Building Basics – Clothes Everyone Should Have in Their Wardrobe

If you are thinking of overhauling your wardrobe at some point, you should take it back to basics and build it up from there. Though you might be tempted to fill it with clothes you love, you should try to aim to include some of the following pieces in there to help you construct outfits for every occasion. Here are three items of clothing that everyone needs to have in their wardrobe.

Fitted Jeans

woman in jeans

Jeans are a fantastic staple as they are so versatile. Though they can seem quite stiff and unforgiving, the right pair can flatter your body and make your legs seem long and elegant. They come in a variety of colours and a range of options that can help you meet any requirement. Dark blue is better for every day, while black or white could be better for an event, however, all can be suitable when styled correctly.

Jeans are the perfect garment because they can be dressed down for errands or up for brunch or other meetings. You could also wear them to a more casual evening do with a nice top and the right pieces of statement jewellery. 

A Midi Dress

midi dress

Midi dresses are some of the most flattering dresses around and many women love them. They can be floaty and bohemian or more fitted and are perfect for wearing on your day off, going out for meals, or wearing to the office. As can be seen by the range at Luella Fashion, there is a wide variety of different patterns and colours that you could try. If you want to inject a little colour into your wardrobe, a midi dress could be the perfect way for you to do it.

A White Shirt

woman in white shirt
A simple, clean, white button-down shirt is a staple that not enough people have in their wardrobe. Yes, it can give you throwback vibes to your schooldays if you are not careful, however, it is can be a useful and versatile piece that can be worn with many different combinations for that perfect outfit.

For example, you could pair it with those jeans mentioned above and a pair of statement heels for the perfect brunch with friends. With the right skirt, it could form a key part of your workwear wardrobe. With the right styling, you could even wear it to more formal events. Don’t underestimate the power that this garment can have.

These are three pieces of clothing that everyone should have and they can help you form the basis of a capsule wardrobe. A pair of jeans, a mini dress and a white shirt can give you some great starting points when trying to build outfits. Whether you are a fan of a capsule wardrobe or just like buying pieces that all fit together in weird and wonderful ways, try to include the above three into as many different wardrobes as you can.

Christmas Jewellery Wishlist 2021

Christmas is coming and before you know it the panic buying starts. Now I'm usually a well-organised sort of person but when you have a number of people to buy for the Christmas wishlist comes in handy. 

We all must have made them as kids, and I see no problem as an adult making a Christmas wishlist, for two reasons. It stops you from getting those marzipan chocolates you hate or aromatherapy oils you get every year from your distant aunt and you actually get what you want without knowing the exact gift until Christmas Day.  Of course, you need a range of presents on your list, and sometimes it's helpful to have two lists - a different one for close family, and one for friends. 

H Samuel North Star Pendant

Now jewellery is often on my wishlist from my husband and mum so I have been browsing the online stores and have come up with this Christmas jewellery wishlist for 2021. It has a range of prices from affordable earrings to less affordable diamond jewellery but if a girl can't dream at Christmas, when can she dream?

This post is an advertorial from Ernest Jones and H Samuel and contains affiliate links.

Christmas Jewellery Wishlist 2021

Ernest Jones 

Ernest Jones is the place to go for quality crafted jewellery and has established a name for itself as the high street diamond and watch specialist over the last 70 years. It has 180 jewellery stores around the country so you will be sure to find one not far from you. 


These cute heart earrings are my first Christmas wishlist choice from Ernest Jones. They are made of stainless steel but you wouldn't know it, as they are coloured in a rose gold-tone.  Studded with little crystals that sparkle in the light, these earrings look far more expensive than the price tag.


My next choice is this stunning diamond necklace and earring set, made in 9ct white gold. I love the octagonal pendant in this set, it's a slightly unusual shape and that makes it unique. The matching earrings are beautiful too. The total diamond weight of this jewellery gift set is 0.50ct. You can get more for your money with this set as it's now half price too! 



My last choice from Ernest Jones is the classic looking La Grande watch from Longines. Since 1832 Longines has produced Swiss timepieces that are beautiful, well crafted and elegant. I love the two colour bracelet on this watch and the mother of pearl dial. A stunning watch that is timeless. 

H Samuel

H Samuel is well known for selling affordable jewellery on the high street over the last 150 years. With a focus on fun fashion-led items, the H Samuel brand is one to go to for that must-have item of jewellery. 


celestial locket



My first choice from H Samuel is this stunning locket from the Find Your North Star collection. This locket is inspired by the guiding star and wearing it offers good luck and protection. The round locket has a star design and at its centre sparkly cubic zirconia. In 18ct gold vermeil and with a fine curb chain, it's a pretty locket that you can keep a precious memento inside.

snowflake pendant


My next choice is this pretty pendant from the Enchanted Disney© collection and is inspired by Frozen's princess Elsa. I love how intricate the snowflake charm is on the fine silver chain and at the centre is a light blue topaz adding some colour as well as sparkling diamond accents at the end of the snowflake. Perfect for all Disney© lovers everywhere and fans of delicate jewellery.




My last choice is this Disney© Citizen watch with a gold tone bracelet. This watch is exclusive to H Samuel and is themed on Belle from Beauty and the Beast. It is part of the Disney© Princess collection. I just love the mother of pearl dial with 4 sparkling diamonds and the rose gold tone colour. It's also water-resistant up to 50 meters and features Citizen Eco-drive technology which means it never needs a battery and is powered by light.

So this is my Christmas jewellery wishlist for 2021. What is on your jewellery wishlist for 2021? 

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A Winter Wedding In Spain, A Chic Choice

When we think of winter weddings, snowy landscapes come to mind. But what if you could get married in winter on a quiet beach with the sun shining brightly? This is possible if you plan your wedding in Spain, in the wonderful Costa Blanca or Costa Cálida.

Although organizing a wedding in Spain is a great option that nowadays more and more couples are considering, the paperwork required is often holding them back. That’s why companies such as The Wedery, with more than 30 years of experience, offer their wedding planning services so that you only have to worry about enjoying one of the most important days of your life.

Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida, a privileged setting for your wedding in Spain

Costa Blanca

The Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida can proudly brag about having the same number of sunny days in winter as in summer, with an average of 320 days of sunshine per year. With that fact, who can resist planning their wedding in Spain?

In addition, these two coasts have an extension of almost 500 kilometres of beaches and coves, with landscapes that combine intense blue and green with the golden colour of the sand and the pure white of the small villages. It sounds like a dream, but it is real.

Charming venues for every type of couple

wedding couple

Spain offers a great variety of gorgeous venues to celebrate your wedding.

If you want a fairytale wedding, you can choose a country house with an enchanting lake and dreamlike gardens, like Torreta de Bayona in Mutxamel or El Roalet de Kiko in Elche, both located in the province of Alicante.

On the other hand, if what attracts you to plan your wedding in Spain are its beaches, venues like El Parador del Mar Menor in La Manga or Cala Clemence del Portichol are breathtaking. It will be like a dream come true to be able to say "I do" with the sound of the sea waves in the background, surrounded by your beloved ones.

Mediterranean cuisine for a special day

tapas

In addition to wonderful sunny days and stunning venues, Spain offers excellent gastronomy. Imagine your wedding reception with delicacies such as hand cut jamón ibérico or different styles of tapas, all this paired with a good glass of Spanish wine. The Mediterranean diet is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, so why not include it on your wedding day?

On top of that, Spain is known above all is for its never-ending fiestas. What else could you ask for on your wedding day than to dance until dawn surrounded by all your loved ones? Also don’t forget the open bar, a must at a wedding in Spain!

Everything is under control with a wedding planning service

wedding ceremony

Planning a wedding can be very stressful, especially if it is abroad, where paperwork is also added to the mix. This is why having a wedding planner service is essential for everything to go smoothly.

Wedding planning companies such as The Wedery offer a range of different packages that adapt to your needs and budget, which include a personal wedding coordinator from the very beginning.

All the details about the ceremony, the flowers for the bride and table arrangements, the transportation, the wedding meal, the photography and video and anything else you can think of will be taken care of for you. In addition, as it is a wedding abroad, they also take care of every detail of the documentation and any additional paperwork required. Easy, right?

Now that you have discovered all the advantages of celebrating your winter wedding in Spain, are you ready to celebrate yours?

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Jaques Of London A Great British Game Company - Chess and Backgammon Review

I love supporting British businesses, I used to have a business myself, so when Jaques of London asked if I would like to review for them I immediately said yes. This is an advertorial with Jacques of London.

Who are Jaques Of London?

Jaques Of London are one of those great British brands that may not be on your radar but it should be, especially if you have kids. They are the oldest game company and sports manufacturer in the world. Established in 1795 they are a family business and are now run by 8th generation game makers Emmett and Joe Jaques. They are known specifically for their well crafted wooden toys that last.

Packaging 

Jaques of London pride itself on giving a gift that you will remember so with this every original game from Jaques of London is exquisitely gift wrapped. 

parcels

As they say, there is so much more to receiving a gift than ripping open the drab packaging, and it really was a delight to receive these parcels in the post. 

note
It was also nice to see the gift note inside and know who wrapped the item. 

Backgammon travel set review

Backgammon set open

High-quality leather backgammon travel set £34.99

As we travel a lot I decided to order the travel backgammon set as I thought it would be cool to take this on our travels. 

Backgammon is one of the oldest known board games. Its history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to archaeological discoveries in Jiroft, modern-day Iran. It is a two-player tables game where each player has fifteen pieces that move between twenty-four triangles according to the roll of two dice.

The backgammon travel set is in a roll which is great for travelling and unfolds when you want to play. It has a zipped compartment that keeps the dice and counters safe.
backgammon set

The playing pieces are high quality and not lightweight but still perfectly light as a travel set. It comes complete with doubling dice, and a set of dice. If you are a little rusty on backgammon like us or have never played before it comes with full instructions included so that was a nice touch. 


Playing backgammon

What I liked about the travel backgammon set is that it was very well made. The stitching was complete, the leather markers securely stitched with no unfinished parts and the Jaques London zip tag added that high end look. You can check out all the backgammon sets they sell here. This backgammon set is one I am looking to gift as I think it would make an excellent Christmas present.

Luxury folding 15 inch chess set review

nicely packaged

I decided to order the luxury folding chess set as I thought it would make a great present. Packaged well with a ribbon and with a note to say who packed it, it is touches like this that make a gift from Jaques of London memorable.

chess set


Chess is a board game played between two players. The current form of the game emerged in Southern Europe during the second half of the 15th century after evolving from similar, much older games of Indian and Persian origin. Today, chess is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide.

The 15 inch chess set is beautifully made and has hand carved wooden chessmen. In the traditional Staunton style, this design follows the design laid out historically by Jaques of London from 1849. The board folds and is made of quality walnut and sycamore. The chess pieces are kept secure in the back of the board. 

luxury chess set

I think if you are looking for a chess or backgammon set you should check out the sets on their website. Jaques of London offers a range of chess sets suitable for everyone. 

Other items on the Jaques Of London website include a wide range of toys for children from babies to teenagers. They have a great range of wooden toys that will last a long time too. With free delivery as well,  it's definitely worth checking out their website in the run-up to Christmas.

Jaques Of London has a great offer at the moment too, you can get 15% off if you sign up to their email list so be sure to check this out.

Let me know, do you play backgammon or chess? What do you think of the items I reviewed?

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Ways To Make And Save Money At Home

It is said that, especially in the current climate, plenty of people are looking for ways to both save money in the house and to make money from home. People are worried about their income and their savings and are wanting to know what they can do to ease that pressure. This is an advertorial.

I wanted to share with you today my top tips for saving money and making money at home. Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Save Money: Meal Plan



Planning your meals will save you plenty of money in the long run. If you know exactly what meals you will be making, you only need to buy the ingredients for those meals. Shop online rather than in store if you can to avoid temptation and stick to the meal plan to keep your food budget down.

Make Money: Utilise Your Skills

Do you have a particular skill you could put to good use? If so, why not utilise it to make you some money? I have friends who love crafting - they could easily sell their creations. I’ve got friends who are qualified teachers - they could easily set up a tutoring business. If you do have a skill that you can monetise, why wouldn’t you?

Save Money: Set A Budget


A budget is essential if you want to save money. By setting a budget, you can work out what your essential and non-essential spending is. If you cut out the non-essential spending, then you’ll hopefully have some money that you can put away in savings instead. You just need to sit down and work out what spending is essential to you and which is non-essential. This is good advice too if you are gambling responsibly with a company such as 
NetBet Slots. You should budget for your entertainment money and only gamble what you can afford to lose. 

Make Money: Try A Work From Home Job

It may seem like these are few and far between but there are actually plenty of jobs that you can do from home. Some people I know are virtual assistants, others work for insurance companies as call agents in their own dedicated home office, I have even worked online tutoring myself.  If you don’t want to leave the home, why wouldn’t you see if there was a work from home job that would work for you?

Save Money: Try Sign Up Offers


Have you ever considered a site like sign up offers? These can easily be completed from home. Get amazing discounts or bonuses from certain websites - especially handy when you need to get something from that particular website. You can find massive discounts or products and even some free stuff too! Definitely worth checking it out if you are going to be spending on those websites anyway.

Make Money: Do Online Surveys

Truth be told, these aren’t going to get you the big bucks but if you are happy with a few quid extra in your bank account or pocket each month and you have some time to kill, online surveys might just be the thing for you. Some of them can be very interesting and every now and again you might get the chance to test some products for the survey companies as well. Some of the most well known are Swagbucks and Pinecone Research.

Save Money: Switch Things Off


If you aren’t using certain items around the home, switch them off. Turn off the switches and take the plugs out of any electrical items that aren’t currently in use, switch the heating off and take it off a timer, only putting it on when you absolutely need to. Put on a jumper if you are that cold! It will save you mere pennies, to begin with, but those pennies soon begin to build up into pounds.

Make Money: Download Some Apps

There are thousands upon thousands of apps out there but did you know there are ones you can make money from? As well as plenty of online survey sites having their own apps, there are also plenty of companies who will actually pay you for installing their apps and actually continue to pay you for the time you have their app installed on your phone. Many of these track certain data and use it to build an understanding of what people do online or buy online. It isn’t for everyone but can definitely add a few pounds into your savings each month.

Save Money: Get Meters Installed


Every house will soon have a smart meter and this has been quite helpful in showing those who already have one exactly how much energy they are using. You might also consider getting a water meter too, thus paying for the amount of water you use rather than an estimated amount. My mum has recently had a water meter installed and she is paying half of what she used to, so if you are on your own it's definitely worth enquiring. It will also encourage you to turn off those dripping taps.

Make Money: Affiliate Marketing

This isn’t for everyone but many people who do it find it very lucrative. Do you have a website or a social media channel with a decent and engaged audience? Then affiliate marketing may just work for you. Promote and advertise them on your channel and earn! Some affiliate channels are pay per view so you get paid every time someone even sees the ad, others are pay per click where you only get paid if they actually click on it. It is worth knowing the difference.  Awin is one such example of an affiliate company I have used. 

Save Money: Buy Own Brand Food Items


I know we all have our favourite brands but if you aren’t fussed about brand names, why not buy the cheaper own-brand food items from the supermarket rather than the big names for more money? 
They usually taste just as good but cost a lot less.  There is even branded fruit and veg - guess what, you don't need it! In fact, why not support your local grocers or market and buy your food there as it can be surprisingly cheap.

Make Money: Sell Your Old Stuff

It is an oldie but a goodie - and one people often forget about, surprisingly. Sell your old stuff - there is no point having stuff you don’t want cluttering up the place so why not earn money from it? Pop it on eBay or Facebook selling groups and hopefully watch your bank balance grow.

These are my top tips for saving money in the home and making money from home if you are stuck there due to childcare or another situation. Have you ever given any of these a go before? Why not try this 52 week money making challenge? What worked for you and what didn’t?

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Big Christmas Giveaway Win £400 Cash And Homeware Bundle Worth £600

Christmas giveaway

Today on my blog I am giving you a chance to win a huge bundle of homeware products plus £400 cash in a huge Christmas giveaway. Yes, you heard correctly. How wonderful would that be to have in time for Christmas? What would you do with that money? I know I would probably put it towards a cheeky stay away in a log cabin in a nature park in the New Year.  
We are also contemplating going away for Christmas, somewhere hot, maybe you have that dream too and would use the money for spending money.  Maybe you would buy your kids those presents you can't really afford normally or treat your parents to stay in a luxury hotel. Or maybe you would buy all the ready prepared luxury food items from Marks and Spencers for Christmas dinner and make your Christmas super easy. Now that's an idea!

I am bringing you the chance to win in conjunction with Arca Lifestyle and a group of bloggers that want to give back to our readers. Arca Lifestyle is a homeware brand based in the UK, that loves to bring unique home and giftware ideas to its customers. From ceramics, lighting, mirrors, soft furnishings, candles, glass, art prints and posters, everything is superbly designed and unique. You can read more about Arca Lifestyle below.

The bloggers that are taking part have also contributed their own money to this incredible cash prize. We are a group of lifestyle, travel, parenting and beauty bloggers who really care about our readers and love giving back to our readers. I know it always delights me when people who win my competitions tell me how much they love their prizes. It really gives me a thrill and I know the other bloggers involved below feel the same. 

Make sure to check out the other bloggers that are taking part in this incredible giveaway, and read on to find out how you could win this mammoth prize.

Bloggers Taking Part

Reinventing Neesha | Mummy Fever | Lipgloss and Curves | Melanie's Fab Finds | Rachel Bustin | Home and Garden Things | Thrifty Chap | Boxnip | Millenial Saves | Jupiter Hadley | Pounds and Sense | We Made This Life | Renovation Bay-Bee | Ami-Rose | Futures | At Home With Alice | Lisa's Notebook | Alice in Sheffield | On Your Journey | Two Hearts One Roof | Life in a Breakdown | Monethalia | The Diary of Jewellery Lover | Pink Oddy | Skinned Cartree | Stapo's Thrifty Life Hacks | Wander & Luxe | Reality in Reverie | Christmas with Katie | Make Money Without a Job | Rice Cakes and Raisins | Just Average Jen | Life Loving | Scandi Mummy | Real Girls Wobble | Five from the Swich | The Financial Wilderness | The Amazing Adventures of Me | Spilling Life Tea | Voluptuous Chatterbox

The Prize

giveaway prizes

Your home is your sanctuary, so surround yourself with things you love.

One lucky winner will win a unique homeware upgrade package worth over £600 from Arca plus £400 in cash!

Arca Lifestyle is an eclectic lifestyle and homeware brand based in Norwich. With a range of hand-curated products from across the globe, Arca provides the latest trends to brighten any home as well as original gift ideas for those you love.

Arca has been created with the goal to help individuals find homeware pieces and prints that spark their soul, offering unique products that are not available elsewhere.

Visit www.arcalifestyle.com to see the full range of products and prints available.

How to Enter

Follow Arca on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arcalifestylestore/

Follow Arca on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ArcaLifestyleStore/_created/

Once you have completed the above entry options via the Rafflecopter widget below you will unlock more ways to enter. The more you complete the more chances you have of winning.

The competition ends at Midnight on Sunday the 19th of December and a winner will be drawn on Monday the 20th of December.

For full entry terms and conditions please see the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Benefits Of Conservatories

If you are thinking of having a conservatory added to your home you may wonder if it's worth the expense. After all, it does cost money and it can disrupt the running of your home when it is being built. However, conservatories can bring huge benefits to a homeowner too. 

conservatory

Let's have a look at 5 benefits of having a conservatory added to your home. 

1. Extra space

A conservatory will add some instant space to a home. Having that extra room is the biggest benefit. Whether you turn this into a room for entertaining, a room for relaxing in or working out, a playroom, or having a spare room for when people come to stay,  having the extra space is fantastic. It can be a great room to chill in too when you want to have some breathing space!

2. It is a great room for light

A conservatory with its many windows is a great room that brings in much natural light. This can make it warm in winter especially if you go for an energy-efficient double glazed conservatory. The natural light makes it great for artists that like to paint and draw too. Having the garden next to the conservatory makes it feel like you are outside too in nature. It's a lovely space to watch the birds in your garden, and spot the squirrels and hedgehogs! Open the doors in summer and it can feel like an extension to your garden

3. Adds value to your home

One of the major benefits of a conservatory is that it adds extra value to your home. If you are looking to sell in the future and get a more expensive house it's a great move to have a conservatory built. Having the extra space downstairs is highly desirable and will add extra value when you go to sell your home. We all want to add extra value to our home too, don't we?

4. It's cost-effective compared to moving

If you are considering moving especially due to lack of space then why not consider building a conservatory instead? It is so much cheaper than moving to a larger home. As well as the cost of a more expensive house, you also have the cost of moving including solicitor and surveyor fees, stamp duty, moving company fees, redecorating and more. Although the research is still out on exactly how stressful is moving home, it's certainly more stressful than many things in life.  Having a conservatory built is, therefore, a more cost-effective and lower stress option than moving home. 

5. It looks fantastic

Conservatories today are modern extensions to our homes that can look fantastic. Add some easy to care for flooring, some furniture and furnishings in natural wood and light colours, a few house plants and some cosy throws and you can have that extra space that looks fantastic and is incredibly useful all year round.

For more information on conservatories, check out my post on things to consider when having a conservatory built

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7 Quirky Ideas For The Perfect Home Bar

Drinking on a night out is fun, but also very expensive! Why not party the night away in the comfort of your own home? Save money, and make the most of wasted spaces in your house


cocktail

Here are 7 quirky ideas for the perfect home bar.

Suspend your bar…from the wall!

We all recognise traditional bar counters, firmly rooted to the ground. Go for something a little different, and choose a suspended wall bar. Although a suspended wall bar might sound a little intimidating, they are completely stable – the perfect place to store booze with character and charm.

Impress your guests, and take your home bar sky high.

Invest in a bar cart


Bring your home bar on the go, with a bar cart that can transport your alcohol and treats anywhere in the house. Try an antique or vintage bar cart, well-crafted and full of personality.

No matter the bar cart you choose, they add something more to any home bar, contemporary or classical.

Create a cosy lounge area

Create a cosy lounge area, and really take your home bar to the next level. We’d recommend a hairpin bar stool, bringing a touch of quirky-modern-goodness into your home bar design.

Take a break from dancing and recline in a lounge area, perfectly tailored to your space.

Intimate lighting

When you go to a club, you’re immediately confronted with fast-paced and dizzying ultra neon lighting! For a home bar, we advise going for something a little different.

Try intimate lighting, with warm tones and soft lamps – maybe even complemented by banquette seating and copious natural material such as cork placemats or wooden décor. Intimate lighting really makes your bar feel like an extension of your home, and a place where you can relax uninhibited.

Convert a closet or pantry

An old closet or pantry is often one of the most unused spaces in the home. Instead of letting this room go to waste, do something a little quirkier! Converting your closet or pantry into a home bar is an achievable feat, with a touch of shelving and glass. Check out this step by step guide, if you need a hand.

Use booze as inspiration!

A home bar is made for drinking…so why not use booze as your inspiration when decorating?

If you’re a lover of red wine, try appropriating the rich colours of this drink in the colour scheme and paint you use.

Cans of beer can even be used as repurposed lighting, and bottle caps can be used as backsplashes. Reduce, reuse, recycle! Save the environment and make an unforgettable home bar.

Statement pieces

Statement pieces are the be-all-and-end-all of the perfect, quirky home bar. Look for an impressive marble countertop, or stunning artwork that strikes at the heart of your guests. Why not invest in a plush, colourful leather or suede seat?

The potential for statement pieces to improve and enhance your home bar is pretty much endless.

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Decorating Your Home For The Christmas Season The Easy Way

Christmas is coming and if you are short on time here are some ideas on how to revamp and decorate your home for the Christmas holiday season the easy way.

Think of a colour scheme and stick to it

Whether it's silver and black, red and gold, or any other combination, it can look great when choosing a colour scheme and sticking to it throughout the house. Take this through your home from the garland on the door, the decorations in your lounge, the tree decor, even the table decorations for Christmas Day. Add the odd new decoration in the same colour scheme every year and your home will look fresh stylish and coordinated year on year. 

Add some artificial lights 

Artificial lights can add that Christmas vibe straight away. Decorating your home with pretty Christmas lights is a sure-fire way to make your home ready for the holiday season. Artificial candles and artificial tea lights add a lovely glow and are much safer than real candles especially if you have pets or kids around, while fairy lights can be draped around mantlepieces as well as trees. You can even get artificial solar lights for outside. 

Don't forget outside

christmas lights
Outdoor decorations are a lovely way to make your home Christmasy. If you buy outdoors lights make sure they are on a timer to make things easy for you and not to annoy the neighbours.  Christmas projectors showing snowflakes falling on your home are easy to set up too, while light-up Santas and reindeer will all add some fun if you have kids in the house.  Also, don't forget to add some Christmas cheer to your door with a garland of holly and berries. 

Get the kids involved

Christmas cookies
Getting the kids involved in making Christmas decorations can be fun and create great memories too. There are many craft templates and ideas you can find online, so why not make Christmas stockings, Christmas wreaths or tree decorations with the kids? Take it one step further and get them to create their own Christmas cards and Christmas cookies as gifts too and help save a fortune! I always remember making Christmas snowflake decorations myself as a child and Christmas tree cookies with boiled sweets that melted to be stained glass windows.  

Don't forget the Hygge

hygge

Hygge is a Danish or Norwegian word for cosiness and at Christmas, it's super important to have a cosy house. Set up the lounge for the Hygge lifestyle with soft cosy throws, ambient lighting and get your warm slippers on to spend quality time with family and friends. In fact, the last point is what Christmas is all about - spending quality time with family and friends. 

So I hope you have found some inspiration on decorating your home for the Christmas season the easy way. For more inspiration check out House Beautiful's fun and festive guide to Christmas decoration.

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The Growth Of Executive Assistant Career Post Pandemic

The pandemic has been a strange time for many of us and we are now entering a period when many people are considering a new career post pandemic.

An Executive Assistant Training provider in London has said that they are experiencing a higher number of mums who are looking to return to work as Executive Assistants. The increase seems to have occurred in the last year.

Why Are Executive Assistant Jobs Attractive?

woman computer

Executive Assistants are different to PAs, in that they have more exposure to business support and get involved in more managerial work than a PA. PA jobs tend to be far more focused on providing administrative support. This makes Executive Assistant jobs often more varied and more interesting than PA jobs.

Additionally, given the impact of the pandemic, we are seeing far more flexible working and remote working Executive Assistant jobs. This process started before the pandemic, as many managers were often located in a different place to their Executive Assistants. This remote working aspect is popular with mums who are keen to get the work-life balance they need when they return to work. It is also popular with those that help care for family members and find it easier to work remotely.

Executive Assistant Salaries

In the UK, according to the Institute of Executive Assistants and Administrators, average salaries for Executive Assistants are higher in the big cities. In London, the average salary is around £40K per annum. However top salaries would be around £59K. Generally, the higher end salary is likely to be in a more demanding industry  where you lose the work and life balance, or where you need more technical or specific knowledge of the work environment. 

Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh are all quoted for having average salaries between £30K and £35K and higher end salaries being between £40K and £45K.

Work-life balance is a major focus for many people now, especially new mums. Therefore, it is worth remembering all organisations have Executive Assistants. This means that you could opt for an organisation that offers more well-being and work-life balance if it is your preference.

Executive Assistant Courses

Anyone looking to work as an Executive Assistant should consider what type of skills and training they need to make the move. Generally, Executive Assistants need strong office admin skills and a mix of business skills. They need to have good interpersonal skills to help build relationships. Additionally, a full mix of office IT skills which normally means a broad range of advanced Microsoft office skills. Typing is needed but it is not essential that you have a very fast typing speed, as in the past.


*Collaborative post

Give A Personalised Locket For Christmas With Lovelox London And Win One Too Ends 5/12

Before we know it Christmas will be upon us. Now, I don't know about you but I often struggle to buy the perfect Christmas gift for family members. As you get older they especially seem to have everything. My mum is particularly difficult to buy for but this year I know what I am buying. A personalised locket from Lovelox London. This is a collaboration with Lovelox London but all words and opinions are my own. 

Why buy a locket?


A locket is one of those gifts that can mean so much. Traditionally given to symbolise love or as a keepsake, a locket is perfect for keeping a little memento inside like a photo of loved ones or a locket of hair, and it is worn close to the heart. 

Styles of lockets

In years gone by lockets were worn to show support to family members, religious organisations or the royal family and were worn by men and women. They were also not just worn around the neck but also worn in a ring or a brooch and even a watch fob. 

Today lockets are traditionally heart-shaped or oval-shaped and worn around the neck on a chain. They are particularly popular for special birthdays like 18th, 21st or 40th birthdays as well as christenings. They can be passed down through generations and this makes them extra special. 

Lovelox London


Lovelox London is a jewellery brand from the company Engravers Guild that produces beautiful personalised lockets, made by hand from precious metals such as silver, yellow and rose gold on silver. The company Engravers Guild has been evolving for over 100 years and is based in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.

The range of lockets that Lovelox London sells includes simple heart and oval shape lockets to scrolled and ornate designs, all of which can be personalised and can include photos. Their mission is "to create treasured keepsakes to celebrate meaningful moments in your life". In an image-saturated online world, their idea is to capture the most special memories and to hold them close.

Ordering





Ordering is easy to do online. You tap on the ‘Create My Locket’ button on loveloxlockets.com and it enables the customer to upload two photos within the locket itself. You choose the length of chain from an adjustable 16 to 18 inches to an adjustable 20 to 24 inches. When you order and pay the LOVELOX team ensures the photo fit snug into the lockets casing and any engraving is carried out to the highest standards. It is then packed with love and sent on its way to you, to delight someone you love.



So below are some of my favourite necklaces from Lovelox London. Let me know which design is your favourite and be sure to enter the competition where you can win your very own rose gold plated heart locket.

Wishlist

full scroll heart locket
Full Scroll Heart Engraved Locket – Gold plated £85

My first choice is this heart scroll locket. I love its beautiful detailed pattern which is hand engraved. This necklace is sterling silver and yellow gold plated to keep the price affordable and would make a stunning necklace for fans of yellow gold jewellery. Inside it can be personalised with space for two photos and the chain is adjustable. 

silver heart diamond locket

Diamond Set Personalised Heart Locket – Silver £75

My next choice is this beautiful silver diamond studded locket. I think the detail in the centre is so exquisite.  Inside it can be personalised with space for two photos and the chain is adjustable. The reverse can be engraved for a personalised message too. It's a best seller and rightly so.

rose gold heart locket

My last choice is my favourite. This rose gold plated heart necklace is simple and classic and perfect to wear every day.  I love the clean lines of this locket so much. Inside it can be personalised with space for two photos and the chain is adjustable. The reverse can be engraved for a personalised message too. 

All lockets come in a luxury gift box and are packed with care. They are also available in silver, yellow gold plated and rose gold plated on silver.

Competition

Today on my blog you can win this rose gold plated locket, as featured above. So check out the Lovelox London website find your favourite locket and enter below. 

Entry is easy via the Gleam app below with a click of a button. If you like competitions be sure to check if I have any more running here. Good luck!


Win a rose plated heart locket

How To Choose The Furniture For Your Dream Living Room

There’s hardly a room in your house that’s quite as important as your living room. You probably spend hours in it every day, lounging after work, reading a good book, or watching TV. It’s also where you take your friends when they come and visit, and the first room you show to your guests.

So naturally, when a room plays such an important function, choosing the right kind of furniture becomes crucial. You want your living room to reflect who you are as a person and also be stylish, comfortable, and characterful, but you’re not an interior designer, so how exactly should you do that? Well, allow me to give you a few tips and help you furnish the living room of your dreams.

Look Up Different Furniture Styles

lounge

If you have absolutely no idea where to start, looking up different furniture styles online might serve as an inspiration. There are dozens of styles out there — from Art Nouveau and mid-century modern to minimalism and contemporary. They all have their individual characteristics and suit different tastes, so pick the style you like and start decorating.

Of course, you don’t have to stick strictly to one style. Say, for instance, that you like the geometrical patterns and natural motifs of art deco furniture. That doesn’t mean you have to buy pieces and decorations that exclusively fit this style. In fact, adding a few art deco elements into an otherwise contemporary living room could end up having a stronger effect.

If you do decide to mix furniture styles, though, make sure to figure out what works and what doesn’t. If your living room is quite futuristic, adding antique details and decorations is a risky move. That’s not to say that some people can’t make it work, but it’s undoubtedly more difficult than sticking to the safe choices.

Choose a Center Furniture Piece


Usually, every living room has a focal point, a furniture piece everything else is centred around. In most living rooms, a large sofa plays this role — it’s the thing everyone notices as soon as they enter the room.

So, before you do anything else, choose the kind of sofa you’d like to buy and where you’d like to place it. Once that’s done, picking out the rest of the furniture shouldn’t be too much of a problem. For instance, you can get armchairs and coffee tables in similar or complementary colours and styles. Their positions also shouldn’t be difficult to figure out, especially since you’ll arrange them around the sofa.

When you finish with the essential furniture, add some decorations or art pieces that fit well into the overall design. If you want to play with various styles, these details are a perfect opportunity. An otherwise minimalistic room could benefit greatly from a colourful painting, and a plant or two is a good choice, no matter the style.

Careful With the Colours

Most designers with years of experience under their belt give simple advice. When decorating your living room, choose two or three colours and stick to them. Your furniture, rugs, and walls should be in those colours, and there’s rarely a good reason to add a new one. The decorations might break this rule at times, but even they should fit in with the rest of the room.

Right now, the most popular living room colour palettes contain mainly calming, earthy tones, pastels, and whites. That’s not a surprise either — a living room is a place of relaxation, and these colours certainly promote it. Golden accents are also in vogue, so consider that next time you want to spice up your room!

Mix Up the Sizes

We already mentioned that each living room has a focal point, a sort of a centrepiece. If that’s your sofa, then it’s bound to be the largest piece of furniture in the room. But what about other furniture? How big should it be, and does it really matter?

Well, if your sofa is already big, there’s hardly a reason for everything else to be as well. In fact, filling your living room with large pieces will only lead to overcrowding it, which certainly isn’t a good look.

So, instead, try to mix it up a bit. Use smaller or medium-sized pieces to complement the large ones. That’s not to say that you can’t put a large TV or a huge painting, but don’t overdo it. More than two or three big pieces are definitely unnecessary.

Put Some Thought Into Lighting


Finally, nothing sets the mood quite so well as good lighting. You want it to make the room cosy and pleasant but also be bright enough that you can read in the evening. Wall lights and small or standing lamps are an excellent choice — play around with the arrangements to see what works best. You may also invest in unique ceiling lights or chandeliers if they fit your aesthetic. Ultimately, what matters is that your room is well-lit and comfortable.

In Conclusion

Furnishing the perfect living room is by no means an easy task, and you’ll probably need quite a bit of planning and searching for the right pieces. We’ve given you a few useful tips, though, so now you at least know where to start. And while you should keep these rules in mind, don’t be afraid to experiment with details. After all, it’s your living room, so you should make it work for you.

*Collaborative post

4 Things To Prepare In Advance For Your Next Trip Away

The destination is selected, the flights and accommodation booked, now, the countdown for your trip away begins.

Going on a trip away is an exciting time, with many starting the countdown the second their holiday is booked. With the stresses and challenges many of us have faced over the past couple of years, it is unsurprising many of us are excited about jetting off somewhere new.

Whilst you might have to wait a while before your trip away, there are things that you can prepare in advance to help reduce any stresses while you enjoy your time off.


1. Get Your Insurance Sorted First


airport

After booking your flights and accommodation, the next thing to sort is your travel insurance. If something were to occur that was out of your control, you want to have insurance in place.

Getting insurance as soon as you have booked your trip away can protect you should something occur before you go away.

In addition to this, if you were to seek medical treatment, treatment costs can be expensive. With insurance in place, it can cover the costs of possible treatment that you might need.

2. Know The Regulations And Guidelines

The UK government has recently updated their travel guidelines. However, it is crucial to check the regulations for the country you are visiting. Some countries may ask you to do a PCR test before you enter. Others may have rules in place, such as the mandatory wearing of masks.

Before you take jet off on your next trip, take some time to find out if there are any guidelines in place that could impact your time away somehow. For instance, some countries have an 11 pm curfew in place to help to minimise the spread of the virus.

3. See What There Is To Do


art gallery

If you are going on a trip where you spend the day lounging around the pool or sea, this one might not be as applicable to you as those wanting to explore during their trip away. However, if you were to explore the area, look to see what there is to do both indoors and outdoors. That way, if there is a day where the weather is a little dreary, you can explore the local museum or gallery that you found. Additionally, if there is somewhere that you want to visit, consider booking in advance. If the museum is notorious for being busy, you might struggle with booking on the day.

4. Find Holiday Taxis For Transfers


After landing at your holiday destination, the last thing you want to do is find which train or bus you need to get to where your accommodation is. Ideally, you would have a cheap airport transfer that will be waiting at the airport upon your arrival, sign in their hand with your name on it and the holiday taxi outside waiting to take you straight to your accommodation.

Fortunately, cheap holiday transfers are possible in most holiday destinations in Europe thanks to companies like Cheap Taxis. Consider booking cheap airport transfers before you leave to ensure that you have transport to take you from the hotel to your accommodation. It provides you with one less worry whilst you are away.

Planning a trip away does take a bit of work, especially in recent times. Plan in advance if you can so you have a basic understanding of what to expect and you can reduce the worries or stresses when you are away.