Home Life

3 Tips To Peaceful Sleep


If you want better sleep then read on, and learn how to catch some better zzzzz’s.  

1    Optimize Your Bedroom For Sleep 

Sleep can be somewhat elusive as we get older. Modern lifestyles mean we probably aren’t doing as much exercise as we should, or getting a lot of fresh air. We may be eating too late to feel comfortable, or drinking caffeine or alcohol to manage our alertness or relaxation levels.

Plenty of people (parents of young children especially) struggle to get a full night’s sleep, which in turn leads to being over tired the next day, when you don’t make the best choices for your health, and the cycle repeats. We compound this if our sleep environment isn’t conducive enough. Creating a comfortable and soothing bedroom environment can make sleep more enjoyable. Here are a few tips on how to make your bedroom sleep-friendly. 

a )  Turn off all the lights:

Make sure the bedroom is dark- like really dark- whenever trying to sleep. Consider investing in blackout curtains or a sleep mask if there’s invasive light. Making the room dark will help improve the release of sleep hormones, melatonin. For this same reason, it’s a good idea to dim the lights some time before you go to sleep, and avoid using devices in bed, or just before bed.

b)   Dampen any noises:

Do you live in a noisy neighborhood? If yes, consider investing in a white noise machine, a fan, or even better earplugs. Drowning the noises will make sleeping and staying asleep much more effortless. Sillicone earplugs are good for remaining in situ all night and dampening the noise of snoring, revellers passing by your windows, and birds heralding the dawn!

c)   Keep the bedroom cool:

Make your bedroom cooler than other rooms. Experts recommend setting it a few degrees lower than usual to promote sleep. Sound weird? Well, you will be under a thick cover and toasty warm, so it’s a good idea to keep the air outside of the duvet fresh, then you shouldn’t get too overheated and dehydrated in the night.

 d)    Invest in a comfortable mattress and beddings:

How comfortable is your bed/mattress.? If not, then consider investing in a more comfortable and supportive bed. Read these customer reviews about Made Trade. Although a significant investment, going for the best quality bed can make your nights more enjoyable. Opt for a highly sprung mattress if you can afford it, the support is unrivalled in my opinion. And don’t forget your pillow! I bought an excellent memory foam pillow a couple of years ago and it has changed my sleep, my neck pain, and is still going strong. Best £45 I ever spent!

e)  Valerian root and other similar supplements can be helpful to relax you and help you fall asleep. It could be worthwhile investing in some of these supplements. Be sure to investigate any possible contraindications you may have before taking these. Plenty of supplements don’t work well with conventional medicine, so please exercise caution. Taking a melatonin supplement is said to be very helpful in promoting good sleep.

  1.     Have A Regular Sleep Schedule

Make a habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This will help keep the circadian rhythm in check, making it easier to drift to sleep each time you hit the blankets. According to sleep experts, irregular sleep cycles can/do interfere with melatonin production. Inconsistent melatonin production translates to poor sleep cycles and sometimes no sleep at all. Keeping a consistent sleep cycle will also help the body regulate the production of hormones responsible for controlling sleep and wakefulness. Here are a few tips on how to keep a regular sleep schedule: 

i.) Have a fixed wake-up time:

What time do you wake up every morning? Depending on your schedule, most people prefer to wake up at around 6 or 7 in the morning to prepare for work. Make this your daily wake-up time regardless of the day, and you will be surprised at how much more rest you get. Sleeping in on the weekend sounds like a good idea to catch up on missed sleep in the week, but sadly, this is a myth. It’s a much better and healthier plan to stick roughly to a sleep schedule of around 8 hours per night, than skimping in the week and ‘catching up’ at the weekend.

ii.)  Allocate enough time for sleep:

The average healthy adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep every day. That said, you want to ensure you get at least 7 hours of sleep and not more than 9 for a healthy sleep cycle. It’s a good idea to plan your regular bed and wake times to ensure this as well as you can. 

iii.)  Make gradual adjustments to your sleep schedule: 

If you have to adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate changes in your work times or travel, try not to do it abruptly, if at all possible. Little adjustments of say, half an hour to an hour gradually increasing over time, will enable your body to readjust quickly. 

  1. Increase Your Exposure To The Morning Sunlight 

Soaking in the morning sunshine not only improves your wakefulness but your quality of sleep at night. The natural morning sunlight helps reset the internal clock, enabling the body to cut down on melatonin production and trigger increased body activity.  Resetting the circadian rhythm also helps activate other essential processes and functions as well. 

The morning sunshine helps trigger increased production of cortisol while inhibiting melatonin in the process. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for increased heart rate and various other functions of the body. This explains why basking in the morning sunshine leaves you feeling energized, ready to take on the day’s events. Unknown to many, allowing the morning sunshine to soak in does help reduce sleep disturbances and improve your overall health. It also reduces the risk of sliding into depression later in the day. I’m sure we all know how that feels- the 3pm slump when only a sugary snack and a caffeinated beverage will do? Well, a little sun in the morning might just stave that slump off.

Add in a few exercises- stretches and maybe a little jog- in the morning, and most of your sleep woes will fade away.  

According to research, the amount of morning sunshine one gets, translates to an equal number of restful sleep at night. In another study, researchers were able to determine that basking in the morning sunshine does help reduce stress and depression levels and contributes to good quality sleep at night. You, however, do not have to depend on the natural sunlight to experience these benefits; artificial light sources mimicking the sun’s spectrum do come in handy too. Consider investing in these to use during winter. A SAD lamp is truly a great invention for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and it is truly worth the investment. Add in Vitamin D to your supplement regime and you will be doubly protected from SAD.

Also, think about adding other aspects of self care to your routine, be that taking a soothing bath at bedtime, taking a walk in the morning, or adding meditation to your daily routine. The better you treat yourself in the day, the more likely it is you will get a great night’s sleep!


Home Life Play

5 Tips for a More Fulfilling Lifestyle


Having been through the pandemic and its associated lockdowns (and we aren’t in the clear from them just yet!) many of us have had some extra time to think about where we are, and where we would like to be. The outcome is that a lot of us realised we want to live a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Sound selfish when there are people in the world struggling for every bite of food they eat? I don’t think so. One person’s more fulfilling lifestyle might include volunteering at a shelter, a soup kitchen, or a food bank, or even taking a 6 month sabbatical to go to a developing country to dig latrines. Fulfilment is all about personal choice, after all – we don’t all crave Ferraris and Gucci bags to feel like we have wrung all the juice out of life. In fact, many of us could do with decluttering our lives a little, not to mention our minds!

The upshot is, we all have one life (as far as I know) and it’s probably not a bad idea to enjoy as much of it as we can!

Work, family, various extra-curricular and social commitments can all add up to a full and draining calendar, and it may seem impossible to find time for yourself or your hobbies, or the things you think might really push your life in a different direction. I’m talking about going back to college to study for a different career, learning a language to prepare for retiring abroad, spending time travelling, or even trying out a series of little hobbies that make you feel like life is that little bit richer.

If you are pushed for a gap in your schedule to create some lifestyle changes, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of the spare time you do have.

We’ve got five tiny and manageable tips to help you live a more fulfilling life and feel happier with your busy schedule right here:

1) We all need time for ourselves- it is so important to take a little time every day for something you find nourishing. It could be ten minutes of meditation, spending time on a cherished hobby, taking care of your houseplants, baking bread, pottering in the garden, or even sitting with a cup of tea and your journal. I find the important thing is that this slot is regular, and isn’t spent on an activity that takes too much concentration. During this time, your brain has a moment to decompress, to unwind a little from everything else it has to deal with being thrown at it all day. This is an easy way to get some self-love in without taking too much time out from work or chores around the house. You might find that practicing this time-out gives your brain the space it needs for inspirational thoughts.

2) Invest in your hobbies, no matter how small they may seem- this investment could be time or money, or energy. For instance, running doesn’t need to be an expensive hobby- a pair of trainers and some PE kit is all you need to start, but as you grow more serious, you might invest in things to enhance the experience. Perhaps gloves and a hat for cold weather, more technical trainers, specialist socks, or even a pedicure for those tired feet! An investment in a mini greenhouse will give a budding gardener so much scope to grow the number of seedlings grown for spring, it will enhance the experience through the whole growing season. This ranges right up to investing in a qualification that could change your life significantly, re-training in another career, or to start a side hustle as a bookkeeper, for example.

3) Learn something new every day, even if it’s just a few words in another language. I use Duolingo for this very purpose! I don’t have the time for a full on language course right now, but I can easily find five minutes a day to learn a little. And by learning a little every day, you build on your knowledge base exponentially. I feel like I have learned more than when I have previously taken language classes, and because I practice it daily, it is sticking better than a weekly class where all of last week’s knowledge gets buried under everything else that has happened since. Again, this could be on any topic, not just language learning. You could look up a new word in your own language, or pick a topic you know very little about and commit to learning one additional fact about it every day. The point is more that learning expands our horizons, and the more we practice learning, the better we can see the world around us.

4) Say no – it’s a complete sentence. Now this is a harder one!! Most of us have done something that feels like an obligation rather than a choice, be it sitting on a PTA committee or attending work drinks because you think you should be ‘seen’ to do so. If you want to feel more fulfilled, even a little, these obligations have got to go. This needs to be handled delicately, but if you have a feeling of dread around any obligations, it’s probably a sign that they aren’t enriching your life any! Of course some things you might chose to continue because, for instance, you want your children to feel supported by you sitting on the PTA committee, but if there’s no justification balancing out that obligation, there will always be a way to reclaim that time commitment.

5) Give back by volunteering – you might just make a new friend! If you have said no to something that doesn’t fulfil you, this is a perfect time to find something that does. Volunteering can take a million forms these days, from spending a few hours helping in a charity shop to joining a committee to raise money for your favourite charity. Every cause is looking for any help available, be it a couple of hours or a couple of pounds, or some useful knowledge or contacts you may have. My parents have volunteered at the same charity shop for over 20 years and have made a huge circle of friends as a result, not to mention all the good work they have done.

So there you have it, a brief guide to taking your first steps on the journey to feeling a little more fulfilled.


November Giveaway

It’s that time again!  Yes, it’s our monthly giveaway – and this one is particularly fab, if I do say so myself.

So, the weather is really autumnal at the moment – the trees are all nearly bare, or if not bare then the leaves are all orange and yellow, and the holly and ivy are giving off a real Christmassy vibe to me.

Of course it’s far too early to start thinking about the big day itself, but, is it ever too soon to think about spoiling yourself or those closes to you?  I didn’t think so!

Personally, I LOVE an afternoon tea, and what with all the lockdowns of the last couple of years, I haven’t put one at the top of my priorities list.  Happily, you don’t need to leave the house to enjoy this luxuriously Christmassy afternoon tea hamper.  Read on for details of the prize, and how to enter.

With Christmas right around the corner it is the perfect time to start thinking of maybe a little Christmas tea party to enjoy. I have teamed up with some UK bloggers to bring you this amazing giveaway.

This prize is M&S Christmas Tea in Mayfair hamper.

So hold onto your kettles! There are plenty of ways to enter, simply scroll down to the Rafflecopter widget below to see the options. You will also see the terms and conditions below as well as all of the blogs taking part – please do take a moment to visit them to show your support to them. 

Bloggers Taking Part

Here is a list of all of the bloggers taking part in this giveaway – please show your support by visiting them.

Blog Bay Bee | Not got a Clue | Sit and Take in the View | Money Making Mummy | Brig Knows Best | Fully Money | Make a Little Money | Touch of Wellness | Diet Exercise Lose Weight | Online Life Calendar | The Finance Fettler | Doing the Impossible | Positively Eco | The Heaton Fam | Good Life and Mind | Weddings and Wishes | Feli Family | Schoolhouse Cinema

She’s Changing Lanes | Make Money Online Creative | Photographyish | Sahara Vibes | Celtic Tigress | Forever Home | Eric Ales | Mum’s Guide to Life | Keene on Saving | Home and Garden Things | The Green Purpose | Make Money Blogging Now | Crafting Her Joy | Our Life Interrupted | Skylark Virtual Services | Home Town Furniture | The How to Heroes | Wow Gift Creations | Mudpies and Rainbows | The Parenting Insider | Thrifty Husband | Mrs Pinch

Blogger Creations | Harley Smith | Surviving with Coffee | The Blogging Portal | Spiritual Life Learning | Big Boys Cry | Sporf | Image Premiums | Live Life Love | Birds and Lillies | Journalist Book | The Way up Fitness | Cheat Planet | Cotswold Lifestyle | Mental Health Parent | Ellis Denning | Frugal and Fun | Blog Masters | 911 Blog | Bake More Cake

Inhome Insights | Craving Christmas | Lifestyle Saving Techniques | Insequiral | Ecoralive | Have a Fab Day | Mrs Money Pot | Wake up it’s Monday | Money Matters UK | Mortgages After 60 | Gonna Get Wed | Lifestyle of a Londoner | Manifest with Loa | Active Gardening | Skinny Spending | Discount Days Out | Gin and Gemini | Joyful Bite | Lula Grace | The Family Cookbook | Madam Blunt | Steely Soft | Interior Design Toolbox

Blogging 101 | Savvy Squirrel | Paper Writing | Pots of Pennies | Trust Nature | Full of Wishes | Life with More Sparkle | Balance the Budget | Guide to Health and Fitness | Money Money Money Online | Green Northerner | The Free From Mummy | Kitchen Recipe Book | Binancially Inclined | The Green Shilling | KiddoCo | The Life we Built | Annie Grace | The Thrifty Princess | Crafted with Perfection

Make Enough Money | Thrifty Minimalist | Lydony | A Little Life of Lovely | The Good Life in Somerset | Live it Your Way | Better Best You | Christmas Ahoy | Pounds and Pennies | Amaze Ball Gamer | All Sorts of Jazz | Lisa Cooking | Frugal Home Project | Dotranker | SEO Gold | Nishiv | Vegan Book | Mums the Wurd | Valid Articles | Houston Marcha | Citas Planet | Doggie Attitude

The Prize

This prize is M&S Christmas Tea in Mayfair hamper.

This includes:

  • 6 all butter mince pies (334g)
  • Classic Panettone (100g)
  • Clementine & cranberry Bucks Fizz (75cl) (Alcohol Content- 4%)
  • Luxury Gold tea tin (10 bags)
  • 8 Chocolate & orange cookies & cream biscuits (176g)
  • Classic recipe iced Christmas cake slices (240g)
  • Hand decorated fudge chocolate yule log (495g)
  • All butter shortbread trees (100g)
  • Grey wicker hamper

Terms and conditions

1. There is one top prize of the M&S Christmas Tea in Mayfair Hamper.
2. There are no runner up prizes.
3. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway
4. Closing date for entries is midnight on 23.11.2021
5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the blogs involved, but you only need to enter on one blog
6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget, and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw
7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw.
8. 1 winner will be chosen at random.
9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their delivery address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
10. The winners’ names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this).
11. The prizes will be dispatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their details. In this giveaway’s case prizes will be dispatched from 15th December.
12. The promoter is Drew Media LTD t/a
13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

Enter now

Simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entry widget options below to be entered. You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to earn bonus entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Rise and Rise of the Influencer

Do you have a favourite blog?  You Tube Channel?  Tik Tok star? Pinterest Pinner?

I have a bunch of favourites myself, and for years, I – let’s be honest here- kind of envied them.  I had ‘normal’ jobs that I wasn’t that invested in, so when I met a girl at work who was quitting her day job to be a full time money blogger, I was sceptical to say the least.

Well, I was wrong.  She did great- won awards, got in the press and her brand went from strength to strength.  While I really admired her, I was envious too.  I was still seemingly trapped in the cycle of finding a job that I hoped would fulfil me, realising it wouldn’t, then seeking out another opportunity as soon as I could.

That not really a sustainable course of action, it turns out!  In a previous life I had been a restaurant manager, and I quickly recalled that the best part of that job was being the leader, being the person who had a vision for the shift or week or month ahead, and had the organisation and drive to make it happen.  Sounds a grand way of getting all the customers served with the meals they ordered, but ultimately, I realised I liked getting sh*t DONE!

So, screwing my courage to the sticking post- like the girl I had admired so much for getting her blog so successful that she could make a full time job of it- I started a blog.

Several times in fact.

I even had my cousin pretty much set up one of them, because I was just so stumped by the technical aspect of all – not a great moment.  In fact it was pretty embarrassing as she had the whole thing done in about an hour!  But, alas – and I hope she isn’t reading this – I gave up on that site.  I didn’t have the faith that I could learn how to change or fix things on the blog, which I could have learned.  More importantly, I didn’t have the faith in myself to make a success of it, that anyone would be interested in what I was writing.

Fast forward to today, and I am settling into blogging very nicely thank you very much.  I’m still not amazing at setting up a blog, or any of the tech bits – and I’m talking the simplest stuff here – not coding or anything remotely tricky!  I’m pretty sure I’m making all sorts of mistakes as I go along, and I know my sites don’t look amazing, but I now appreciate that it’s just part of the journey, and that the tech know-how will come with practice.  Well, that’s what I’m told by the lovely community of bloggers and influencers I have found myself immersed in lately, anyway!

I also have less worry about who will read my output now than I did.   At some point, I just decided I was going to blog for me, and if other people want to join me and read my posts, then they will be welcomed with open arms!

There are so many fabulous bloggers and influencers out there at the moment that I didn’t have to look far to find some inspiration to get me going in this world, even aside from the household names we have all come to hear about the last few years.

I’m pretty partial to a makeup tutorial myself, an eco-friendly blog here and there, and of course, anything with a recipe on it, so I have a million people on the internet to inspire me or learn from a so many different ways!

The wonderful thing is, in this online world we are creating around ourselves we can chose to learn and grow in whatever direction we decide we want to, and that is exactly what I have done myself.

I went from envying the people blogging or being influencers to becoming a blogger myself.  It was hard, not because I didn’t understand how to start a blog site or how to change the colours or add pictures, though of course that was, and remains tricky!  But it was mostly hard because I didn’t think I could even have got this far, but guess what?  I have.


Home Life

Intentional Cleaning

As we move into the autumn-winter season, I have been thinking about how to keep my home clean in a more intentional way.

In the past I have just fitted in housework around other tasks – pushing the vac round while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil, scrubbing the shower tiles while I’ve got conditioner in my hair, that sort of thing.

At this time of year I like to slow down a bit, take more time over cooking and eating, spending more time snuggled up and getting cosy, so the rushing around, squeezing in 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there into my housework schedule just doesn’t seem to fit right now.

Headspace do a wonderful mindfulness exercise called ‘Mindful Cleaning for Sleep’ – the theory being that if you can’t sleep at night, you can get up and clean something while also clearing your mind, and this has inspired me to bring mindfulness into my housework.

Firstly: make sure your headphones are charged!  You might want to stream something like a podcast or soothing music, maybe even a mindfulness exercise for while you are doing quiet tasks like dusting or tidying.

Second: Set aside a specific time every day to clean or tidy if you can – this will help you to be more mindful about the whole of your daily schedule as a side benefit.

Third: Be mindful of the cleaning products you have in your home – eco friendly is best, not only for the environment, but for you and your family as well.  Many chemicals used in house cleaning are having unseen effects on our health and even can affect our gene expressions, so stick to the natural stuff wherever you can. As an added bonus, you will save money and can add your own scents to cleaners, such as steeping citrus peels in white vinegar for a couple of weeks- the resulting scented vinegar leaves a lovely aroma after the initial vinegar tang has worn off.

Fourth: When you have settled on your time to clean, and the task to be completed, try to stay completely in the moment – no checking your phone, no stopping to answer an email, no watching the news for five minutes before you ‘get on’.  In fact, unless someone has dropped by for a chat or a family member needs urgent assistance, I’d suggest you do your best to stay on track to be as in the moment while you clean as you can. I’ve tried it, and truly, it makes cleaning less drudgery and more of a cleansing experience.

Lastly, light up a lovely scented candle and step back to enjoy your handiwork, knowing that you have taken time out to not only clean your home, but also to clear your mind a little. It’s an interesting concept to think of housework as ‘me time’, but it could just work for you!




October 2021 Giveaway!

Here we are in October, with the autumnal weather creeping in and the nights drawing in shorter.  I have recently been out pumpkin picking myself, and am enjoying eating the lovely orange fruits of my labours!

So now it’s getting chillier and there’s less to do in the evenings, what better way to adapt to the changing seasons and keep the cold out, than with a big bundle of lovely chocolate and wine?

Lucky for you, I have that bundle right here for you to win!  I’ve got together with a bunch of awesome bloggers to create this giveaway of a Cadbury’s chocolate and wine hamper worth £50, and all you have to do is follow the instructions below to enter.


Best of luck, everyone!


The Bloggers Taking Part

Here is a list of all of the bloggers taking part in this giveaway – please show your support by visiting them.

Gin and Gemini | Beauty Wellness TipsOur Life InterruptedMum’s Guide to Life | Kids on RollWeddings and Wishes | The Heaton Family | The Finance FettlerAll Sort of Jazz | Dharma Advise | Lula Grace | Joyfull Bite | Child Free Biz | Christmas Ahoy | Dot RankerLifestyle Saving Techniques |  Ellis Denning | Fully Money | Bossy Girl | Frugal Home Project | Lisa Cooking | The Happy Piggy Bank | Bark and Bites | Freelancer Kit | The Blogging Portal | Lifestyle of a Londoner | Doing the ImPCOSible | Adjusting the NetBalance the Budget | Life with more SparkleManifest with LoaHave a Fab DayMrs Money Pot | Wake up it’s Monday | Journalist Book | Giving is Glorious | Pink Lollipops | Positively Eco | RCS Wins | Shut Eye Music | Steely Soft | Successful Mess | In Home Insights | Interior Design Toolbox | Crafting Her Blooms | Family Loving Life | Festive Family ChristmasChasing my SunshineFashion Shirt | The Thrifty Princess | Save and Earn | Lydony | Several Ways To | Life Changing Side Hustle | Off White | Ecoralive | Insequiral |  Guide to Health and FitnessMud Pies and RainbowsThe Parenting Insider | Bubbly Nattie | Swallow Tail Games | That’s Bella | Thrifty and Minimalist | Tiny House Big Heart | Cheat Planet | Cheshire Kat Blog | The Mindful Slow Life | Mummy Vs Work | My Healthy Temple | Muff & Teacake | Oceans Of Gold | Tea Driven | The Life We Built | The Way Up Fitness | Toothbrush Packed | Valid Articles | Amaze Ball Gamer | Enviro Online | Inter ScholarsWeightloss on a Budget | A Life Less Plastic | Blogger CreationsSkinny Spending | Discount Days Out | | Our Hand Made HomeBay-Bee | Not a ClueMortgages After 60Lofpo | Houseton Marcha | It Coin | Life Of A Hobbit | Mamma Blogger | Minima Furniture | Miss Foxy Blog | Modern Rustic Weddings | Most Rolling In | Yorkshire Wedding Blog | Chronicling Home | Colourful Corner | Craving ChristmasCool Kid Crafts | 4 Kids Blog | Bells and Bouquets | Better Best You | Bitten Food | British Bride | Final Blogger | Hellaswell | Our Travel | Paper Writing | Sweet Oven Lovin | The Family Cookbook | The Good Life in Somerset | Madam Blunt | Our Green Shilling | Accounting Page | Best Workouts At Home | Bitcoin and Bets | Cooking From Frozen | Full Of Wishes | Health Beauty Show | Keene On Saving | Kiddo Co | Midnight Review | Sister Lessons | That Copper Life | Not Got A Clue | Our House Our Home | Richard and Erin | Sit And Take In The View | Slow Fashion Fanatic | Spiritual Life Learning | Christmas Geeks | Five Ways To | Michelle Amy Weddings | Money Money Money Online | Health N Beauty Tips | Pesto and Margaritas | Pots Of Pennies | Brig Knows Best | Making Money Mummy | Pale Girl Rambling | Open Hearted Traveller | Mums The Wurd | Vegan Book | Nishi V |

The prize

We are really pleased to be giving away a Cadbury Chocolate and Wine Hamper worth £50.

This hamper includes:

  • 1 x Dark Brown Wicker 16″ Hamper Basket with single clasp
  • 1 x 16 Little Black Pigs Pinot Grigio 75cl
  • 1 x 16 Little Black Pigs Shiraz Cabernet 75cl
  • 1 x 420g Chocolate Eclairs Carton
  • 1 x 185g Heroes Carton
  • 1 x 290g Roses Carton
  • 1 x 180g Milk Tray Box
  • 1 x Cadbury Bournville GIant Buttons 110g Bag
  • 1 x 110g Dairy Milk Bar

Terms and conditions

1. There is one top prize of the Cadbury Chocolate and wine hamper.
2. There are no runner up prizes.
3. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway
4. Closing date for entries is midnight on 22.10.21
5. The same widget appears on all the blogs involved, but you only need to enter on one blog
6. Entrants must log in to the widget, and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw
7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the widget will earn  bonus entries into the prize draw.
8. 1 winner will be chosen at random.
9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their delivery address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
10. The winners’ names will be published in the widget (unless the winner objects to this).
11. The prizes will be despatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their details.
12. The promoter is Drew Media LTD t/a
13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

Enter now

Simply complete any or all of the entry widget options below to be entered. You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to earn bonus entries.

Win a Cadbury Chocolate and wine hamper

Home Life

So You Want to Shrink Your Energy Bills?

Utility bills – UGH!  Of course, we all love our creature comforts but my combined gas and electric bill is, well, higher than I would like!  One thing I’m looking at lately is saving power more around the house, especially electricity, with the aim of being both a little more sustainable and ‘green’ and to save myself a few pennies at the same time!

There are lots of little steps to take to conserve energy, waste less and cut back on utility bills.  Here are a few you can start looking at today. 

Use natural lighting and air conditioning 

The best source of light is the enormous ball of fire in the sky–the sun. And while it might not always be around, depending on where you live, it is great to use it when it is. Natural light is the best way to light your home and costs nothing. So open up those blinds, pull the curtains right back and ensure plenty of that natural light can get into your home. It can also help warm the house in cooler months if you are lucky enough to have decent double glazing and windows that face the right way to catch the sun’s rays! 

In the same way, open those windows and let that fresh air flow through the home, rather than using air conditioning systems. Open windows don’t cost anything, and the air flow is less likely to contain any bugs that can build up in air con units. Besides, a fly or two is hardly a problem, especially if you have a cat like I do who loves to catch and eat them.

Turn off lights when leaving the room 

Using lights is pretty unavoidable in modern life, especially in winter. But, you can conserve a little energy by turning off lights when leaving the room. This means they aren’t using power lighting an empty room, will make the bulb last longer, and if you have left a door or window open- will attract fewer bugs into your home. If you are a fan of smart tech, you can get connected lightbulbs with motion sensors to set up that they turn out when you leave the room! 

Energy efficient appliances 

When it comes to replacing any appliance that uses electricity, look at the energy efficiency of the new one before committing to it. From kettles to fridges, washing machines and dishwashers, even boilers, they all have to have a rating on them with A being the best.  Don’t forget to check your laptop or pc as well, remember to switch it off at the end of a hard day’s work or gaming!  Check out Which? for UK recommendations.

Check your home’s insulation 

One of the biggest causes of wasted energy is poor insulation. Heat rises, vanishes through the roof and vanishes. Therefore, looking at the quality and thickness of the insulation in your roof or loft can be key to improving the home’s energy efficiency. Wool is a great eco friendly and very efficient option.

Producing your own power 

Not as wacky a suggestion as perhaps it used to be, we can now consider producing some of our own electricity right at home! There are lots of renewable options for almost any home to generate electricity, cut down utility bills and even make a little money selling unused power back to the national grid. 

Solar thermal 

A solar panel can heat hot water and works alongside an existing system. This means when there is sunlight, you can generate power to create hot water and not need to use gas and electricity to power your boiler for the job. You may need to get a new tank that works with this kind of system and you need a house facing within 90 degrees of south. 


This is another type of a solar panel that creates electricity from sunlight. You have the panels fitted to the roof so again, a 90 degree of south angle is preferred. It can be expensive to set up but if you general more power than you need, there are schemes to sell it back to utility companies.  

Not everyone will be able to produce their own electricity at this point, but we can all do more to conserve it and therefore make our homes more energy efficient. It also has the benefit of saving money on those utility bills as well! 

Layer Up

An old school tip! When the temperature cools and you are at home, take steps to stay warmer for longer with jumpers, thermal underthings, and blankets! A nice touch to keep the atmosphere cosy in the winter while you are under your cosy blanket is burning a candle or two. You can leave the big electric lights off, and have an atmospheric lighting scheme with a couple of candles scattered about your living space.

Bonus Tip

There are hundreds of ways you can reduce both the money you spend, and the consumption of resources – both excellent outcomes for you and the world at large. Have fun trying out as many as you can think of!

Home Life

Do You Want to be More Sustainable?

Sustainability is a hot topic these days, as many of us realise that if we want to carry on living on this gorgeous planet we call earth, we need to change up our lifestyles a little!

Sustainable living means reducing your carbon footprint by changing what you buy, what you eat, what you use to do things around the house, and what kinds of transportation you choose.

Some people think that this way of living is only for wacky eco warriors, environmentalists or those who are trying to fight climate change on a grand scale. However, there are many benefits that will pay off straight away, not to mention that future generations will thank you for it!

In simple terms, we could describe sustainable living as living with what you already have and reducing what goes to waste. It’s about consuming less, producing less garbage, wasting less water, using natural resources sparingly, and looking for ecologically sound substitutes wherever possible, e.g. using solar power instead of fossil fuels.

Sustainable living doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming! It just requires a conscious effort on your part – that starts with what you buy at the grocery store! You could start by switching to a reusable grocery bag, getting your own coffee mug and water bottle for the office, or calling in an order from home instead of going out to eat. There are lots of small things that you can do to live more sustainably!

Here are some easy guidelines to follow:

Reduce what you use, buy less stuff, produce less, consume what you have. Make a list before you do food shopping and don’t buy more than you need- wouldn’t you rather have a few extra pennies than throw away those perishable goods you didn’t really want or need?

Purchase products that are reusable or recyclable instead of disposable, like glass water bottles, fabric shopping bags and reuseable coffee cups. Also remember to finish up products. Don’t just throw things away when you have bought a replacement.

Recycle what can be recycled: aluminium cans, glass jars, many plastics, and think about composting what’s not able to be recycled. Many councils have a food bin service to take away scraps for composting, which is a great idea. Take used clothes to thrift shops or to a garment collection service for re-use or recycling. If it ends up in the bin, it will sit in landfill, unable to rot down.

When we use these three steps in our life, we create a sustainable lifestyle and are not contributing to climate change. By reducing what you buy, what goes into the trash, or what’s wasted, you’re helping reduce what contributes to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere!

Check out this program for more info on sustainable living.


Conserve Water, Lower your Bills

Water Conservation: Tips to Reduce Your Usage and Lower Your Bill

While it might not seem it, not in the UK at least, water is a precious resource. After a damp summer, it seems crazy to advise you to take care of your water, but access to clean water is growing more scarce around the world. Even here in the UK we haven’t got it as good as we might think! So, try to conserve it in every way possible. It is a good thing to conserve water in your household! You are doing your bit to keep your water bill low, as well as helping the planet.

Turning Off Taps While Brushing Your Teeth

I always turn the tap off when I brush my teeth, so it surprised me to meet my partner who didn’t. He walked around the house scrubbing away, and just let the water just run down the drain – what a waste! I wet my brush, turn off the tap, and then only turn it back on again when I need to rinse. A fraction of the water used, and no risk of a flooded bathroom if you forgot to take the plug out of the sink 😉 

Take Shorter Showers

Another thing that shocked me about my other half – the time he took in the shower! I mean, what was he DOING in there?? I’ll tell you what: nothing. Just standing under the red-hot water and letting it wash away. The average shower is typically 8-10 minutes, but I spend about 3-4 minutes on an average day. One tactic to try is to get wet, switch the water off, suds up, then hop back in, water on full after you’re done lathering up. This doesn’t work in my house as it is freezing for most of the year, so I just get wet, lather up and rinse off quickly. Top tip- invest in a shower cap so you don’t need to wash your hair because it got damp in the steam!

Catch Water for House Plants 

If you’re waiting for the hot tap to get up to the right temperature, grab a container and catch the cold water. You can use the cold water for house plants, or wherever else you might need it. My mum does this for every tap and actually catches enough to water all of her houseplants and some of the garden too! A double win.

Catch Rain Water for Watering Plants

One successful way to conserve water and live more sustainably is by catching rain runoff from your gutters that will eventually end up as wasted water. Get yourself a water butt and attach it to a gutter, and catch the water from when it rains – this will, of course, depend on the design of your house and its roof. I love my water butt, and my plants love the rain water far more than the chemically treated stuff from the hose. Every time I fill up a watering can from the water butt I feel smug about not having to pay to use that water on my thirsty plants. My garden is very important to me, small though it is.

Effectively I have a little patio, on which I grow fruit and a little veg in pots, and have a sweet little bistro set and a deck chair to sit and enjoy the outside world. I spend as much time out there as I can when the weather is nice. Being among nature is so good for the mental health, and getting some sunshine on the skin is great for vitamin D production. Watering garden plants with saved rain water is an extra bonus. 

Take Showers instead of Baths

Believe it or not, a shower can use less water than a bath. Filling up the tub takes more water than you need to bathe in. Years ago I switched most of my baths for showers – because my bath leaked terribly into my downstairs neighbour’s flat.  So I had no choice!  Now I have a bath tub and actually, it’s more of a treat to reserve a bath for after a strenuous day, or as a reward.  Light a candle and put a facemask on, and it’s like a spa experience.  This is something I didn’t do when I took a bath more regularly!

Fill the Dishwasher Up

Using a dishwasher actually uses less water than handwashing dishes.  While I haven’t tested this myself, I hope this is true as I love mine!! This topic has divided many a household-  how to stack the dishwasher!  However your household does it, make sure you only run the dishwasher when it is full. This way, you conserve water by not running the dishwasher three times when once would have sufficed.


Fill the Washing Machine up

Just the same as the tip above, running the washing machine a load of times when once would have done is not only wasting water but detergent, electricity and most importantly your time. How often do you really want to be hanging out wet washing? I’d like to keep it to a minimum myself! Top tip- make sure you have at least 7 pairs of pants and socks, and a few staple outfits to see you through, so you don’t need to run the machine to wash a vital item!

Fix Leaky Taps Immediately

This sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t get a leak sorted immediately? Well, we didn’t… It was one of those jobs that just kept getting put off, until one night, very late in the evening, someone pulled the tap out of the wall thanks to a worn away washer. This created a massive gush of water flowing for ages before we could switch the water supply off (our stopcock is cunningly hidden). This not only wasted a LOAD of water, but it meant the ceiling in the kitchen below has got stained, and I had to wash a LOT of wet towels the day after it happened. Now we are looking at a bathroom renovation! So don’t make my mistake, get in contact with a plumber right away! One dripping faucet can waste gallons of water quickly.