearlescent finish), the papers are meant to be enjoyed for a lifetime.

What I love best is that there are so many ways you can customise your prints - from choosing one of the aforementioned paper types to perhaps even adding a linen texture to your prints which gives them a deep linen quality finish and a fine art feel.

There’s even a variety of mounting choices - you can choose from 100% eco-friendly bamboo to styrene and more. You could even purchase a custom presentation box to store your prints in.

These would be great not only for a professional photographer for your clients but also for someone just like me - a mother, a blogger, and someone who loves travelling. I am always taking photos so it would be nice to have some hard copies of my memories to look through.

Custom Photo Albums

These photo albums are absolutely incredible - with genuine Italian leather album covers and embossing available in black, silver or gold, these albums really do scream luxury. Buyers can choose between two premium paper types - deep matte photo paper (a 100% non-reflective paper with an elegant and smooth finish) or lustre photo paper (showcases the colours and contrasts that a glossy print would have but without a reflective glare). 
This would be perfect for storing all my memories from the travels I have gone on with my husband - although I would probably be tempted to buy one for each trip we went on!

With the choice of two different paper types, two different sizes, six different covers and four different page counts, you can really create a unique product personal to you. It is little wonder photographers are using Artsy Couture when they are producing premium good quality unique products such as this.

The Artsy Couture website certainly has a lot to offer consumers.  - whilst their original goal was to provide photographers with high-quality innovative photo products at affordable price points, they’ve definitely achieved that and more - and I can see people such as myself and my friends beginning to use them regularly for all our photo product needs. I can’t wait to see what’s to come in 2018!

Today on my blog I am giving my readers a chance to win an Artsy Couture canvas wrap of up to $150 in value. All you have to do is enter the competition below. The competition is open to those from the UK and USA who are 18 or older. 

While you are here don't forget to check out the other competitions I have running too. Good luck!

Win an Artsy Couture Canvas Wrap up to $150

Terms and conditions

You must be 18 + to enter 
Open to entrants in the UK and USA only
One entry per household 
The winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending.
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw
Please allow 6 weeks for delivery 
Closing date 2017-11-08 11:59:59 PM

The Plaza Premium Lounge Terminal 2 Heathrow Airport Review

Recently on a trip to Iceland, I had the opportunity to review the Plaza Premium Lounge at Terminal 2 Heathrow.

I am a big fan of executive lounges having tried the Virgin lounge at Heathrow, the No 1 lounge at Gatwick and Heathrow and the Executive Lounge at Cardiff airport. So it would be good to try out the Plaza Premium Lounge at Terminal 2 Heathrow.  There are a number of lounges at Heathrow Terminal 2 so it would be good to see how this compares. 

The Plaza Premium lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2 is situated after departure.

On arrival, we checked in at the reception desk, who welcomed us and advised us of the Wi-Fi password.  The Zen-inspired lounge has mood lighting, lots of space and is decorated in muted tones of creams, browns and beige. One of the first things I noticed was that the music playing was relaxing adding to the overall ambience of the lounge.

There are a few of different areas to sit, most with comfy chairs and sofas and a high table area with power points.
There is a bar area where you can order your drinks. Wine and lager are included in the price, as well as soft drinks, tea and coffee and some spirits. Tea and coffee are available from a machine and cans of drink are in a nearby fridge. You do have to pay for certain premium spirits. There was a selection of snacks on the bar which was a nice touch including nuts, olives and tortilla chips.

We sat down and made ourselves comfortable before going to the main serving area for food. We had just missed breakfast at 11.15am so the lunch options were out instead.

The food area had a selection of cold and hot dishes including some vegetarian options such as vegetable frittata, chick pea tagine, potato wedges and Cajun veg

There was a decent salad selection, with cheeses and meat including salami and ham.

A tempting bread selection with butter and Flora was also available.

We decided to try the hot options and were pleasantly surprised. The chicken tikka masala was full of flavour with a touch of spice, whilst the rice was light and fluffy and not stodgy. The chicken stew was also a tasty dish, and in combination with the peas, cauliflower and sweetcorn available as a side dish it made a great nutritionally balanced meal. 

If you have a sweet tooth or only wanted a snack, double chocolate muffins were available as well as croissants. My son headed straight for these and demolished a load in no time! If you wanted something healthier fruit salad was available as well as apples.

Wellness options are available in a seperate area, at a cost and these include manicures from £35 and a selection of different massages from £15. 

What did I think of the lounge? The Plaza Premium lounge at Heathrow is the perfect place to get away from the crowds. It's definitely a 'grown-up' lounge, and has a classy feel to it, with mood lighting and chilled out music playing. Children are welcome but there is no children's play area or other facilities for them.  The food options were decent and you could have a full meal if you wanted it, thus saving you money elsewhere. Alcohol, as well as hot and cold drinks, are included. There would be no problem having a few drinks before your flight, but I would think getting drunk would be frowned upon.

Ports to charge your laptop were available as well as a selection of reading materials including newspapers and magazines and Wi-Fi was free. Staff were pleasant enough. Would we pay again to use the Plaza Premium Lounge? Whilst prices are not cheap at £35 for two hours, if you could afford it then it is definitely a great way to start a special holiday. 

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Tell me what do you think of the lounge? Do you use airport lounges when you go on holiday?