Black Friday Deals with Minted

minted black friday

Christmas Day is now just four short weeks away, and for even the most organised of us, that still just doesn’t feel like long enough to get every single thing and beautifully thought out detail done.

We want to do the cutesy seasonal crafts we found on the web with the kids, we want to give to charity and help those in need, we want to cram every magical detail in that we possibly can and yet, with the usual day to day tasks, school and work and family commitments – the list seems endless no matter how diligently we tackle it and cross of items with our special gold, glittery Christmas pens.

This is where Minted come in, because even the prospect of sending greetings cards can be a daunting task at this time of year – finding the perfect cards, the addresses, stamps, the time it all takes and is it Cousin Kirstie or Kirsty? You can never remember which…

Minted curate and bring you designs from incredibly talented and independent artists, they have a huge array of beautifully designed Holiday cards to suit absolutely everyone and every taste, dozens finished with stunning foil (and proceeds of which will go straight to the designers themselves). You can personalise your cards as much or as little as you need and better yet, Minted donate a portion of their proceeds to Every Mother Counts, a charity helping to protect global maternal health – you can read fully of their involvement here. So how many checkboxes have we just ticked off the epic Christmas to do list? Gotta be four or five, right?

Better yet, this weekend with their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals you can save 20% off a $150 spend on holiday cards and gifts OR you can save 15% on cards and gifts with no minimum spend at all!

The beautiful thing about Minted is how unique they are, not only are all their designs brilliantly individual in their own right, you can customise the shape of your card, colours, add text and photos, even choose the type of card that’s used – it’s all entirely up to you!

forest flurry

My top picks are predominantly typography based, I’m a sucker for a pretty font! And I love the new real foil designs which add a luxury, sparkly feel. And while I love the photo cards, my little boy’s disposition for playing around and never staying still, I know I’d never get a perfectly posed photo to use, but I’m inspired by the playful design of Retro Worded Tree card.

minted top picks

So that’s a big job ticked off the list, now just the presents and food to sort out…

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals with


After the pure chaos of Black Friday (the sort of January sales to North Americans following the day after Thanksgiving) last year, which saw seemingly calm and collected members of the public wrestling over obnoxiously large televisions in the middle of the night – this year seems to be a more civilised affair. And yes, possibly a new telly or camera would be nice, but with Christmas Day looming just four short weeks away – what most of us want is an actual bargain, something that will help pinch the pennies so we can enjoy the big day and not worry about our overdrafts.

What I get the most satisfaction from when it comes to bargain hunting is saving big on the essentials – groceries, toiletries and pet food – because when you save on the every day things, you can concentrate and budget for OMG CHRISTMAS IS COMING.

PetShopBowl Logo have a huge array of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this weekend, all of which you can check out here. If you’re like me and enjoy stocking up on the things you know you’re going to need, their first offer – Receive a £10 voucher when you spend £100 (which will be emailed to you within 7 days of placing your order) can really come in handy, especially with free delivery on orders over £19.99!


But that’s not all…

You can get an EXTRA 20% OFF selected brands such as James Wellbeloved, Royal Canin and Applaws and an EXTRA £10 big bags of Hills Science Plan.

You can also receive 12 FREE dog trays when you buy big bags of Huntland or Country Kitchen. And last but definitely not least there’s 35% OFF Yumove Joint Supplements.

So while the giant, singing and dancing TV would be lovely, I’m sure the furry members of the family won’t appreciate it nearly as much as these great, tasty and nutritious deals!


Well. Unless you’re like her and just watch nature documentaries…


The UK’s Most Affluent Postcodes

We all know that the property market has been on a bit of a roller coaster in the past few years but in the last couple of months things seem to have calmed down even though it’s never been harder to get on the first rung of the housing ladder.

While there’s those of us who are clinging onto our mortgages, humble abodes and dreaming of escaping to the country or relocating to the city, hoping for an extra bedroom or a bigger garden perhaps – what are the rich list looking for when it comes to expanding their property repertoire?

Home experts Property Rescue recently investigated as to what the living essentials are for the jet set, and for those of us who can only dream of walk in wardrobes and indoor gyms – the results are really quite interesting.

Obviously, there’s no surprises that the highest property prices are all centered in and around the capital, with the most expensive average homes being in Kensington and Chelsea – setting you back over £1.7 and £1.3 million respectively. But what on earth will those sorts of prices actually buy?

Located in west London,  and surrounded by other very affluent areas, Kensington is steeped in regal prestige, full of beautiful, multi-million pound townhouses, with neighbours such as the Natural History Museum and Kensington Palace (handy for days out with the kids, right?) it’s a far cry from your local landmarks being the newsagents on the corner or the greasy fish and chip shop down the road!

But hey, if you can’t quite stretch to the £1.7 million price tag, you can look a little further afield and bag a stunning semi-detached home in the very heart of suburbia for well under the million pound mark. Barnes, located south of the river in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, will give you the swanky SW13 postcode and the perfect suburban yummy mummy lifestyle of trendy cafes and recreational parks.

Now, I’m sure you’ll agree, that was a little eye-opening (and even rather eye-watering!) I’m off to carry on dreaming about my house in the country with room for a vegetable patch and chickens.

What’s on your dream home wish list?

Laminate is Great

When I was but a wee babe in arms (actually about five), I can remember our household going into turbo overdrive one Christmas. Was it Santa’s impending visit that was causing my brother to act as if he’d just consumed four espressos in one sitting? Was it the thought of escaping Christmas dinner duties by us all piling round my aunties on the big day causing my mother to skip with glee? Was it the mere prospect of acquiring a fat juicy bone in his stocking causing our dog Sam to howl wistfully into the cold night air? No. No. And no.

It was laminate flooring.  Yep, you heard that right folks. Laminate flooring.

Back in the day (the eighties to be precise, or a bit more vague) it was all the rage to rip up your carpet, smash your tiles or hide your painted shame with the L word. To become a family with laminate flooring in my neighbourhood back then was being cool and trendy. And it was in our kitchen! After a lifetime (literally, for me) of living with some strange red tile-type monstrosity that was our kitchen floor, we were finally getting laminated. I can still remember the first time my foot touched the soft spongy veneer. It was heaven.

(Full Disclosure Note: Despite the new floor being perfect, it wasn’t heaven for everyone for long. My brother calmed somewhat when he learned he could no longer traipse muddy boots through the kitchen. My mother’s skip morphed into a shuffle when my auntie saw the new floor and duly invited the entire family round to ours for Xmas dinner instead. And as for Sam getting his juicy bone – that could never have happened. We didn’t own a dog. Just a cat named Thomas. )

Then came the 90s. And the noughties.  Everyone decided to ditch the kitsch. Laminate flooring went quiet for two decades. Very quiet.




But thank God for the Twenty-Tens! Laminate is back, and it’s back in a big, big way. More importantly, this time it’s here to stay. How sure am I? Well, I’ve just kitted out my bedroom, living room and, yes, my kitchen in the latest design. That’s how sure I am. It was quick, it was easy, and it looks absolutely stunning. I opted for a white oak laminate flooring with gloss finish for the kitchen, but with so much variety to choose from, it really is a buyer’s market.

It’s not all heaven, of course. My son now has to be reminded to take off his muddy boots before leaving the garden. My mother has invited everyone she knows and a few she doesn’t round to mine for Christmas dinner and Sam is still howling away for that juicy bone that will never come because he isn’t real.

So whatever happens with the turkey and the sprouts come the Queen’s speech, and no matter how badly I mess it all up, I can be safe in the knowledge that everyone will be secretly admiring my spectacular new floor.

Except my auntie. Strangely, she was the only person not to get an invite from my mother.

Interior design tips to help your child get a better night’s sleep

Most adults spend around a third of their lives asleep apart from, it often seems, when they also have children. Babies and young children can certainly disrupt parents’ sleep but, even more importantly, young ones need settled sleeping routines for the sake of their own development.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep directly impacts a child’s mental and physical development. Sleeping patterns start to develop at about six months old, and children need more sleep than adults. Babies and infants will sleep more than they are awake, while toddlers need around 11 to 14 hours of sleep in each 24-hour period. By the time they reach 6 to 13, children still need between 9 to 11 hours of sleep every night.

There are a number of things you can do to encourage a healthy sleep pattern in your child. Children need a settled bedroom routine, and a healthy diet and active daytime can also help. Distractions and worries should be avoided if possible. This can be difficult to achieve, especially as children grow up, but there are things you can do with the bedroom environment that can be easier to control.

The human body is designed to react to light, so it is very important to have control of the amount of light allowed into your child’s bedroom in the early morning, especially if there are man-made light sources such as street lighting near the bedroom window. Blackout curtains and modern window shutters can be very good at blocking out exterior light and helping to prevent children from being woken up too early in the morning. Shutters and blinds can be particularly good options, as they can be partially opened depending on requirements.

You should avoid bright lights, especially backlit screens such as laptops and tablets, for at least an hour before bedtime. Some children find it difficult to sleep without nightlights, but it’s usually a good thing if you can wean them off this and get them sleeping in darkness. Psychotherapist and child sleep expert Heather Turgeon suggests using a red bulb if a child does need a night light, or if parents need to make feeding and potty trips for their infants in the middle of the night, as red light is less activating to the brain. Make sure standby lights on electronic gadgets and any other sources of illumination are turned completely off during the night.

Where a child actually sleeps is extremely important and should be safe and appropriate for the child’s age. Once children are out of cots and sleeping in an actual bed, make sure it is big enough, with a supportive mattress and pillows. If your child suffers from allergies, hypoallergenic bedding could help.

A tidy, de-cluttered room can also help your child fall asleep, as it is less distracting. It can also help prevent parents from stepping on sharp objects in the middle of the night as well – something many of us have experienced.

You can’t guarantee your children will get a perfect night’s sleep every night, but you can arrange their sleeping environment to give them the best possible chance.


Need vs Want – the Constant Struggle For Some Me-Time

We all know how this life thing works. As we rack up the birthday candles, we find ourselves spending more and more time doing the things we have to do, and less time doing the things we really want to do.

It’s the never-ending battle between need/want.

We need to work. We need to bring up the kids. We need to pay bills. Ditto that for visiting relatives, driving, filling out your tax returns, punishing yourself with the daily weekly whenever I can be bothered gym workouts. We don’t want to polish that bookshelf yet again, or want to run the mop around the kitchen floor yet again… but we kinda need to. The list of need is an endless one.

It’s becoming more important than ever that the sparse free time we do have is spent really enjoying ourselves. The list of want is equally as important as its arch nemesis. In our two-up two-down, our wants are divided thus: the Bean is an app fiend. In-between his frequently increasing levels of homework and spelling tests, he’s all about that app. If he hasn’t downloaded the latest Minecraft or Toca Boca within three seconds of its release, then it’s DEFCON 1 all the way.  The Hub reverts to type and juggles his free time between watching the footie/playing console games/tinkering with the car. I, on the other hand, prefer to disappear into the latest page-turner on my e-Reader.  I also play a mean bit of bingo with friends. Or at least, I used to. There was a time, when we were Young and Keen, when it was okay to be Down on your Knees, Red Raw, Up To Tricks in the Candy Store every Saturday night. We also used to play bingo, too.

But as the need began to fight the want, I found it harder and harder to commit to venturing out periodically. That’s how I came to find my other want. I wanted to play, but couldn’t find the energy needed to paint the town…until I found online bingo and took the plunge to try out bingo online at landmarkbingo.

It’s the best of both worlds. All the thrill of the game, with tons of prizes including free tournaments, luxury Christmas hampers, shopping vouchers and cold hard cash, in the comfort of my own home. I can even slip in a cheeky page of the latest bestseller between rounds or while I wait for a Knock at the Door.

If all of this sounds eerily familiar, and you’re basically me but you, then you should try out bingo online at landmarkbingo, just like me.


Building a Home

When you move out of the parental home and fly the nest, the first things that come to mind in terms of furnishing your new pad is their practicality and cost – the cheaper the better. I remember being completely over the moon with a cardboard box full of my mum’s rather retro and well loved crockery. Another relative might remember they have an old kettle packed away in the garage you can have, and so and so forth until you have a small, secondhand yet functional little nest of your very own.

Over time, your begged, borrowed and stolen (not really, but y’know) homewares will be replaced, slowly and surely, for your own taste and style with the odd old faithful kitsch item lurking behind because you’ve grown to love the ugly floral print on your mum’s old casserole dishes.

You’ll get older, you’ll earn a bit more money, you’ll spend your weekends in huge Scandinavian home stores deliberating over chrome or brushed steel toilet roll holders and bed sheets with strange yet oddly enjoyable patterned bed sheets and the occasional bit of slightly wayward DIY.  You’ll find a new pride for your home, “Oh yes, I put the wallpaper up myself,”, you’ll glow a little when your friends and family compliment your style and choice of decoration. You’ll have a little moment to yourself and fully take in what you’ve created, what you’ve earnt and achieved. A safe haven, a place to be, a home.

Taking it a step further, you may decide to have children, and like me, watch things slowly unravel, your home never (EVER) being tidy again, housework will get on top of you, you’ll feel yourself slowly drowning in general child-related detritus and brightly coloured plastic.

You’ll realise that you can only pick two of the following:

Staying sane. Happy kids. Clean and tidy house.

You’ll grudgingly lower your standards, while missing the shine your place had previously. You’ll avoid Pinterest. You’ll clean furniture with baby wipes and disguise the stained sofa with artfully placed scatter cushions.

But there will come a time, a time when the little angels stop smearing luminous food on every available surface, a time when their toys aren’t quite so bright and huge and claustrophobia-inducing. A time when you might just be a little brave and dare to look up bedroom ideas for instance. When you can maybe claw back a little of the order and sparkle your home once had. Where you can embrace the fingerprints smudged on every window and mirror, the debacle of a cupboard full of assorted plastic containers in every imaginable shape and size yet fail to match a single container with it’s partnering lid, the odd socks and pants scattered in the strangest of places, and the scribbles on the walls and the fridge covered in school letters and masterpieces.

And you’ll realise after all the stress and heartache of “OMG GET YOUR SHOES OFF THE SOFA” and “PLEASE DO NOT WIPE YOUR BOGIES ON THE WALLS” that that is what makes a home. The imperfections, the history, the signs of character that you can’t buy in any reasonably-priced Swedish megastore.

That you had your perfect home all along.

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