Top Must Do Attractions In Cardiff Wales

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is a vibrant bustling city perfect for a weekend away. What is just so perfect about Cardiff is that the centre, with its theatres, big brand shops, and independent boutiques and cafes, is easily walkable. It's a short car ride from my hometown on the South Wales coast, so we visit often and really love the city.

At the moment most of us can't travel in the UK, but when restrictions are lifted, and it's safe to do so, I can really recommend visiting Cardiff for a fun-filled city break.

Here are some of my top attractions in Cardiff. This is an advertorial.

Take in the history at Cardiff Castle



Cardiff castle stands in the centre of the city and is one of Wales' leading historic attractions. It consists of a medieval castle and Victorian Gothic revival mansion, as well as an original motte and bailey castle built in the 11th century by Norman invaders on top of a 3rd century Roman fort. It's a really interesting place to visit for all you history buffs out there, and it also holds music concerts too. Tickets to visit the castle are £14.50 per adult, and £10 per child, with under 5's free and family tickets available too.

Shop the independent shops and eat in the independent cafes



Cardiff is known for its independent shops and cafes especially in the Victorian and Edwardian arcades. Hawkes Essentials is a stylish menswear shop favoured by Mr W and check out The Plan cafe, for a great cup of coffee and some healthy salads, both in Morgan Arcade. Other favourites include Cameraland and Wally's Deli which is almost a Cardiff institution in the Royal Arcade and Crystals, for well-priced jewellery in Castle Arcade. Outside of the arcades, a cute little place for some refreshments is Pettigrew Tea Rooms where all the cakes are homemade, see the deliciousness above. 

Immerse yourself in an escape room



If you are visiting Cardiff and are looking for something different to do, especially with a small group of people, try one of the many escape rooms. If you are not sure what an escape room is, then let me explain, you are locked into a room for 60 minutes with other people and have to use your intellect to get out by solving the themed puzzles. It's great family-friendly fun although you can also do more adult games involving serial killers and unsolved murders! I can recommend Escape Reality as well as Adventure Rooms Cardiff which is our personal favourite.

See how the Welsh used to live at St Fagans 



St Fagans - the National Museum Of History in Wales, is an excellent museum within 10 to 15 minutes drive of the centre of the city. This open-air museum documents Welsh life from the past and is free to enter. Walk around the original buildings some of which have been dismantled and re-erected there. A highlight of our trip was the Gwalia Supply Co, a typical general store from the South Wales valleys and St Teilos church with its unexpected 15th-century paintings inside. For more details check out this post and video on St Fagans on the travel blog I write with my husband, Fly Drive Explore.

Take a stroll around Cardiff Bay



A 25-minute walk or little over a 5-minute drive from the centre of the city, Cardiff Bay is a lovely area to take a stroll. You can walk around the Cardiff Bay Barrage to the little town of Penarth, see the Norweigan church, which was built to serve the Norwegian sailors who docked in the city and take in a show at the Millenium Centre. There are also plenty of restaurants too as well as a brilliant science museum for kids called Techniquest. If you are interested in politics you can also tour The Senedd, designed by Richard Rogers, where the Welsh parliament make the laws of the land.

See how Wales evolved at the National Museum Cardiff

National Museum Of Cardiff

The National Museum of Cardiff is a free to enter museum, an easy walk from the main shopping area of Cardiff. With a great national history section exploring the evolution of Wales and art from the 1500s to the modern-day, it's worth spending some time here if you enjoy visiting museums. At the moment there is a great exhibition on the actor Richard Burton which I would love to see.

Where to stay in Cardiff


Ok, you can't stay in Cardiff Castle but Cardiff has a number of hotels to stay in, at a range of budgets. Our favourites include the Hilton, Hotel Indigo, Premier Inn and the Clayton hotel. If you want to stay in a serviced apartment have a look at SITU Serviced Apartments. Apartments are great if you want that extra space as city centre hotels typically have small rooms, and serviced apartments can be surprisingly affordable as well. 

So here is my guide to some of the top attractions in Cardiff. Let me know, have you been to Cardiff? Would you like to visit?

* Image National Museum of Cardiff creative commons copyright free

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The Things That Have Changed In Families in Lockdown And How They Haven't Really

Many things have changed for families over the past several months from not being able to see friends and extended family members, to holidays and days out being cancelled, to having to school from home. However, there are several things that still look very much the same. In a world that is constantly changing, It may be hard to see the things that have stayed the same and to focus on those good things.

Here are some of the similarities and differences in many family households as we continue into the new year.

Mornings: Things That Have Stayed The Same 


Mornings are still a struggle for most of us even if we’re not leaving the house. While we may have the luxury of having more time to get ready for school and work, these things will still start at a certain time - and everybody knows that deadlines are best completed at the 11th hour. So as parents, we’ll still have to contend with slow-moving children, somebody insisting that they no longer like the cereal they have asked you to buy or somebody in the house waking up on the wrong side of bed. 

Working from home and doing homeschooling should be much easier, right? No navigating the rush hour or dealing with that work colleague you don't get on with. Nope. In spite of not having everybody rush to the door with the right shoes on their feet and the right shirts on their backs, the mornings are still always going to be rushed!

It’s Noisy - All The Time 

woman in bath

Having everyone at home all the time was never going to be a quiet experience – especially when there is no physical place for anybody to go. Peace and quiet have gone out of the window since school started from home. Now that the weather is colder, kids are less likely to be incentivised by being sent out into the garden to play so you can enjoy a cup of coffee in peace. Many of us live in flats too, so there is no outside space. It means less time to ourselves. 

Make sure you try and have some time away from the kids, whether that is a bath in peace or half an hour watching your favourite programmes. It really is relentless.  Check out the top 73 apps for firestick for a choice of TV stations when you've watched everything else on normal tv.

You Get To See Your Kids Progress 

child reading

When you send your kids to school all day, you don’t get to see how they’re doing. We’ve all had those ‘How was school?’ ‘Fine’ ‘What did you do?’ ‘Nothing much’ conversations with our kids. It’s hard to know exactly what they’ve learnt about until parent/teacher conference time.

Now that we’re home with our kids and seeing just how much they have picked up in spite of these extraordinary circumstances. At school, you don’t get to see what they retain, what makes them tick and the things they enjoy and grow passionate about in real-time. Sure, you get to see it over time, but this is something so unique and beautiful about the times we are living in. 

We get to see more of how smart, fun, and creative out kids are which is the biggest privilege of them all.


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Easy Ways To Avoid Buying Bottled Water But Stay Dehydrated

Depending on where you are, the tap water may be unsafe to drink. Coupled with the unhealthiness of soft drinks, this has led to a surge in popularity for bottled water. As an unfortunate side effect, over 300 million plastic bottles are used globally per day. When you consider the fact that each plastic bottle takes over 700 years to decompose, it is not such a good sign for the environment. Take a look at these ways to drink more water without buying bottled water. They can make your carbon footprint a lot smaller.

1. Reuse Your Bottle

drinking water

Use a Berkey water filter to purify your drinking water. You can use it to fill a reusable bottle that you can take with you. It is a good idea to keep a bottle on you at all times. Use a stainless steel bottle or an insulated model to keep your drink cool when you're out in the sun. Remember to fill your bottle every morning. Remember to change filters regularly. This will keep your water pure and ensure that there are no contaminants or bacteria in it.

2. Boil Out the Contaminants

If you find that the perfect thing to energize you in the morning is a fresh glass of cold water, boil a kettle or a pot of tap water before you go to bed at night. It will cool down overnight and will be completely bacteria-free. You can drink a glass of the purified water at home and fill a reusable bottle with some to have on the go. If the taste doesn't appeal to you, carry some packets of a flavoured drink mix with you to add to your water.

3. Crack Open a Coconut


If you have the choice between a bottle of water or a coconut, think about enjoying some hydrating coconut water. It can not only keep you hydrated, but it is a delicious solution to your thirst. It also contains numerous benefits for your health. This solution is best to use while you are on vacation. In tropical areas, coconuts are much cheaper than they are in the United States. In many popular tourist destinations, the cost of a coconut (with a reusable bamboo straw) is comparable to the cost of bottled water.

4. Filter Your Water Via Reverse-Osmosis

One of the products that is endorsed by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is the iSpring. It works to purify and remineralise your water. It will pull all of the minerals out of the water to cleanse them and put then it will put them back again. The osmosis process presses your water through specially designed screens to clear it of contaminants. Drinking demineralised reverse-osmosis filtered water can cause your body to lose nutrients so it is important to get a filter that will provide a remineralisation service.

5. Make Your Water Taste Good


One way to make skipping your regular bottled water easier is to make the alternative irresistible. Try filtering some water at night and mixing in some powdered flavouring or sweetener, or add lemon juice, a slice of lemon and a little sugar.  Not only can this help you drink more water throughout the day but it is a pleasant change from plain water. Canned seltzer is also a popular drink. Cans, while not friendly to the environment, are more amenable than plastic bottles.

6. Invest in a Portable Steriliser

There are many products on the market today that can sterilize your drinking water by using the power of UV rays. The most popular is SteriPen. This portable water sterilizer can give you water that is free of bacteria and other contaminants. It has its own UV lamp that is activated by minerals in the water. Just stir it to destroy the harmful microbes and bacteria. It takes just three minutes to sterilize around 2 cups of water.

Drinking clean water is essential to living. Not only is it important for keeping us hydrated but it can help to strengthen our immune systems and help us stay fit. Unfortunately, clean drinking water is not always available but bottles are so hazardous to the environment. Use these simple tips to help you get potable water whenever you need it. They can make it so that you never feel the need to buy bottled water again.


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Are You Thinking About Starting Some Gardening Following Divorce?

If you’re going through a divorce, you’ll no doubt be looking for ways to help you get through such a difficult time. So, why not try gardening?

Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult things anyone is likely to experience. You’ll be forced to contend with the emotional fallout of separating from your partner, as well as having to make arrangements for your children and any shared finances.

If you’re going through a divorce with the help of a Bath, Birmingham or Bristol divorce lawyer, you’ll likely be looking for different ways to help you cope. What better way to do so than to partake in a spot of gardening?

Gardening has a wide range of benefits, both for your mental and physical health, which makes it a great hobby if you’re looking for ways to get through this trying time. But what exactly makes gardening so great? Keep reading to learn more…

How Can Gardening Help You Through Your Divorce?

Reduces Stress

woman gardening

Feeling overwhelmed during all this is completely understandable if you’re going through a divorce. You’ll have a million and one things to organise, and the rest of your life won’t stand still to help you solve them.

That’s where gardening can come in handy. It’s a fantastic stress reliever, as it can help to lower the stress hormone levels in your body. In fact, a research study found that gardening can lower your stress levels more than reading. 

Acts as a Mood Booster

Keeping up appearances is difficult during a divorce. Even if you’re putting on a brave face for your friends and family, you might still be finding your situation difficult to cope with. This can inevitably lead to feelings of anxiety, and sometimes even depression.

Gardening can act as a great mood booster if your divorce has you feeling blue. To back this up, multiple studies have taken place which saw people take part in ‘gardening interventions’, which helped to reduce mental health symptoms, such as depression.

Builds Up Your Self Esteem

Naturally, everyone’s circumstances are different when it comes to divorce, but feelings of low self-esteem are pretty universal. Your confidence may have been set back by experiencing such a difficult event, and you’ll need a bit of building back up.

That’s where gardening comes in handy. Taking part in simple forms of outdoor work can help you to build your confidence, as it allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment whilst also broadening your own skills. You don’t even have to be a green-fingered wizard to get started!

Gives You The Perfect Distraction

gardening

Divorces have the tendency to take over your life. So, if you don’t have the sort of job or personal life that allows you to regularly take your mind off your divorce, then you’re going to want to enjoy a hobby that gives you a much-needed distraction.

Gardening is great for that very reason. You’ll have the distraction of working to achieve a goal, as well as being able to embrace the outdoors.

Gives You A Sense Of Agency And Empowerment

Divorce can leave you feeling powerless, especially if the way everything has transpired is beyond your control. So, why not find a way of empowering yourself?

If you start gardening, you’ll have full control over your very own project. Want to plant a batch of carrots? Go for it. Always wanted to impress your neighbours with an extravagant flower bed? You’re the boss.

You get the picture – these small wins can go a long way when it comes to giving you back a sense of agency.

A Great Way To Get Physical Exercise

digging the ground

For some people, the last thing they are worried about following a divorce is physical exercise. Shying away from a jog around the block is understandable if you’re feeling low, but gardening can help to combine a stimulating hobby with great physical exercise!

It might seem a little cliché, but physical exercise is one of the best ways of helping to improve your mental health, which may have taken a big knock following your divorce. So, what better way to combine the two.

Helps You To Find A Community To Talk To

Feelings of isolation are completely natural following a divorce. To combat this, this new life chapter could mean that you have the chance to make a fresh start and get to know a whole new bunch of people.

There are bound to be a number of different gardening communities in your local area who can help you to get started if you’re a gardening newbie. Don’t be afraid to reach out; they’ll be more than happy to lend a hand!

Can Give You The Chance To Connect 
With Children

If you’re struggling to cope with your divorce, then your children are likely to be finding the situation even more difficult to come to terms with. This will mean that you’ll have to find ways of reaching out and connecting with them wherever you can.

Gardening is perfect for just that. It can give you the chance to work on a project together and to have natural conversations that can improve your bond with one another.

Are You Thinking About Starting Some Gardening Following Divorce?

plant

So, how does gardening sound now? If you don’t have any prior gardening experience, then it’s much easier than you might think to get started. All you need is a green space, a few simple tools and a bit of enthusiasm!

It will always take some time to get through a divorce, but getting stuck into some outdoor work can be the perfect way to start the next chapter in your life.

Are you already a keen gardener? Do you know any other ways that gardening might help someone to get through their divorce? Feel free to leave a comment below so we can get as much useful advice out there as possible!

3 Simple Ways To Make Your Everyday Dinners Exciting

Cooking dinner each night can often result in making the same meals. It is not often we all dive into recipe books, buy new ingredients, or try something different. We seem to make more of an occasion of trying new things when we eat out. But eating in can be just as fun. 

There are simple ways of making your meals exciting, by eating in different locations or eating with other people, both of which it is difficult to do at the moment. However there are some things you can do to make your home-based meals more exciting, like being more experimental, and that means with the types of meals you cook and how you cook it. Let's have a look at what they are.


Try A New Cuisine

It can be easy to get stuck in a routine of cooking the same dishes every week. The best way of stopping yourself from cooking the same meals is to introduce new cuisines into your diet. For example, you could put on an oriental spread by following Chinese New Year Recipes or try tapas by getting advice from a Spanish cookbook. There are so many cuisines you can get experimental with and have fun with. I find investing in some spice rubs or spice kits from a new cuisine good for this. You may not have all of the right equipment to make it traditional, but there are always tweaked recipes so that you can enjoy any international dish from the comfort of your own home. 

Cook Smaller Dishes Instead Of A Main


Cooking dinner does not mean you have to stick to cooking one main dish. Have fun by cooking lots of smaller dishes for yourself or your family to enjoy. Smaller tapas-style dishes can make an exciting array of flavours and cuisines. Small plates are a great way to make the perfect dinner party menu. The next time you are eating with a group of people at home, make a list of small dishes you would love to cook and have fun with them. Dinner is not just about one meal; it should involve a bit of fun and spontaneity too. 

Change Up The Timings

wok

If you have had a long day or are not a keen chef, then it can be easy to grab convenience foods and ready meals that may not be good for you. If you are lazy with cooking, you can make more out of your meals by slow cooking. Whether you are a meat-eater or a vegetarian, using a slow cooker can make your meals more flavoursome and cheap cuts of meat more tender with little to no effort. With slow cooking recipes, you just chuck it all into the slow cooker, add your liquid, such as stock, pop the lid on, set the heat and away you go, in 4 to 8 hours you have a hot meal.  If you do not have a slow cooker or wish to get one, why not buy a wok and stir fry everything? This quick way of cooking food, locks the flavour and nutrients in, just don't overcook it.  Be experimental with the timings and see what difference it makes to the dish’s flavour and texture.

There is no need to make dinner time a dull experience. These simple yet effective ideas can make any dinner time, weekday or weekend, exciting. Whether you are cooking for yourself or a group of people, it is always great to have fun in the kitchen and experiment with flavours, recipes, and cooking techniques. 

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5 Ways To Stay Warm And Cosy In Winter

If there is a cold spell where you live at the moment or if you know there is one coming up you may be concerned about keeping warm, especially if you are on a budget. There is nothing worse than sitting in your home in the cold, but with a little preparation you can be warm and cosy and it doesn't have to cost the earth. 

So here are some ideas for home to stay warm and cosy in winter. This is an advertorial.

1. Dress in cosy clothes



So my first tip is dress in cosy clothing. Ensure you have a decent set of thermal underwear. This can be bought quite cheaply from high street stores. If you do not have thermal clothing, don't forget dressing in layers can really keep the warm in. Layer your clothes, vest or camisole, top, jumper, cardigan, and you will be surprised how much that can make a difference. I've just bought some thermal leggings and they are really warm. Don't forget your head and your feet. A cosy pair of women's or men's slippers can keep your feet toasty worn with socks, and a scarf and hat are a great addition to your winter wardrobe.

2. Consider the heating



Ok, heating a home is expensive but there are ways in which you can save on heating. If you have a big house, you could just heat the rooms you are in and turn the radiators off in the other rooms. Stop heat escaping by using draught excluders around your doors, closing the curtains and consider radiator foil. Get the boiler serviced before a cold spell to ensure it won't break down or you could be stuck with an expensive emergency call-out fee and no heating. A portable heater can be bought on many high streets and provides an extra blast of heat on very cold days, worth it though so you don't have to heat the whole house. Prepare in advance and get logs in if you have an open fire, and use on the coldest days. You may get help with heating costs if you are on benefits too so be sure to check your entitlement, and you may get an energy grant for insulation and double glazing depending on where you live.

3. Don't forget blankets



Blankets these days come in many forms including heated blankets, fleece blankets, and weighted blankets. Heated blankets are a godsend in cold weather, just be sure to buy from a reputable company, that it has the UK Safety mark and you stop using it if it showing signs of wear and tear. Weighted blankets are thought to help with anxiety and also promote a deeper sleep so are worth investing in.

4. Personal heating devices



There are today, a number of devices on the market which I would say are personal heating devices or gadgets. These range from traditional devices such as hot water bottles to hand warmers, heat pads and heated jackets. These range in price but a hot water bottle and hand warmers can be bought from as little as £5. The more expensive devices can make a great birthday or Christmas present if you are short of money. I particularly like the sound of heated jackets which can be bought in the sales to keep costs down.

5. Eat and drink warming food



There is nothing better than a warming bowl of soup on a cold day. When it gets cold outside be sure to fill up on hot food and leave the cold sandwiches for another time. Vegetable soup costs relatively little to make, just chop up a load of vegetables, add a stock cube and water and boil until tender. A soup maker can make and blend the soup in no time. Stews are also lovely and warming. Why not invest in a slow cooker for as little as £15? These can make great soups, stews and curries and make cheap cuts of meat tender. A hot chocolate is always nice on a cold day too or even a mug of mulled wine. If you are counting the pennies to payday even a packet soup you can add hot water to or a mug of tea can make the difference to being cold or being warm.

As you can see there are lots of ways to stay warm and cosy in Winter and many don't have to break the bank. Let me know, do you have any recommendations on how to stay warm and cosy in Winter?

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10 Things to Buy A Colleague Who Is First Time Expecting

If you have a colleague who is expecting for the first time you may want to buy her a gift. There are so many things a baby and mum needs that I am sure that your colleague would be very appreciative. This is an ad.

Firstly you need to assess the situation. Are you buying a gift just from you or from your colleagues as well, are you buying just for the baby or for the mum herself, also what sort of budget is involved and is she is a first-time mum or not? All those scenarios will have implications on what you buy. 

This post is about buying a gift for a colleague who is a first-time mum, however, this post can also be useful if she has older children and hasn't kept the baby items. If she has young kids she may already have many things she needs, so it's good to ascertain her situation especially if you don't know her that well. So onto the gifts. Here I have looked at a range of prices to suit most budgets. Let us begin.

1. Baby Toys

There is a wide range of baby toys available out there. When you buy baby toys for a newborn it's important to make sure that they are suitable from birth, there should be a sign on baby toys that meet safety requirements and show the age the toys are suitable from. Some of the best baby toys are black and white toys as these have been shown to boost babies brain development. 

2. A baby record book

A baby book is a great idea. I still cherish my son's and he's now 24. A baby book allows you to document all the details of your baby's statistics like weight and length and also moments like their first steps. With some, you can also add a lock of hair or baby photos. It's a lovely way to record your baby's details to look back on one day

3. Baby Clothes

When you have a baby one of the first things you think about on their list of needs is clothes. A newborn set of baby essentials is a great gift. If you are not sure if the baby is going to be a boy or a girl a set of clothes in a neutral colour is best. Think vests, baby grows, a baby coat, bootees and more.

4. A photo frame

New parents take photos, lots of photos, so one thing that is always appreciated is a photo frame to display pictures of their newborn. If the baby is newly born and you are buying a gift after the birth, you can get personalised photo frames with the birth time and date on which make a lovely gift. 

5. A baby hamper

baby hamper

A baby hamper is a great present especially if you are collecting money on behalf of a group of your colleagues. It usually has a range of essential items and typically includes baby grows, baby socks, a hat, baby gloves, a toy and more. Often they come presented in a basket or excitingly wrapped too, so it looks an impressive gift. You can even have a personalised baby hamper with the baby's name embroidered on a blanket or baby grow. 

6. Baby blanket

A baby blanket is a great idea as a gift. Babies cannot regulate their heat like you or me, so it's a good idea for a new mum to have a range of lightweight blankets that can be layered up easily and won't overheat the baby. Some can be personalised too making this gift extra special.

7. Spa treatment

woman having a massage

Of course, we shouldn't forget the mum when a new baby comes into her life. She really needs to take care of herself. So what about a spa treatment voucher? A beauty treatment voucher will allow her to have a treatment like a pedicure, manicure or massage and give her some much needed 'me' time.

8. Food delivery voucher

When you are focusing on a new baby, it can be exhausting. With the constant routine of feeding, sleeping, crying and changing it can be easy to forget about yourself and eating nutritionally balanced meals. A food delivery voucher helps take the hard work out of going to the shops and getting the groceries in. Sites like Hello Fresh or Gusto can give you recipe ideas and a fruit and veg delivery from a company like Riverford Organics is a great healthy choice too.

9. Photoshoot

A photoshoot for baby is a lovely way to record memories. Photoshoots can be expensive though so it may be a good choice when you are clubbing together with other colleagues to give a present between you all. Perhaps you can buy the basic package with one photo and then the mum will have the option to buy more photos if needed. 

10. Babysitting 

Every mum needs some time away from their baby. It actually broke my heart the first time I spent an hour away from my son but I knew I needed to as I was going back to work eventually. So what about a babysitting voucher? Mum can then go and do shopping, have a spa treatment, or go out for a meal safe in the knowledge that the baby is being looked after. Babysitting vouchers are affordable too, and you can even offer your services yourself for free.

Of course, you can always create your own mum and baby hamper with a selection of gifts for mum and baby from a company such as The Baby Hamper Company. If you use code HAMPER10 at checkout you will get 10% off.

So here are 10 things to buy a colleague who is expecting for the first times. Let me know if you have any ideas too.

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Planning A New Bathroom

A new bathroom is a major expense you don't want to get wrong. This guide will take you through some of the steps you need to think about when planning a new bathroom.

Function And Purpose

Are you looking for an ensuite bathroom suitable for you and maybe your guests or a family bathroom?  

Ensuite bathrooms are usually smaller than a family bathroom and may only have a shower not a bath as well. If you love showering you may want to consider a wet room instead. If you have the space ensuite bathrooms can really add value to a house.

Family bathrooms may need to be more robust than an ensuite bathroom. I suggest keeping your best accessories for the ensuite. Do you want your most expensive white towels used after rugby practice? Exactly. 

You also need to think about the type of people you have in your home. Some people prefer showers whilst others love to relax in a bath. A shower over a bath is a good option for all the family. 

If the members of your household need to leave the house at the same time for school, college or work then a double sink is a feature also worth considering too.

Style


The style of the bathroom you choose is a very personal choice. 

Do you like minimalist and modern or do you like a more traditional style? This is important when taking into consideration the overall look of a bathroom and for choosing a bathroom suite, shower or accessories. 

If you want a little indulgence,  luxury steam showers are a modern twist on the shower design. These space-age capsules have a steam facility as well as normal showering to get you squeaky clean. 

The Insignia steam shower range is one such shower range that can be customisable, leak-free and chic in design. 

Utilising Your Space


Before you buy any fixtures or fittings you need to measure and plan your space out. If you are not sure where to start your bathroom supplier can usually help you for a fee, or if you can find a reliable bathroom fitter they can do this for you.

If you have a small area to fill, built-in cabinets can help utilise the space, such as that under a sink. Recesses, windowsills and wall storage can also make the most of every possible nook and cranny, to store toiletries and towels. If you have the space, consider portable or freestanding storage units.

Floor And Walls



The floor in a bathroom needs to be non-slippery and waterproof. Tiles, vinyl and laminate are a popular choice. Avoid carpet at all costs or it will go mouldy and be very unhygienic.

Tiles are also a popular choice for around the sink and bath or shower, as a splashback. For a streamlined look extend the tiles from the floor all the way up the wall. Bathroom paint that is moisture and steam resistant will prevent mould and give a professional look. 

Finishing Touches



Accessories can really add to the styling and functionality of the bathroom. 

Mirrored and magnifying lights can help with shaving and illuminate when putting makeup on. Bathroom cabinets can add great storage space, and also added light if illuminated too. Heated towel rails as well as being practical for storage are great for the Winter. Consider making a feature wall with prints to add some interest.

These are just some pointers to consider when planning a new bathroom. Have you had a new bathroom fitted? Do you have any tips on what to consider when buying a new bathroom?

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3 Reasons Why Watches Make Great Gifts


Showing your appreciation for somebody through a gift is a lovely thing to do, but it’s also challenging.

Pinpointing exactly what they want isn’t easy, especially when they seem to have everything they need already. The latest video games have all been played, the latest gadgetry enjoys regular usage, and their shelves are filled with books read or unread. However, a brand-new watch can be an incredible gift idea. But why?

Well, below you’ll find a few reasons explaining why this is all so.

Universal Appeal



It can be tough buying presents for a loved one.

When you ask them what they would like for a special occasion, they might monotonously mumble; “nothing”. You’re in a pickle with somebody who seemingly can’t be satisfied. Fortunately, because a watch has universal appeal, frowns are guaranteed to be turned upside down (exceptions perhaps being stroppy teenagers). Ultimately, anything that has stood the test of time after all these years makes for a great gift.

Watches have been instrumental in shaping mankind, as timepieces were once almost solely responsible for people getting to where they needed to go in good fashion. Traditionally they are given during milestones in a person’s life, such as reaching adulthood or retiring from the workplace. In addition to commemorating special occasions, they can be affordable and charming, with regular listings online for watches under £200 out there. Alternatively, they can be expensive and flashy, so they have points for style and accessibility too. Everybody has a perfect watch out there, somewhere.

Easily Maintained

unisex watch
When it comes to repairs or customisation, some gifts only serve to become horrendous headaches.

Often, if a piece of expensive gadgetry becomes faulty or needs an upgrade, it is sent away for weeks at a time. The waiting periods can be excruciating, the worries can be incredibly stressful, and in the end, the process tends to be a big headache on the whole situation. Fortunately, watch owners aren’t subject to these kinds of laborious drawbacks.

For example, if replacement watch straps are needed, then all you need to do is make an order with a site such as Watch Strap Style. Each of their products imbues the watch with a different character, and it’s all done quickly with next day delivery. You can do this yourself prior to any wrapping, as you can infuse your gift with some personal, unique touches. Perfect!

Improving Time Management 

woman's watch

Watches have practical uses, which makes your gift efficient on that level also.

For example, if you have a small child, a cheap basic watch will be able to teach them to tell the time properly. In this regard, it can be an educational tool. However, when they are adults that first watch will then pass to you as a treasured keepsake from their childhood. You’ll probably start to well up just looking at it!

Additionally, if you know somebody who is always late, lending them a watch might just help them overcome that tendency. A 2018 article from The Guardian asked readers to list all the potential reasons for being late, and it didn’t take long for “because they lose time trying to get it together” to enter the mix at number 2. Considering that “we are all late eventually” was the last response, buying someone a watch can help combat that sense of futility! Just make sure you give it to someone who can laugh about it, rather than somebody who will interpret your gift as a passive-aggressive dig!

So here are three reasons why watches make great gifts. Have you ever given a watch as a gift?

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5 Things To Do In Paphos Cyprus

Cyprus is an island in the Meditteranean known for its superb weather, gorgeous beaches, wonderful wine and fabulous food. It's a popular destination for the British who love its unique mix of history, diverse flora and fauna, and subtropical climate. 

One of the most popular destinations in Cyprus is Paphos. Paphos is an area on the southwest coast of the island, with the city of Paphos at its heart. We visited a few years ago and enjoyed our stay there. 

Many of us, around the world, can't travel at the moment but if you are planning a trip to Cyprus in the future, I suggest you should visit the Paphos area as there is so much to do.  Here are some of my top attractions in Paphos Cyprus for when you visit next.

Soak up the history of the Tomb Of The Kings


The Tomb Of The Kings is a UNESCO world heritage site, part of the Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos (Paphos). It has underground tombs and chambers dating from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. They earned their name because of their grand appearance but weren't used for royalty. If you love history, it's a place you should definitely visit. Look out for the wonderful mosaics too. 

Hike the Avakas Gorge

Avakas Gorge

The Avakas Gorge can be found North of Paphos and Coral Bay and is a beautiful green gorge worth exploring. The gorge was carved out by the river that flowed over the limestone over a thousand years ago. There are some facilities there, a car park and toilets as well as a restaurant, and don't forget to watch out for the goats. Take good walking shoes to explore and some water and a hat. Cyprus is hot!

Check out the church of Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa

Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa

Another great site for history lovers is Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa. Located in Kato Pafos (Paphos), the church was built in the 13th century over the ruins of the largest Early Byzantine basilica on the island. The floor of the basilica was covered with colourful mosaics, some of which are still preserved. The church is guarded by the many cats that roam the area.

Visit the beautiful beaches

beach cyprus

There are many beautiful and interesting beaches in the Paphos area. Some are golden sand, and some are rocky with lots of coves to explore. The best for swimming is the Blue Lagoon beach with gorgeous azure waters and Coral Bay is also another beach popular with families, whilst Lara Bay is great for wildlife spotting, especially turtles and seals. 

Drive to the Troodos Mountains


If you have a hire car, considering driving to the Troodos Mountains for a change of scenery and a cooler climate. We took the hour and a quarter drive and were rewarded with beautiful vistas. Stop for a coffee and a piece of cake in a cafe and take in the views. Be aware though, it is much colder in the mountains and it actually started raining when we were up there so pack a hoody and leave your shorts back in the accommodation. 

Other Information




The best time to visit is when the weather isn't too hot, May and June is a good time or late September or October. August can be scorching hot and humidity can be high so unless you have to go then avoid if possible.

Cyprus has a good range of holiday accommodation from 5 star hotels to more simple self-catering apartments. We loved our stay in a villa in Paphos, as it's always nice to have a pool to yourself and the ability to self cater if you wish to. 

Saying that we ate out most of the time. Typical Cypriot food which is similar to Greek food consists of dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), souvlaki (kebabs) Kleftiko (slow-cooked lamb stew) and Cypriot fried Halloumi. 

Let me know, have you been to Cyprus? Do you have any recommendations on what to do?

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Why Glasses Should Be Your Go To Accessory For 2021

Glasses have had a bad rep over the years for being unfashionable. Fortunately, over the past decade, glasses have become popular accessories which even people with 20/20 vision are getting on board with. This year could be the perfect time for you to dust off your glasses – or buy a new pair!

Swapping out your contact lenses for a new set of frames will have more benefits than simply being stylish. Here are a few reasons why you should consider ditching the contacts in favour of glasses.

Save Money

woman wearing glasses

While the initial cost of a nice pair of glasses may be more than a few pairs of contact lenses, the amount of use you will get out of your specs will make them well worth the investment.

You could even get a pair for different occasions if you want to mix it up a bit. Many people have formal event glasses, casual glasses and even glasses for nights out!

Give Your Eyes A Breather

Contact lenses can be really useful for situations where glasses may be a nuisance, as anyone who has had to wear 3D glasses over their glasses at the cinema will know. That being said, contact lenses do tend to dry out and irritate eyes.

Even with the best care in the world, sometimes your eyes need a rest from contact lenses. You don’t have to ditch them forever, but giving them a solid few weeks rest can do wonders for your eyes’ health.

They Go With Everything

The great thing about glasses is they suit almost any look. There are also countless frames nowadays that you can choose from, so you can be sure to find something on the very cutting edge of fashion.

If you’re looking for a British Eyewear Company, then you can do no better than Wolf Eyewear. Their eyewear range is second to none and is stocked by hundreds of independent opticians throughout the UK.

Make A Statement

woman wearing glasses


The right glasses can frame your face, emphasising your best features and minimising any flaws. You can choose a more avant-garde look to suit your personality if you wish. There are frames to suit any anyone and everyone, so no matter the look you’re trying to achieve, you will be able to find glasses that fit.

A person’s eyes are the first thing many people notice when meeting new people. Having the right pair of glasses can help to make that impression a positive and lasting one.

Less Hassle

The contact lens care routine can get a little intense, particularly if you use monthly lenses. Ensuring everything is clean and in proper order can be time-consuming, whereas with glasses you get to wake up in the morning and simply pop them on. There is also the bonus of not having to poke yourself in the eye each morning and evening!

Glasses are low fuss, low maintenance and highly fashionable, so why not free up some morning time – while looking amazing – by switching to glasses for 2021?

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Managing A New Let The Easy Way

If you are a homeowner who has decided to take on tenants, either just a room or a whole house you will have thought about it thoroughly first. But it can take a lot of work to get to the point of handing over the keys. There are, however, some steps to follow to make this change as quickly and painlessly as possible. You may have already spoken to friends and relatives who happen to let out property, but it's never too late to make changes or new plans for the task ahead. So here are a few pointers that will ease you into the process. 

Check Everything



If you have been living in your property beforehand, it might seem like everything is fine since you were managing to stay comfortable and happy there, but being complacent can cause you problems. First of all, you will need to keep a close eye on the utilities and ensure you have an Electrical Safety Certificate; Electrical Safety Certificates are there to not only protect you as the landlord but also keeps the tenants safe.

Safety checks and certification can help you save money as well since you know that you will begin with everything in order. Having a professional watching out for the minor problems helps avoid the larger issues.

References


keys

Once you know that the property is fit for tenants and you've found someone keen to move in, you should ensure you gain positive references. If you go through an agency, you will find that references are part and parcel of a standard agreement, and they are always a good idea. Many landlords have come unstuck from avoiding this process before now.

These references give you peace of mind that your property is likely to be taken care of carefully. References don't always take the risk away completely, but significantly reduces the chances of disputes further down the line.

Repairs



Having a team of repair companies and builders that you can call upon when problems arise means that you are much less likely to need to worry about tenants waiting around for repairs. Having this team of people means you are able to rely on the work carried out to be of a high standard and avoid further issues. Sometimes a letting agent will have their own team for you to call upon as well, so it's worth checking.

Usually, these contractors will be checked and recommended by other people, which can save you the trouble. Deciding on whether you use a letting agent and their contractors or using your preferred contacts is your call, but either way making sure you have the best contractors you can find will pay off for you in the long run. Time is money, and the time it takes chasing low contractors can be expensive.

Letting out your property is a daunting task, but if you take some steps to make it easier for yourself, you will find there is a lot less worry and hassle than you imagined. This scenario can be lucrative and straightforward if managed correctly.

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Joe Browns Fashion Tunic And Dress Review

A new year and hopefully a fresh start for many. I think I speak for lots of people when I say 2020 has been a pretty awful year all round due to the global pandemic.  So look to the future we must to keep our hopes alive. One thing that has kept me going is my daily walks. 

I am lucky that I live by the sea in a small Welsh seaside town. At the end of my street is the sea. It makes for a great backdrop for any blog reviews I do and the walks in the fresh air keep me sane. Today I am reviewing two items that have been gifted to me from the fashion company Joe Browns with the beautiful backdrop of Porthcawl in the background. Let's have a look at what they are.


Joe Browns is a brand I have been a fan of for the last 10 years or so. They are known for their fun-loving prints and easy-going fashion, designs that transcend generations. In fact, both my mum and I are big fans. Founded in 1998 they have grown through their high street stores and now offer a catalogue as well as an online store as well. 

The items I chose to review both have autumnal colour palettes. The Autumnal jersey tunic priced at £35, above, is an easy to wear tunic, with a brown floral print and two slits in the side. What I liked about the tunic was that it was stretchy and easy to throw on over a pair of leggings to wear in the house or with thick super soft tights and boots for a day out. The sleeves were nice and long. I don't know about you but I find many tunics these days have three-quarter length sleeves which can be really annoying. Almost as if the company are scrimping on the material. Not with this tunic.

Now I have been trying to lose weight so I don't know if it was that but the tunic was actually big on me and I ordered my normal size. However, with a belt and a longline cardigan, I think it looks great.

Personally, I think, it could have a little more structure about the waist, so it nips in a little, as it's much looser when you try it on than in the photos but it's still a great tunic. 

photo in dress by sea

The other item I was sent was the stylish September dress, priced at £29 (was £45). This stretchy dress in an all-over leaf print is in shades of browns and yellows. 


The jersey material is flattering, the V neck isn't too low and the gather under the bust and the tie at the back gives a little structure. I have another dress in a very similar design from Joe Browns and really love the way the dress is designed. I also love the autumn design print and rich russet colours.  The outfit was slightly too big. I think I'm in between sizes at the moment and should have ordered a size smaller to be totally honest. Still, the dress is lovely on. 

harbour photo

The dress is fairly long on me, being mid-calf, but then I'm only 5 foot 2 inches. All in all, it's an easy to wear dress is a loose flattering fit.

At the moment the September dress above is in the sale too so it's a great time to buy. 

Joe Browns is a company that never ceases to amaze me with their fun fashion prints. It's a company I wholeheartedly recommend and one that I have personally bought from many times in the past. They have branched out into homeware as well as fashion recently and I now have some of their stylish bed linen on my wishlist.

Let me know, have you heard of the Joe Browns brand? Do you like the items I have chosen? 

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