Little House Of Science: STEM Classes For Curious Minds 

Little House of Science provides fun and educational STEM classes for kids. Little House Of Science have a wide range of STEM classes suitable for ages from 6 months – 11 years in London and across the UK. Little House of Science also offers STEM parties, workshops and tutoring too. Lots of educational fun!

Little House of Science provides fun and educational STEM classes for kids. The company was founded in 2014 by a trio of entrepreneurial and enthusiastic parents, with a keen interest in the science community, who wanted to inspire their own children to explore and seek answers about the world.

“We at Little House of Science foster this natural curiosity in boys and girls and re-enforce STEM subjects in a fun, project-based way so that children can connect with science from an early age.”

There are many classes and workshops held across London, and has also extended to other parts of the UK due to its popularity; including Hampshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. There are a range of classes suitable from 6 months right up to 11 years old.

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The youngest classes, Little Discovery, are from 6-12 months and 12-24 months, Little Maths covers ages 2-3 years and 3-4 years old, Little Science has classes suitable for 3-4 years, 4-7 years and 5-8 years old, then Big Science Academy is aimed at older children aged 8-11 years old. Each class covers a diverse syllabus with age-appropriate topics delivered in a fun yet educational way using a hands-on practical approach to learning.

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Little House of Science, STEM, kids classes, science, educational, workshops, parties, home education, London, UK, Living Life Our Way

As well as these classes, they also offer project- based creative science workshops, which include take-home items and parents notes, and tutoring too. They even offer educational fun-filled entertainment for kids parties!

Little House of Science, STEM, kids classes, science, educational, workshops, parties, home education, London, UK, Living Life Our Way

Their aim is to ensure the kids leave feeling inspired and enthusiastic about learning, with a desire to know more about the world.

“We would like to think of ourselves as creating or fostering the spark for the next generation of scientists, but the main aim is to provide a foundation for youngsters where after each session, they will have gone home knowing a little bit more about our wonderful world and how things work.”

As an ex primary teacher, and now home educator, I think these classes and workshops sound fantastic! Several years ago, when Squiggle was much younger, I genuinely seriously considered setting up an early years STEM discovery type session myself, but it never happened sadly. However, I think it is great idea and so valuable! If I had found something like this, I would have been very keen to attend and I would definitely consider the older age classes now if we were able to, or a home ed workshop would be fab. Hands-on, practical fun is definitely the way to approach STEM activities!

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For more information, check out their website at ​www.littlehouseofscience.com 

You can also find them on twitter,facebook and instagram.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Sylvanian Families Cake Shop Review and Giveaway

We love Sylvanian Families; we think they are so cute and collectable (and also have educational value too!) Squiggle has a huge ever- increasing collection and loves looking at the website or browsing the catalogue to see what she can add to her wishlist next! So I think I might have been nearly as excited as she was when we received the fab Sylvanian Families Village Cake Shop to review…

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The cake shop comes with the mum of the Toy Poodle family, who is the shopkeeper, and alot of lovely little accessories to stock up the shop with. There are 90 bits in total, including the figure, shop, till, cake stands, counters, various cakes, boxes, piping, tongs and other cool stuff. Not everything included is pictured in my photos because Squiggle inevitably spreads half of it across the floor within 10 seconds of opening it… but that just makes it all the more realistic – after all, you wouldn’t expect such a delicious cake shop to be fully stocked at all times, would you?!

Sylvanian Families, village cake shop, Poodle Sylvanian, review, giveaway, toys, imaginative play, gift ideas, Living Life Our Way

Sylvanian Families, village cake shop, Poodle Sylvanian, review, giveaway, toys, imaginative play, gift ideas, Living Life Our Way

Sylvanian Families, village cake shop, Poodle Sylvanian, review, giveaway, toys, imaginative play, gift ideas, Living Life Our Way

Anyway, back to the review….

What I really love about this set – and other Sylvanian Families sets too – is the quality and attention to detail. Squiggle said “I think it’s very cool the way the cake stacks up to make a big cake.” When asked what her favourite part of the set is, she said “Those strawberry filling cakes looked very yummy!” It is also great for fine motor skills, as you will see when you watch the video…

(I just love her giggle too!)

Sylvanian Families Village Cake Shop (rrp £39.99) is available in stores now.

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Sylvanian Families Village Cake Shop Giveaway!

One incredibly lucky reader can win their very own awesome cake shop. To be in with a chance to win this fabulous prize, simply enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 6th October 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

*Disclosure: We received the village cake shop free of charge for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Home Education on a Shoestring 

This post discusses how you can save money on home educating and still provide plenty of home ed opportunities. It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to most. However, many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget and there are lots of ways to make home educating affordable. The truth is, home education can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Plus with the money you would spend on uniform, trips and lunch money, school is not necessarily a cheaper option either!

It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to many. However, there are actually various ways to cut the costs, and many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget. Here are my top tips…

Trips and Activities

Join your local home ed facebook group

In many areas, home educators organise trips and activities together as a community, in order to access cheaper group entry charges or school rates. This often also includes educational workshops that wouldn’t otherwise be available to individuals.

Look out for discounts/ offers to local attractions

Find your local community magazine, join an online group that shares local information or sign up to attraction newsletters direct; whichever way suits you personally to stay up-to-date with the latest offers and discounts for local attractions. Some places also do free open days etc… that it is worth taking advantage of too. If you make a point of seeking them out, you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually save!

Research free places to visit

Following on from the previous point, there are lots of free places to visit, and events throughout the year, that offer great educational opportunities. From museums to sporting events, there is plenty to choose from without getting your wallet out.

home education, homeschooling, home ed, freedom to learn, budget, finance, money saving, educational resources

Form a co-op, or arrange your own groups/ activities

If you can find a free (or cheap) venue, many home educators lead groups and activities themselves, or with other members of the local community. You can play on each others’ strengths and expertise, plus pool together resources, which can be far more cost effective than paying for classes etc…

Resources at Home

Find freebies

There are lots of free good quality resources on the internet. Also check out freecycle for useful items that someone else no longer needs. Occasionally there is even old equipment from local schools up for grabs, if you know the right people!

Borrow

You can also borrow and swap with other home educators, which makes far more sense than investing in something that is only needed for a short term topic or limited age- range for example. And of course, there are libraries too!

Buy secondhand

There are dedicated home ed selling groups on facebook to find cheap secondhand resources. Charity shops are another place to hunt for bargains; there are some great finds to be had.

Sell the resources you no longer use

Obviously, as well as buying secondhand, it is also useful to sell your resources on if you no longer use them! Or hand them down to someone else who needs them, in a pay it forward type philosophy.

Make the most of subscription discounts

Some educational apps and websites charge an annual subscription fee. However, many offer a discount for home educators so be sure to find out before you sign up.

home education, homeschooling, home ed, freedom to learn, budget, finance, money saving, educational resources
Twinkl is great for educational resources

What About Income Though?

It is true that the loss of earnings can be a challenge. It is all very well finding ways to save money on the cost of home educating, but it doesn’t help if you don’t have any money coming in to begin with! (Note: Home educators are not entitled to any additional extra benefits simply because they home educate, and there is no funding specifically for home educators).

However, many home educators do also work. Firstly, it is important to remember that home education does not need to observe school hours and term times so there is flexibility as to how and when a full time education is provided. Secondly, there are various jobs that you can do flexibly working from home, or ways you can juggle home educating with working outside of the home. Here are some ideas…

Home Working

Just a few examples of jobs people do at home while home educating are; tutoring, childminding, workshops/ classes, blogging, making and selling crafts (e.g. etsy store) or other small businesses.

Working While Home Educating

Parents often share responsibility for home educating with each other, other family members or friends. Some use a childminder for part of the week, then focus on home education outside of those hours. Others take advantage of educational groups or childcare schemes that they can send their child to whilst they work. It is also possible to find evening or weekend work too. Bottom line is, there are various options available, much like you would choose at pre-school age.

Do you have any tips on how to finance home education? Or how to home educate on a budget? I would love to hear them!

How Your Kitchen Lighting Can Be Eco- Friendly

LED lighting is an eco friendly lighting option for the kitchen and the rest of your home. LED lighting saves energy and is environmentally friendly. Find out how you can brighten up your kitchen, and the rest of your home, with LED lighting.

Kitchen lighting needs to be able to do a multitude of things. It must be bright enough for you to practise your culinary skills, without casting shadows. It needs to be relaxing, for those meal time chats, or when you are entertaining. It should look stylish, and not get in the way of those frantic family moments that the kitchen seems to be at the heart of. Lastly, it should be eco-friendly. We’re all too aware of the effects of energy consumption, so how can we work to reduce it with lighting?

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stock image

Choose LED

LED kitchen lighting is the easiest way to reduce your energy consumption. They use up to 90% less power than other types of bulbs such as halogen and fluorescent. They use less of their energy as heat, instead using it as light, so you get a bright light at a much lower wattage than a halogen bulb by comparison. They also have a longer lifespan of up to 60,000 hours, meaning that they last over seven years without needing to be replaced. LED bulbs can also be recycled in the traditional manner, unlike fluorescent bulbs which must be treated as hazardous waste. Whilst LEDs may seem expensive initially (their cost is being reduced as more bulbs are introduced to the market), you will make the money back from your electricity bill! Plus, if you have children or you are concerned about safety – LEDs are almost cool to the touch, meaning that there is less risk.

Switch off!

At some point in your life, you’ll probably have heard someone tell you to ‘turn the big light off’, usually followed by ‘it’s like Blackpool Illuminations in here!’ Despite living just outside London, I remember my dad still used this phrase – not that we had ever actually visited Blackpool, but he assured me that was what it’s like! 😉 Although this might sound like nagging, it’s actually the best advice you can have, in terms of reducing your energy consumption. Do you need to have the main light on, or can you make a nice, relaxing atmosphere with a lamp?

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stock image

Best Styles of Kitchen Lighting

If you’re inspired to try out LED lighting in your kitchen, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • For a bright functional light, try undercabinet lights. You can install them above your sink, chopping board and other surfaces you need to use. Just remember to place them near the front of the cupboard, or you might get shadows making it harder to work safely and effectively.
  • For an atmospheric dining experience, try hanging a pendant light over your table or island. Bonus points for installing it with a dimmer switch – bright for eating, darker for afterwards!
  • Recessed spotlights always look really stylish, and if you purchase LED ones, you’ll hardly ever need to replace them – so you can put that ladder away!


Would you try using LED lighting, to save money and be more eco-friendly?


*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. 

How To Reduce Household Waste: Zero Waste Tips (Including Giveaway)

When people hear the concept of zero waste, it can seem somewhat overwhelming. How can someone not create any rubbish?! But the truth is, for the vast majority of people who try to practice a zero waste lifestyle, it is more like zero waste is something to aim towards by taking a slow step by step journey in the right direction. And that’s ok. It is really about doing your bit to protect our planet. Plus each action you take tends to become a gateway to the next. So it really isn’t as hard as it first sounds!

This post covers alot of different areas, but the point is just for me to share tips and alternative products with you all. I intend for you, my readers, to pick somewhere to begin, and to find new ideas to continue from whatever stage you are already at; the idea is not for anyone to try to take it all on at once! Gradual change is the key to making it feel sustainable and not too overwhelming. This is also by no means a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination! There are many, many people far further along the journey than I am, but we can all learn from one another, so I am just sharing what I know!

Here are my ideas for developing a zero waste lifestyle, divided into sections for ease of reference (because I like to be organised!)…

Toiletries

This is the area that I have been working on myself most recently, so I figure it makes sense to start here!

Deoderant

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Earth Conscious, deoderant
Earth Conscious Deoderant Stick (RRP £8)

Earth Conscious sell a zero waste natural deoderant that now comes in both tin or stick format. I have only just got mine so too early to comment personally, but reviews on it are great! 

Shampoo/ Conditioner

Shampoo bars are the obvious choice for zero waste hair washing. Alternatively, powder is another option. However, if you cannot get on with shampoo bars or powder, I recommend that you buy a huge bulk size container of shampoo and conditioner so that it needs replacing far less often. You can purchase a smaller reusable pump bottle to make it more practical. 

For example, Faith in Nature sell huge 5 litre refills for around £50. If you feel put off by the price for a product you haven’t tried, it is well worth ordering the smaller size versions first then investing in your favourite. They also offer free samples for a small limited number of their products, so you can try before you buy that way too. I realise this may sound like it defeats the point of choosing zero waste items somewhat, but it is really about looking at the bigger picture and thinking ahead. Other brands probably have bulk size versions too, if you look into it and find any others, do let me know in comments.

As for conditioner, I have written before about natural hair conditioners. Although these are not actually zero waste ideas as such, they are items that can be used for a range of purposes and again can usually be purchased in much larger sizes so this helps to drastically reduce waste.

Soap

There are a wide range of beautiful, often handmade, natural soaps available that are sold without packaging (or minimal, recycled packaging) so produce little to no waste. If you prefer liquid handwash, again I recommend buying in bulk to reduce waste. 

Facewash/ Scrub

I totally recommend you make your own! There are some fab DIY recipes around if you google. I made a great coffee scrub last year. Alternatively, there are various eco conscious independents and other brands who ensure their packaging is minimal and environmentally- friendly. (And remember to check for no microbeads too!)

Toothbrush

Go for a bamboo toothbrush. Most come in fully recyclable minimal packaging and the toothbrush is biodegradable. I have one from Save Some Green. 

Cleaning

Alot of people buy many different types of cleaning products for all different purposes, which immediately creates far more waste. So my first bit of advice is try to simplify!

Cloths/ Wipes/ Scrub pads

Opt for resuable versions made from sustainable natural materials, such as bamboo, hemp or organic cotton cloths and wipes, and coconut hair scrub pads for example.

Multi – Purpose Cleaner

I recommend making your own DIY version if possible. We tend to use vinegar solution. Otherwise choose an eco-friendly brand in the largest size possible that covers a range of uses. 

Washing up Liquid

Again my best advice is to select one that lasts longer so less waste!

Laundry

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Living Naturally Soapnut Laundry Medium Starter Kit (RRP £15.66)

I was sent this fab soapnut starter pack from Living Naturally, which I have used for my most recent washes (probably about 4 loads now of various items). I am really impressed at how effective they are; in my opinion, they leave clothes just as clean and fresh as regular detergent! Not only are they natural and zero waste but they also work out much cheaper too, so this is a very cost effective way to do laundry as well as protecting the environment. Do give them a try and tell me what you think!

Menstruation

Ok, so granted this isn’t relevant to everyone but menstruation products can cause alot of waste so this is an important one! There are various reusable products, so you will most likey find that there is something to suit everyone that needs them. Earthwise Girls are my go to site for this, since they stock a good range of items to choose from. Personally, I mainly use a cup but also have reusable tampons, period pants and cloth pads too so that I can go with the flow. (Get it?! Sorry, excuse the pun!!!)

Eco Fluffy Mama has written alot on this subject and offers great advice.

Food and Drink

This is a huge area. There are so many different aspects and I doubt very much that I have covered even the majority of them in this post, but here goes…

Groceries Shopping

First things first; take your reusable bags along! Or use cardboard crates instead, which is what we do as we find that easier.

Choose items with minimal and recyclable packaging wherever possible. Aiming for a fresh raw food diet, rather than buying convenience goods, is not only good for your health, but better for the environment too. Fruit and veg, for example, do not need plastic wrappers! Of course, I totally understand this might be ideal but is not always realistic for many – but it is, at the very least, just something to consider when doing your shop. Buying bigger versions of long lasting cupboard food also saves on some packaging too.

Food Waste

Try not to buy more than you will eat, freeze if applicable so it lasts longer and my favourite for fruit and veg – make it into a smoothie and drink it up!

Storage/ Lunchboxes/ Picnics

There are lots of durable, practical ways to store food without causing waste. Mason jars, glass or metal containers, resuable sandwich bags and washable beeswax wraps (to replace clingfilm) are all good options. For snacks on the go, carry around reusable cutlery, made from bamboo or similar. Plus carry washable cloths rather than wipes in your bag too.

Drinks

Use a resuable cup or flask, and water bottle for drinks on the go. And ditch the plastic straws, opt for eco- friendly alternatives instead if you can’t do without!

Other

Did you know? Aluminium foil is not rubbish; scrunch it into a ball and throw it into your recycling pile!

Further Reading

There are lots of great blogs, articles and books about this subject, but here is just a small selection…

Eco Fluffy Mama green living blog

12 Ways To Cut Your Waste by Grow Eat Gift

Zero Waste Guide by Earthwise Girls

Rethink Your Rubbish by PinkOddy

Zero Waste Week Supporters

Last but not least…

To celebrate Zero Waste Week, I have a fab Bathroom Starter Kit from Earthwise Girls to giveaway to one lucky reader! 

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Earthwise Girls, bathroom set
Earthwise Bathroom Kit (RRP £14)

Earthwise Bathroom Set includes:

  • Bamboo medium bristles toothbrush
  • Wooden hair comb
  • Hemp hair & body soap (supplied in a compostable wrapper)
  • Earth Conscious deodorant
  • Divine chocolate bar
  • Pukka herbal teabag

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 25th September 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

Aylett Nurseries: Celebration Gardens and Butterfly Corner

One of the free places we have visited a couple of times recently over summer is Aylett Nurseries in St Albans, Hertfordshire. It is good for kids; sometimes they have activities and events specifically for children, and generally is family friendly. 

At the moment, they currently have a butterfly corner but you will have to hurry – it closes on 17th September! It is very small but is still a lovely little experience that adds to the visit. It is interesting to watch the butterflies feeding on the fruit and having them fluttering around you. Here are some of my favourite photos taken in their butterfly corner last week…

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

According to the website, the Celebration Gardens are open all year round but the best time to visit is when the flowers are in bloom of course. We have only just discovered the Celebrations Gardens over the last month, which was perfect timing! Their multi award winning Dahlias are particularly beautiful, and we also love the wild flower section too. Here are a selection of photos from the Celebration Garden in August…

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, bug hotel, wildlife, insects, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, wild flowers, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

For more information about opening hours, news and events see Aylett Nurseries website.

How To Create A Stress – Relieving Garden

Gardeners have long known that the garden – the outdoor space, the nature within it and exposure to fresh air – are elements that combine to combat stress. And there is the science to prove it. From a child to the elderly, from the vulnerable to hardworking parents, the garden can be a haven of peace and tranquillity, the perfect place to de-stress. No matter what the season, the garden has something to offer. But if your garden looks like a myriad of weeds and lacks colour and scent, the time has come to roll up your sleeves and start digging. Gardening is good for you and a pleasant garden is the perfect antidote to a stressful, modern life.

garden, gardening, outdoors, health, wellbeing, sensory, stress relief, home and garden, nature, Living Life Our Way, Rattan Direct

The Science of Gardening

The garden is for everyone; the elderly can reconnect with memories as they garden, children can learn mathematical and scientific principles, parents and teenagers can relax, listening to the latest podcast or reading the latest best seller for example. Lounging around in a peaceful garden is good for you, and science agrees.

Use Your Senses

When it comes to creating a stress-relieving garden, design the experience around your senses:

Smell

Gardens, filled with fragrant blooms, certainly provide olfactory stimulation. Scents are subtle, not overpowering, and there are some that are known to help us relax and unfold away from stress. Lavender, for example, has long been added to bath products and sleeping remedies, in order to calm the whirling mind before sleep. Along with other fragrant blooms, plant them at the edge of flower beds so that as you walk around the garden, you knock the blooms, releasing the fragrance.

Taste

Growing vegetables is good for you in so many ways. Half an hour of digging and mulching sheds calories, as well as giving your body a workout. The vegetables you grow, free from pesticides and insecticides are good for you. Sitting under the pea vines and eating peas straight from the pod is the stuff of memories and there is nothing like the sweet taste of peas, freshly plucked from the plant. Plant vegetables and fruits with companion plants to get the best from nature.

Sight

What could be more mesmerising than watching a dancing, buzzing bee as it goes about its business, hopping from one fragrant bloom to another? What is more beautiful than seeing a garden full of colour, with insects scurrying about going on with their rituals? Instead of staring at a screen, why not stare at the garden? Allow yourself to drift away, gently swinging in a hammock in the trees or on a comfortable rattan day bed, and watch nature at its best – and marvel at the fact that all this is in your garden!

Touch

Textures are important too. For stress relief, there are many elements that combine together and yet, we give little thought to how touch affects the mind, body and soul. We know that human touch can be restful and reassuring. In effect, this is what you want to create in your multi-sensory garden. There are, of course, some experiences of touch we don’t want – such as the sting of a nettle – but there are other plants that are more conducive to being touched by the human hand. When was the last time you ran your fingertips through the dancing fronds of reeds or tall grasses? Or the soft, fragrant leaves of a geranium? Lambs Ears are a particular favourite of ours. The garden, with clever planting, can be a haven of stress relief, and touch is one sense that you shouldn’t ignore.

Hearing

And the final sense, hearing. At the end of the day, give yourself 20 minutes to enjoy the peace and quiet of the garden. Lie on the rattan day bed or sit in the bistro chair, close your eyes and train your ears to focus on the sounds of nature and not those of man-made origin. Block out the sounds of car engines and trains, or the dull roar of planes overhead, and instead listen for the rustling of the leaves on the trees and the grasses as the wind gently moves their fronds. Listen to the birds, their calls to one another and the buzz of an insect as it whizzes past you. Listen to the gentle movement of water as it tumbles and frolics down the waterfall. The garden, no matter how big or small, is a truly wondrous place, where stress simply peels away.

Rattan Direct is an online retailer, specialising in high-quality rattan furniture. Hard wearing and robust, rattan is a perfect material for outdoor furniture and with a growing choice for the modern consumer, any garden can quickly become a stress-free haven.

*Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

Feelings Of Nostalgia: Childhood Memories

I gave Squiggle my favourite childhood toy a while back. It is a cuddly toy called a Popple; I literally slept with that thing every night for years and it is now well over 30 years old. 

80s toy, childhood memories, popple, nostalgia, growing up, 80s child, 90s teen, Living Life Our Way
My Popple

She loves it and took it to music class with her. The teacher confused it with a Wuzzle, another popular toy from the early 80s, which led to alot of discussion once we got home about Wuzzles, and other childhood toys. We even did a mini project; we researched the names of all of the Wuzzles, discussed the inspiration behind their design (each is a combination of two different animals), found out which one(s) a selection of people owned and also she designed her own Wuzzle too.

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Squiggle designed her own Wuzzle called HoppySeal (rabbit and seal combo)

But I am starting to digress slightly! This all sparked off so many wonderful childhood memories and made me feel really quite nostalgic! I have lots of fond childhood memories; from fun filled adventures at my Grandparents’ house on Sunday afternoons, playing with my cousins and racing around the huge gardens of their pretty bungalow, to the time we came across a stray tortoise in an alleyway and took it home until we could reunite it with its owners. 

I remember sleepovers with my cousin, top to tail in one bed, comparing (and sharing) our latest toys and making perfume from flowers to sell to neighbours! Alot of my childhood memories involve my cousins and playing at various relative’s houses. We spent much of our time doing that and I am so glad we did! 

Of course we also spent time at home and I have lots of fond memories of that too; especially playing in our garden with a makeshift swing and adventures in our little playhouse. We had a little growing patch too, I forget what we grew but I remember it was fun!

We had a variety of pets over the years from bunnies and guinea pigs, to cats and dogs, rats, mice, gerbils and hamsters, ducks and chickens, fish, snakes – our house and garden looked like a petting farm! My first pet was a rabbit called Snowy when I was 4 or 5 years old. We also had a gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Cindy who I particularly adored. I used to dream of owning an animal rescue centre when I grew up.

My bedroom was decorated with Care Bears wallpaper and I had a large collection of these toys. Along with the other toys I have already mentioned, these were one of my favourite collections! I found a Buzzfeed list of must- have 80s and 90s childhood toys and discovered between my brother and I, we had most of them – we were very blessed, lucky children obviously! 

As well as the more regular toys, my younger brother also used to have quite unusual hobbies and collections. One particular thing that springs to mind was a sword collection that he had displayed on his bedroom wall. I suspect it might have come from his love of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I think they used to originally be called hero turtles? Am I right?!) But, you know, don’t tell him I shared that little snippet with you all 😉 

I have no idea where his personal ones came from but I think they looked abit similar to these ones from Swords of Northshire. I haven’t bought from here personally but they have excellent reviews and a brilliant ethos. One review states: “the customer service was outstanding (Bryce Ronquille) and the level of detail available was amazing. The sword came excellently packed and in very short amount of time. Bryce kept us informed of the progress along the way and provided pictures before shipping of the final product, which was nothing less than a work of art. The workmanship in the sword was amazing, extremely well built and detailed. I cannot wait to add more of these to my collection.” 

swords, home decor, hobby, collection, custom made sword, Swords of Northshire
Credit: Swords of Northshire

Customer service is their highest priority and their goal is to exceed expectations; they offer a variety of custom- made options, free shipping and 100% money-back guarantee if for any reason you are not satisfied (for 30 days after your purchase). These swords also have interesting origins; they are forged in Longquan, a city in China with over 2,600 years of swordmaking history. They would be quite the piece to own I’m sure!

But anyway, back to my childhood memories…

I was born in the very late 70’s (barely!) but grew up in the 80s. This means I have seen technology change and develop so much as I have grown up! When I was young I had a typewriter and I used it to write my own magazine – about dogs/ pets if I remember rightly! Not long after, when I was still quite little I got one of the early Commodore home computers. I loved it; I did lots of coding on it simply because everything had to be programmed manually. It all took hours! I also had a second generation games console (an Atari) too! Then much later, technology moved onto dial up internet connection… ah, who remembers that noise?! Of course, I didn’t own a mobile phone though until my teens – because they hadn’t been invented yet for consumer use!

Growing up, like now, music was a huge love. I would dance around my room doing karaoke; it used to annoy the heck out of my brother! I regularly watched Top Of The Pops (or was it Mini Pops?!) on the TV too and I remember bursting into tears once because someone changed the channel during my favourite song!!! Isn’t it weird what memories stick in our mind?! Above all, I remember recording the weekly top 10 countdown hits off the radio onto a cassette tape! 

So many wonderful memories… I honestly could go on forever! 

What are your favourite childhood memories? I would love to hear them!

*Diclosure: This is is a sponsored post.

Online Therapy: What is it and Why Choose it?

Why Choose Online Therapy?

Everyone is so busy nowadays. Not only does this cause stress, but it also makes it difficult to find a therapist when you need one. And many of us do need one sometimes. It can be tough to find time to choose a therapist and arrange sessions that do not clash with an already busy daily schedule. It can therefore seem less daunting – and so much quicker and easier – to do all that online. Convenience matters; it is somewhat counterproductive if therapy just becomes another stressor.

What is Online Therapy?

Many people are still confused about what online therapy is. Online therapy is simple. You can talk to a therapist online through FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts. Also, you have the option to text message or chat online with your therapist instead if you do not want to do a face to face session. You can also email or visit an online support group to talk to others with similar issues. Even if you don’t have internet access you can do therapy on the phone.

online therapy, mental health, therapy, health, wellbeing, general life, Living Life Our Way

The Pros and Cons of Online Therapy

There are pros and cons of everything, of course. Nothing is perfect. Here are the pros:

  • Convenience – You do not have to leave your home to see a therapist.
  • Less expensive – Many sites advertise their prices up front and some are covered by insurance.
  • More comfortable – You can actually lay in bed in your pajamas if you want to. And for those people who are not comfortable talking face to face, this is definitely for you!
  • More privacy – Some people do not feel comfortable going into a therapist’s office. The stigma of mental health disorders is still a big deal for some, unfortunately. Or maybe you just generally find attending formal appointments too stressful. But you do not have to worry about that with online therapy.

online therapy, mental health, therapy, health, wellbeing, general life, Living Life Our Way

And here are the downsides of online therapy:

  • Insurance – Until online therapy becomes more popular, it is often only available privately and is difficult to get insurance coverage. However, this is starting to change and some insurance companies are now covering online therapy.
  • Lack of personal touch – Some people need that face-to-face contact of seeing a therapist in person. It is actually therapeutic to some patients with depression to venture out of the house to see a therapist. However, for the initial session, online therapy may encourage those people who do not want to leave the house to get help.

    There are lots of benefits to online therapy and it is a great choice for many. However, if it is not your cup of tea, find a therapist nearby and go see them.

    *Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

    The Pocket Money Debate: How Much, How Often and What For? 

    We have recently been discussing pocket money and debating whether it should be earned or given? If it is to be earned, what should it be for? And how much is reasonable?

    Personally, I feel that the concept of earning money is important. It helps to promote independence and a good work ethic. But I struggle on what it should be given for because I feel it has the potential to also encourage an expectation to be paid for things that I feel should be done for other reasons. 

    After all, we should all help to keep our home clean and tidy because it is a shared space; we all live here, so we each have a responsibility toward it. And we should behave with kindness, respect and consideration toward others simply because it’s the right thing to do. It is intrinsic – at least I certainly feel it should be – is it not? What about for educational activities then? But does that then make them a chore, rather than doing it out of interest and curiosity and for the simple love of learning? I feel this way about sticker charts and the like, so surely money is no different. 

    But, at the same time, I do also firmly believe that our main goal in life should be to find our passion. In an ideal world, people can do what they truly love and make money from it, but it doesn’t really feel like work or a ‘job’ because they would choose to do it anyway. In my eyes, that is the dream to aim for! So does paying pocket money for things the child would do anyway actually reinforce this mindset and therefore is a good thing?

    pocket money, goHenry, parenting, finance, money, savings, life skills, independence, responsibility, general life, earning money, chores, Living Life Our Way

    The fact is, I don’t actually have any answers! I think the best approach is probably different for each child, and family, depending on their priorities and personal set of values. And I also suspect the answer chances at different points throughout childhood too.

    We have played around with a few different ideas over time, with varying levels of success, and certain pitfalls after a while too! One choice we are happy about though is setting up a goHenry account so she could have her own card and also be able to shop online with her own money. I think this is really good for independence and teaching essential life skills. You can set up a goHenry account online quickly and easily, and it gives options to write tasks and/ or transfer a set weekly amount so is quite versatile. We have found this works well for us! If you sign up through the referral links in this post, you get free custom goHenry card worth £4.99 plus 1-month free

    I also asked some fellow bloggers on their opinions of pocket money and here are some of the responses I received:

    Two Hearts One Roof ~ OK my little one is too young for pocket money, but I will be doing the same as my parents did for me. I had £5 a week in my money box and £5 in my savings towards holiday spending money, or if I really wanted to save for something big. Then I could earn extra doing chores or helping out my parents, neighbours or grandparents. I spent a lot of sunday mornings ironing as I could do that in front of the TV and I didn’t mind. Mum would price a whole basket depending on how difficult it would be and how many items. Our dude will have the same system when he is old enough. Plus any money from grandparents or for birthdays/ xmas – half goes in savings and half to keep on hand. We already do that and he is 1; half is in savings and half for something now.

    Whimsical Mumblings ~ My little ones (2&3) have a ‘kindness’ reward chart and get a star everytime they do something kind. When the chart fills up I give them a pound or two to put in their piggy banks.

    My Boys Club ~ We started our boys off in 50p for washing the car or making their beds each week etc. We pay for all their activities, clothes etc but trying to teach them the value of money from a young age.

    Dark Tea ~ We started giving our daughter pocket money when she was 7 (she’s almost 9). She gets £2 and has to save half of it. She occasionally earns more by doing chores above the normal such as mopping floors and helping in the garden.

    Champagne and Petals ~ We don’t really do a weekly pocket money. My 8 year old gets money for doing little jobs around the house. Feeding the cat, making his bed, opening his curtains. Or helping in the garden and washing the cars. No more than £5 a week. However as he gets older and is wanting to spend money on things then I’m sure it will increase, as will the jobs he has to do to earn the money.

    Pack The PJs ~ My two get £5 each, weekly, paid direct to their GoHenry cards. All we ask in return is for them to take some responsibility of their stuff and their rooms. We have stopped it in the past when they’ve been a bit disrespectful of their belongings (or each other). It works well – it also means they have on average £50 to spend if we go out. When they spend their own money you notice that they stop and ask themselves if they really need it before committing!

    Family Travel With Ellie ~ I have recently started a Go Henry account for my 10 year old son. He gets £2.50 per week and the gets an extra £2 if he cleans out the rabbits and and extra £2 if he mows the lawn/ cleans the car or similar. It’s a great adaptable account , he gets a debit card with it which gives him a sense of responsibility and independence.

    Neon Rainbow Blog ~ We also use Go Henry for our 11 year old, he gets a card which is contactless and an app to track his chores. I get an app too which I can load ‘tasks’ onto so each time he ticks off a task, the money goes from my parent account to his Go Henry account. He does things like tidying his bedroom, hoovering, dishwasher, plus we give him perks for things like homework, SATs results, good manners, selfless deeds.

    Hello Cuppies ~ My son is 12 and he gets £35 a month and it transfers straight to his bank account which he then has to manage himself. It does come with conditions though; no discredits from school, no missed homework and all chores done. I think we’re quite generous but this does have to pay for quite a lot of little luxuries which do add up.

    Frugal Family ~ My teenager gets £50 a month which she uses to buy anything that I consider non-essential. My son gets £5 a week as he’s younger and doesn’t go out as much with his friends yet. I don’t pay them for doing jobs around the house as I think that should be an automatic thing, seeing as they make more than their fair share of mess. But I do link pocket money to behaviour, so if they suddenly refused to do their jobs or had a bad attitude then they wouldn’t be paid.

    * goHenry is an affilliate link which means I generate a small revenue from referrals. All thoughts and opinions about goHenry are my own. Thank you for the support.