Summer Style with JD Williams

Despite the seemingly ever changing weather, we’re on the cusp of summer and as always, it will creep up when you’re not looking and leave you in that awkward place where you have nothing suitable to wear.

Personally, in the summer I like to keep things as simple as possible. If it’s really hot, I want to be able to count on trusty pieces in cool fabrics to see me through the day without melting into an angry, uncomfortable puddle.

On a day to day basis, running around at home, taking care of the school run etc I’ll be wearing jeans or printed harems, a light cami top and flip flops, with my hair in some form of disarray and a pair of sunglasses perched on my head. But it’s summer! I want to do better than that!

This summer I have a hen do, a wedding and a few nights out to buy outfits for, which ya know, I’d like to make an effort for… But never fear! JD Williams have a whole host of affordable, fashionable dresses that will save those frustrating “I have nothing to wear,” moments . Whether it’s for a special occasion or every day wear, they’ve got it covered. Here are my picks…

Hen Night:

Don’t judge me, but I’ve never been on a hen night before so this is totally new territory for me – however I’ve fallen in love with this wrap front, printed jump suit – worn with some boots and a statement necklace, it’d look really edgy and cool – perfect for having lots of fun in.

wrap front print jumpsuit

 

Wedding:

Weddings are always very long affairs, you go from feeling very glam and formal early on and it gets more relaxed as the day and night wear on. I think this lace hem pleated maxi dress is a great compromise – formal enough with heels and some sparkly accessories, and maybe once the reception party kicks off – slip on some flats to dance the night away! For dress details – see here.

pleated maxi

 

Girl’s night out:

For a girl’s night out I don’t want to worry too much about what I’m wearing, I want to feel relaxed and confident. I’d opt for something like this plain linen mix dress, I’d wear it with a leather biker jacket, chunky boots and my hands covered in rings to make it edgier. For details click here.

dress

 

Casual 

For lazy days when I don’t want to feel “too much” I’d opt for something simple and black, which I can dress up or down depending on my mood. This black, cut-out midi dress would be perfect with some sandals and chunky jewelry. See here for dress details.
midi dress

 

So those are my summer picks, what are your summer essentials? I’d love to know!

 

Decorating with Your Children & Dulux

We all know the milestones that children hold as their most important defining moments. The loss of a first tooth, learning to ride their bike without stabilisers, even their first day at big school and countless others, but would you suppose that decorating their bedrooms would be top of that list?

Don’t worry, I didn’t either, but after doing some extensive research, Dulux has found that children rate the decoration of their bedrooms really highly indeed and are encouraging parents to work together with their kids to create something really special and unique.

I must admit I’m guilty in not involving my son is the decoration of his bedroom (along with three quarters of parents) – if I’m honest that was due to me being scared that he’d want his room neon green with an enormous mural of a dragon eating a unicorn on one wall or something equally bizarre that his six year old mind could conjure up. But after reading the research and commentary from developmental expert and child psychologist Sam Wass and Dulux creative director Marianne Shillingford – I’m beginning to see the beauty of involving our little ones to create rooms they love and want to spend time in, where their imaginations can grow and wander and they feel safe and happy.

circus

Dr Sam Wass first suggests to sit down with your child and create some pictures, drawings or even collages of what they’d like their rooms to look like, talking about it and giving them a role in the decision making process can give little ones a huge sense of pride. This can even encourage them to keep their newly decorated rooms tidier and want to show their friends something they have put their own stamp on.

Dulux have also created a whole host of looks to inspire children and adults on how to decorate their kid’s rooms (including videos of how to achieve certain looks, which paints and tools you need etc), that with a little imagination and some clever paint techniques – there really is no limit on what you can create together.  My personal favourites being Storybook and Circus, I know the inner child in me would love to disappear in my own little cloud covered bubble with a book in here!

storybook

Seeing these beautiful rooms and feeling the magic of childhood has really made me want to involve my son in the look and feel of his bedroom and give him creative control of his own space – because they’re only little for such a short space of time aren’t they and before we know it, the fairy tale murals and homemade wonderlands will be plastered over with band posters and selfies before we know it.

This is a collaborative post.

5 Signs Your Relationship is Marriage Material

Even if you have been dating someone for a long time and you really love them, you may be wondering if you’re the right fit for one another and whether you’d survive as a married couple. To help you figure out whether or not your relationship is really marriage material or not, continue reading for five signs to look for.

1. You’re Completely Comfortable Communicating Openly

Communication is the cornerstone of every great relationship. If you’re unable to communicate how you feel to one another, then problems will never be resolved. But if you’re able to express yourself openly with your partner, including discussing opinions, concerns, and fears, and if you aren’t afraid of being judged by your partner for expressing yourself, you have a shot at having a fantastic marriage.

2. You Already Make Big Decisions Together

As a married couple, you’ll need to be comfortable with one another, as well as confident enough in one another, to make big decisions together. So if you’re already accustomed to discussing your options together when it comes to big choices, such as moving to a new house or starting a new career, you are marriage material indeed.

3. You Love Spending Time Together

If you never tire of being around one another, you will definitely enjoy sharing a home together and being married. After all, when you marry someone, you will go to bed together at night and wake up together in the morning, and you will also share responsibilities around the house, finances, and more. If you can’t wait to see your partner and spend as much time together as possible doing anything and everything, whether it’s watching a favourite TV show, reading a book, going shopping, or travelling, your relationship is ready for an upgrade.

4. You Have the Same Dreams in Common

Couples that have the same dreams for their lives are more likely to get along together and face a brighter future together. So whether you both want to travel a lot, move to the suburbs and start a family, or focus on your careers, the key is to understand each other’s needs while having common aspirations so you can live a harmonious life together.

5. You Know How to Resolve Conflicts

Couples who bottle their feelings and avoid conflicts are just as bad as those who lash out at one another and never come to a resolution. In a marriage, both of these scenarios could spell trouble. But if you are a couple who really knows how to talk things out and resolve conflicts, even if things get tense for a while during a big fight, you are more likely to have a happy marriage.

Are you ready to take the next step in your relationship and get married? Then, after getting engaged, it’s time to start the wedding planning process. Start thinking about a UK Wedding and savings that will allow you to have the day of your dreams. And then live happily ever after!

The Dress Lyst

Uh-oh. It’s Spring. And y’know what that means? The Mum Coat will soon be prised from our grasping fingers and we’ll be found out.

We won’t be able to get away with wearing the same, possibly slightly stained sweatshirt under cover of the coat on the school run. Or sweatpants when we have absolutely zero intention of going to the gym. Or pyjamas. Maybe. Only that once when you were running really late though. Promise.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, soon, very soon, I may have to spend more than my usual 3.4 seconds to think about what I wear. And if you hadn’t already gathered – I need desperate help.

This is where Lyst comes in.  Lyst is your expert, fashion-forward, personalised shopper who knows exactly what you like. Lyst will tempt you in with a few perfectly cut, beautifully draped old favourite styles, and bravely smuggle in a few pieces you wouldn’t normal think to look at – but it’s OK, Lyst has got your back. Lyst knows.

You see, on signing up, you’re taken through various designers and their key trends and pieces and you tell Lyst whether you like them or not – and based on these, it’s able to generate a whole host of suggestions for you.

Dress Lyst

I created a Lyst of dresses, because heaven knows I need help with anything vaguely feminine or that takes some effort to wear. Another really good thing about Lyst is that there’s something for every budget. Don’t be alarmed by the hand-embroidered tulle or bead appliqued Valentino gowns (and oh my, they are magical) – Lyst also lists the likes of Zara, H&M, TOPSHOP, ASOS and Forever21 to name a few more affordable retailers for those of us with clumsy dispositions or sticky fingered children.

lyst it!

Creating Lysts is really the highlight here, think of it like Pinterest but with clothes. Every item on Lyst has a “Lyst it” button, where you can conveniently keep that cute ASOS denim pinafore dress safe to peruse later. You can also edit these Lysts – Window Shopping, What I’d Look Like If I Had 2 Hours To Get Ready In The Morning & An Unlimited Budget, Brother’s Wedding in June,  Girl’s Night Out – you get the idea.

And because of this, I think Lyst and I are going to be the very best of friends. I may even start a new funky mum coat Lyst for next A/W.

This is a collaborative post.

The 5 Most Common Mental Health Disorders in the UK

Mental health problems are far more common than you might think and a mental health issue will touch almost all of our lives, either directly or indirectly, even though we might not even recognise it at the time.

A family member who is struggling could easily be suffering from the effects of one of the five most common mental health disorders in the UK.

1. Anxiety

Everybody feels anxious from time to time, it’s the in-built fight or flight response kicking in and is a natural reaction to danger.

If the anxiety takes over, though, it becomes a mental health problem and is often referred to as generalised anxiety disorder.

This is a catch-all term for anxiety that is generally the result of long-term stress; simple techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and relaxation can have a major impact on the person’s wellbeing.

2. Depression

As many as one in five of us will suffer from clinical, diagnosable depression at some point in our lives, although many people simply do not present themselves to their doctor for fear of the repercussion or simply because they don’t recognise the condition for what it is. One of the most common psychotherapy jobs in the UK is to treat depression.

Depression can be crippling and can effectively prevent people functioning. Persistent low moods and an inability to cope with life are clear indicators of depression, but there are treatments at hand. Therapy and drug treatment have both proved effective and CBT, guided meditation and more are also proving popular.

3. Eating disorders

Body dysmorphia has become a major problem in today’s image-obsessed world, but eating disorders are often sparked by anxiety and the need for control, too. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder are three of the most common types and they can have far-reaching consequences if the patient is not treated early.

A study by charity BEAT in 2015 revealed that more than 725,000 people suffer from eating disorders and 89% of them are female.

A variety of therapies have proved useful, but it is worth noting that cases are on the increase.

4. Personality disorders

Borderline, narcissistic, histrionic and anti-social personality disorders are on the rise and these conditions can lay waste to the lives of those suffering, and those closest to them. Obsessive compulsive disorder, schizoid personality disorder and avoidant disorders all fall under this umbrella, too, and they can all have a negative impact on the sufferer’s life. They are spectrum disorders, though, so they can be strong or go undetected, depending on the individual.

Treatment is available to mitigate the effects, including CBT.

5. Psychosis

It might sound frightening, but psychosis is eminently treatable in the majority of cases with drugs and behavioural therapy. Essentially the patient has a skewed version of reality and does not interpret the outside world in the same way as an unaffected person.

This can take the form of hallucinations, delusions and other symptoms. Prolonged substance or even alcohol abuse can lead to psychosis, although medically it is considered a symptom of an underlying issue rather than a condition in itself.

Unique Gifts from UncommonGoods

It’s that time of year when I begin to worry about what on earth I’m going to buy for my son’s impending birthday. It also happens to be that time of year when I have a vast array of niece’s and nephew’s birthdays to think about, plus the odd baby shower peppered here and there.

The thing is, when it comes to gift buying, I like to go a little different. I enjoy buying something unusual, that’ll make someone smile or that they’ll remember and treasure longer than your average gift. A keepsake or talking point is the direction I like to head in.

Which is where UncommonGoods comes in. A hugely ethical and sustainable platform curated for artists and small manufacturers to sell their wares. They don’t stock products containing leather, feathers or fur – our goal is to sell no product that harms humans or animals. And at the checkout, you can select a non-profit organisation for them to donate $1 to. You can read more about their mission here.

Rather than adding to my son’s seemingly endless repertoire of brightly coloured plastic toys, I’d rather buy him something that makes him think in a new way, explore different things to learn about and imagine. There’s a huge selection on Uncommon Goods of unique and exciting Gifts for Kids.

uncommongoods gifts for kids

 

For baby showers and unique baby gifts, there’s also a great selection of gifts and keepsakes you won’t find on the high street which won’t only raise a smile, but will make your loved one’s special occasion even more special. There truly is something on there for absolutely everyone.

uncommon goods baby gifts

 

Now the only question is, would my soon-to-be 7 year old prefer the cardboard elephant head or the moose head?
This is a sponsored post.

AfterShokz Bluez 2S Headphones Review & Giveaway

A little while ago I was happy to be asked by AfterShokz to review a pair of their very snazzy Bluez 2S wireless bone conduction headphones – having never ventured beyond the infamous tangle-prone white in-ear earphones, I was really excited to give the AfterShokz a go.

Once they arrived, I realised just how serious the headphones were. The cynic in me was quietly thinking they were a bit of a gimmick, but on inspecting the very cool box and getting my hands on the Bluez 2S themselves – my inner voice was rendered speechless and found herself rather resigned.

Bluez 2S

As they’re wireless, next I needed to set them up and get them talking to my devices so I could start listening. This turned out to go from ridiculously easy, to trickier than it really ought to be – Apple devices and my Chromebook were the simplest, just enabling Bluetooth and pairing with the headphones. But my smart TV? No dice. After a lot of trying and heartache – it didn’t happen and my hopes of watching Walking Dead marathons while everyone else was asleep, just wasn’t meant to be. However after some research, I think this is more to do with my TV itself (LG) than AfterShokz.

Still, I was now up and running and ready to start listening!

AfterShokz Bluez 2S

These aren’t any old headphones, they’re headphones from the future! With normal headphones, the band will go over the top of your head, with the Bluez 2S – the band goes around the BACK of your head, hooking over your ears. Trying them on for the first time I thought they were going to feel really strange and unnatural, but in fact, as soon as they were on – I didn’t even know they were there and very quickly got used to the brand new effect of being able to hear what was going on around me and what was coming from the headphones.

Not sure what I mean? Don’t worry, I shall explain.

The Bluez 2S’s main feature is that the speakers don’t actually go into your ears. They rest just beside your tragus and conduct sound through your cheekbones. As the sound isn’t directed straight into your ear, hence blocking all surrounding noise and ambient sound – you can listen to your music / podcast / audiobook / guilty pleasure YouTube fashion vlog AND hear everything around you too.

This enables better situation awareness; making exercise, travelling, gaming and generally going about your day an awful lot safer for yourself and those around you.

Not only are the Bluez 2S the perfect answer for those with health conditions who can’t wear traditional headphones or earphones that go inside or cover their ears (like my partner), they’re actually a really clever solution to a lot of everyday problems caused by wearing traditional headphones. No more pesky twisted, tangled wires is just the tip of the iceberg.

Obviously being wireless, they do need charging with a charge time of around 1.5 – 2 hours. I found I got around 3-5 days battery life with light to moderate use – a few 30 minute runs, a couple of podcasts and the odd YouTube video. With continual use, I managed around 3-4 hours before they started cutting out.

More Bluez 2S Features:

  • Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds
  • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear
  • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
  • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage
  • IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture
  • Enjoy six hours of continuous music + calls on a single charge
  • EQ presets boost bass and reduce vibration
  • Dual noise canceling microphones exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech
  • Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk
  • Hassle-free 2-year warranty

Overall, I really am super impressed with the Bluez 2S, they make going for a run and nocturnal Netflix viewing a lot easier and more enjoyable without going deaf to everything around me. With a few minor tweaks in the future, such as having an adjustable band and a longer battery life, I think they’ll be unstoppable. Even still, these are by far the best headphones I’ve ever used.

And the best part? I’m giving a pair to one of you lucky lot! Simply check the T’s & C’s and complete the Gleam widget below. Best of luck!

AfterShokz Bluez 2S Wireless Headphones

Disclosure: The Aftershokz Bluez 2S headphones were provided for the purpose of this review; the above opinions expressed and editorial is entirely honest and my own.

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