Designing A Logo With Logojoy 

Just over a year ago I decided to go ‘pro’ with blogging, so I moved my blog to self- hosted and started to think about branding, including designing myself a logo and banner to use on my blog and across social media. Alot of bloggers and businesses hire an expert to help them do this, but I was keen to save some money so I chose to do it myself. I spent far more hours on Canva (using a free trial) than I care to admit! However, I am very happy with the result.

Living Life Our Way logo designed by Canva

Introducing Logojoy

Logojoy is an AI logo designer that makes it quicker and easier for bloggers and brands to create their own logo themselves. It is simple to use; begin by selecting up to five sample logos that you like then the site generates your logos to choose from based on your preferences. There are then plenty of options to then tweak it as much as you want to personalise it further.

How To Use Logojoy

Time

It is possible to design a professional looking logo using Logojoy in just a few minutes. However, if you are a perfectionist and enjoy playing around with the various settings (as I did!) then you will need to allow more time. You can also amend and re- download your logo too, if you decide your logo needs a few extra final adjustments after downloading it (premium package only).

Cost

Logojoy costs $20 for a simple low resolution logo. A premium package is $65 which includes high resolution files in several formats with full copyright ownership. For an extra $9 you can also purchase the social media kit, which comes with perfectly size logos for each platform – this is definitely worth it in my opinion because it saves alot of time and effort resizing! Lastly you can also get one hour professional design support for $100 too should you require that level of guidance and support. 

Logojoy logo

You can design and purchase your logo on the Logojoy website.

(This is an affiliate link, this does not cost the buyer extra, but means I get a small referral fee. Thank you for your support).

My Logo

Here is my logo…

Living Life Our Way logo designed on Logojoy.

The Verdict

I worked really hard on my original logo and have been using it for over a year, so I must admit I am actually rather attached to it! However, I am really pleased with my Logojoy logo too and am actually quite (very?!) tempted to switch it! If I was just starting out, I would definitely think Logojoy is worth the investment and would be satisfied with the results.

Which do you prefer, my original Canva logo or my new Logojoy one? I would love your honest opinions, I promise I won’t be at all offended either way!

Living Life Our Way Canva logo and Logojoy logo side by side for comparison. Which logo do you prefer?

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

*I was given the chance to review the $65 package and was compensated for my time.

Healthy Eating Made Easy: Roasted Vegetable Couscous Recipe

Delicious and healthy roasted vegetable and couscous recipe. Ideal quick and easy, yet healthy, meal that will feed the whole family. Make mealtimes stress- free with this microwave recipe. Enjoy healthy, clean eating without hassle.

Healthy eating is important to me and I generally try to use raw ingredients if possible. But like most people, we are often under time constraints, so quick and easy recipes are a must! 

I was set the challenge to choose one of these fab microwave recipes to make and blog about it. So I picked this roasted vegetable couscous recipe because it is super healthy and almost vegan. (It does contain honey). As I have mentioned before, we are flexitarian, meaning we choose to eat mainly vegan food but we are also laid back about it too.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • 100g Button Mushrooms
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 large Courgette 
  • 1 medium Carrot 
  • 1/2 Butternut Squash 
  • 2 Garlic Cloves 
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 tsp Honey
  • 300 mls Vegetable Stock
  • 350g Couscous

The quantities given for the ingredients were more than enough to serve all three of us with a huge portion as a main meal. It would be enough for a family of 4 – 5 in fact probably!

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Recipe

Vegetable Preparation

• Deseed the peppers and cut them into bite size chunks.
• Finely chop the onions.
• Peel the carrot then slice them thinly.
• Slice the courgettes.
• Chop the butternut squash into bite size chunks.
• Crush the garlic cloves.

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Microwave Vegetables

• Place all of the prepared vegetables in a large casserole dish.
• Add a tiny amount of water.
• Cover and microwave on high for 5-7 mins.
• Drain and cool slightly.

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Roasting the Vegetables

Pre-heat oven to 220ºC (based on convection oven – adjust for other types).

• Put the vegetables onto the oven tray.
• Chop the button mushrooms and mix them in with the vegetables.
• Add some olive oil.
• Season with salt, pepper and paprika.
• Place in the pre-heated oven on the lower shelf and cook for 25-30 minutes, shaking occasionally, until golden brown and soft.
• Stir through the honey and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

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Cooking the Couscous

• Mix the vegetable stock with boiling water.
• Pour 450 mls over the couscous initially then gradually add more boiling water if required.
• Stand for 10 minutes.
• Cover and microwave on medium until warm. (Approximately 5 minutes).

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Final Preparations

• Separate the couscous grains with a fork.
• Stir in the vegetable mix.
Serve and enjoy!

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The verdict…

I made a couple of simple, minor amendments to the original recipe but stuck to it for the main part. It was a fairly quick and easy recipe. Most importantly, it was absolutely delicious! Very filling, and so healthy too. I will definitely be making this one again!

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*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Blogger Recognition Award

First of all, thank you to lovely Trupti at Girls Glamour for nominating me. Do go check out her blog, she has a variety of posts, plenty of great reading!

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How did my blog begin?

Well, in short, it begun as a hobby several years ago now (almost a decade infact!) when I first became a parent. I have written about the beginnings of my blog before. 

My Top Tips For New Bloggers

  • Network – join facebook groups, twitter chats, and even attend conferences/ events if possible. Put in the time and effort to connect with other bloggers. It is a great way to get support and advice, and make friends too!
  • Take it one step at a time – there are many aspects to blogging and it is likely to be far too overwhelming to take it all on at once. Focus on one area to learn about and work on, until it starts to come more naturally and slots in to your schedule/ process easily, then start on the next thing.
  • Be yourself – whether you have a specific niche or cover lots of subjects, open your heart out or are more reserved, write how you speak or more formally, stick to your own personal style and just do you!
  • Focus on social media as much as your blog – if you want people to find and read your content, you need to engage with others and actually share your blog posts so they get seen!

I now nominate the following fab bloggers:

If you would like to take part, the ‘rules’ are simple…

  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give your top tips/ advice to new bloggers.
  • Select other bloggers you think should be nominated for this award and tag them in the post. Remember to let them know they have been nominated! Don’t forget to also link back to the person who nominated you as well.

Thank you to everyone, let’s all keep supporting each other!

#EveryMomentCounts Photo Challenge with Families Online

Families Online set us a photo challenge to capture a special moment every day for a week, on a different theme each day. This is the compilation post of our #EveryMomentCounts challenge.

Families Online have set selected bloggers an #EveryMomentCounts photo challenge to capture a special moment daily over this past week, with each day having a different set theme. The aim of this campaign is to remember that even the seemingly ‘little’ family moments throughout each day are precious and actually do matter. Every moment really does count! The themes for the challenge are as follows…

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

I don’t think these are ‘official’ rules of the challenge whatsoever, but I also set myself the additional challenge of picking just one single photo for each day. Each ‘moment’ captured was on the actual day of the challenge too – no throwbacks – because for me personally, I felt the point was to focus on being ‘in the moment’ and embrace those special little moments as they actually happen. That was just how I chose to interpret the challenge though, and also I felt this is how I would get the most out of doing it as well. 

So here are my moments throughout the week…

Day 1 – Together

Monday was a tough day. But for days like that, it is even more important to capture and remember the special moments.

We don’t often spend time at home all playing together (it is usually either one or the other of us with Squiggle when we are at home, not both) so it was lovely to grab a few minutes together. I particularly love this photo because I captured Squiggle affectionately stroking her daddy’s stubble too.

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, together, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 2 – Tradition

I struggled to imagine how I might find much tradition in a regular Tuesday in September to be honest. But I decided to just get on with our day regardless, and see how it all worked out. After all, I feel that the whole point of the challenge is to just be in the moment, enjoying family time, and making every moment count!

As it turned out, we found ourselves outside embracing the beautiful signs of Autumn, collecting acorns and leaves. Of course this is a tradition! We do it every year, ever since she was tiny. I remember spending many afternoons during my childhood doing the same with my parents, as no doubt they did with theirs, and one day maybe Squiggle with her own children too.

However, I chose this particular photo, which is taken in the same spot we collected our autumn treasures just minutes later, because it is my favourite moment of the day. Squiggle had the biggest smile as she carefully jumped on and off the moving roundabout. And look at that lovely traditional style play area! They had those same rocking horses that you can just see in the background when I was her age, they were one of my favourites infact. Fun times!

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, tradition, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 3 – Laughter

On this morning I could hear lots of giggling from my bed, as Squiggle played with her daddy whilst I caught up on some rest. It is lovely to hear her enjoying precious moments, even if they weren’t mine to share with her! But ‘the moment’ I chose for Wednesday was when Squiggle was delighted to discover that the paddling pools are STILL open at one of our local parks (brrr lol!) and ran through them, giggling and laughing happily. This photo really captures that. Love it!

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, laughter, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 4 – Three Things

Continuing on with our Autumn exploration from earlier in the week, on Thursday we visited a beautiful local park that we hadn’t actually been to before, for a lovely nature walk and Autumn hunt. We found these 3 little treasures which we collected from different trees (obviously!) within a few metres of each other. We paused under a gorgeous horse chesnut (conker) tree with huge fabulous branches to take this photo of our little collection.

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, nature, autumn, three things, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 5 – Colourful

We had a day at home on Friday and we actually used the theme as inspiration for one of our activities. Squiggle and I went into the garden with the challenge of getting as many beautiful natural autumn colours into one photo as possible.

I adore this photo because of the vibrant red and orange berries on bold green leaves against the bright blue sky with gorgeous yellow and brown leaves in the background. So much colour at this time of year!

I really loved this moment of our day because it’s a great reminder that not only is it important to savour precious moments, but that sometimes we need to take the time and effort to actually create those special moments too!

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, colourful, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 6 – Love

Of course this picture would include Squiggle, whom I love more than anything! And this particular photo captures us outdoors in nature, which is one of our biggest loves.

But beyond that, this moment also captures us watching some charity fundraisers and volunteers at the park – an act that no doubt comes from a place of love. And even though these people were random strangers, we felt grateful that we were able to witness this for a few moments too.

So lots of love in this moment from Saturday, in various different forms.

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, love, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 7 – Reflection

For the last day of this photo challenge, how better to end it than with a moment of reflection. I stood on this bridge, looking out at the water, and took just a moment to myself to reflect on the wonderful moments we shared as a family throughout the week.

As a busy parent, taking a moment to myself is sometimes just as important as those precious family moments, hence why I chose this particular photo. I am grateful for the rare moments alone, as well as the many I share with those I love!

(By the way, we spent lovely quality time together as a family, right before and after this particular moment for myself, going for a wonderful walk in the warm sunshine. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday!)

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, reflection, peace, one moment, parent, photo challenge, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

I really enjoyed taking part in this challenge; I loved how much it helped me to really be in the moment and focus on, and celebrate, those ‘little things’ each day. It amazed me how I noticed things so much more than I usually would, depending on the theme for the day, and generally too. I practice mindfulness anyway, but I am still genuinely surprised by how much difference taking part in this challenge made!

Thank you to Families Online for inviting me to take part in #EveryMomentCounts 

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.

Housing Rabbits: A Hutch Is Not Enough

A while back now I mentioned that I would write more about the enclosure we have for our beautiful pair of bunny furbabies. They are a larger breed and we couldn’t find anything on the market that we felt offered them enough space, but equally we are not DIY minded enough to make anything secure enough ourselves. So we set about having an enclosure custom – made by a highly rated ebay seller, and gave our exact specifications. We found this to be a relatively cheap option, it arrived very easy to assemble and is great quality construction; just what we need! 

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We didn’t want anything to be able to dig in or out of their new home, so we laid down some wire mesh flooring, secured to the enclosure using cable ties, then covered it over with rolls of turf so the bunnies would be none the wiser! Then we added a shelter, plus some tunnels for them to play and hide in as well. They love their enclosure! 

Step By Step Guide

Measure the wire mesh to slightly larger than the enclosure area and cut it to size. Lay it down flat. Overlap any joins and cable tie them securely.

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Put the enclosure frame on top of the wire flooring, making sure there is an overlap around the edges.

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Secure the wire mesh to the bottom of the enclosure using cable ties. Make sure they are very tight so can’t be chewed and cut off the end being careful not to leave sharp edges.

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Lay rolls of turf over the floor to cover over the wire. Take care to ensure there are no exposed edges or sharp bits of wire anywhere. 

fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made

Shelter and Accessories

We then added a dog kennel from Pets at Home and burrow pipes from runaround for shelter and protection too. We also left the extra roll of turf we had spare in the enclosure as a little hill/ mound as well. We will introduce new things over time for further enrichment of course. 

fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made, runaround

The wire roof has a fold back panel opening. Once closed it is secured with padlocks and then partially covered over for extra protection. 

fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made, runaround

Final Thoughts

Ideally this would be connected to a shed and/ or have extra adjoining sections. We hope that we can build them an extension soon! However, free range access to the garden under supervision for daily exercise is a good alternative too though. 

Do you have pet rabbits? What type of enclosure do they live in?

How To Tackle Cash Flow Issues

We have all been there; despite doing your best to stay on top of the finances, somehow the money doesn’t quite stretch to your next pay check. Maybe an unexpected expense has cropped up that really cannot wait until the end of the month. Or an unpaid invoice messes up your carefully planned budget. Or perhaps it is simply that an error has occured somewhere along the line. Whatever the reason, realising you have a cash flow problem can be very stressful. Here are some top tips on how to tackle it… 

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Nip Issues in the Bud 

First of all, start trying to address the issue as soon as you realise that your money won’t stretch. If you see a shortfall coming and react immediately, you will have more options and less of a problem than if you bury your head in the sand and wait for the inevitable. 

Immediately cut back on any unnecessary spending – and evaluate what you actually consider to be necessary to ensure it truly is absolutely essential. Even small budget cuts to groceries shopping for example, or walking whenever possible to save petrol money, could help to narrow that gap significantly. 

Also check you don’t have any non-essential direct debits coming out and cancel any you don’t actually need to pay; for example, subscriptions. Although do be aware of minimum notice periods for any cancellations, or potential charges as per contracts, when doing this – you don’t want to find yourself in a different type of financial difficulty instead!

Raise Some Cash – Fast

Next up, try to raise the shortfall money. There are several ways to potentially do this, depending on how fast you need to raise the cash how much you need. Here are some suggestions:

  • Have a clear-out. Sell any secondhand items in good condition that you no longer actually use or need. While sites such as ebay are the obvious first choice for many people, I have personally found that it is actually often quicker and easier to sell on local selling sites via facebook, if your area has one. 
  • Get some extra temporary work. I know this can be a very tough task, and it depends on how much time you have, but it is sometimes possible! Take on extra shifts at work, or enquire about overtime. If this is not an option, you could try temp agencies or online sites like fiverr. Or look into casual work, such as at local bars. You could also just generally ask around to find out if anyone needs an extra pair of (paid) hands for one-off jobs; you never know, you might be asking at just the right time for someone to offer an ideal opportunity! (Note: Make sure you disclose paid work of course!) 
  • Exchange gift cards for cash. Do you have any gift cards that you haven’t yet spent? Assuming you can’t spend them on essentials, try selling them on local selling groups, or sites such as Zeek.

And if all else fails… 

If you have tried and failed to resolve the issue using the advice above, and anything else you might have thought of, then you may feel that it is time to consider borrowing. One possibility might be to ask friends or family, whereas for others this may not be an option, or you might simply prefer not to go down this route. A payday loan, using a credit card if you have one, or extending your overdraft are other options to explore. If the cash flow crisis is due to an unexpected item replacement, buying it on finance may be another option. It is important to compare fees and rates if you do borrow, in order to find the solution that is right for you. And remember to pay the money back as quickly as possible, and most definitely on time, so that you don’t fall further into debt. 

Last But Not Least

Once you have resolved the cash flow issue, try to reflect on what went wrong and take stock of your financial situation. Consider if and how you could try to avoid a cash flow problem happening again in the future. Review your budget and make sure you stick to it. Start a savings account if at all possible; try to put 10% of earnings into it if you can. The more prepared you are for any financial scenario, the less likely you are to get caught out again next time something crops up! (I do realise this is often easier said than done of course!)

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


Organising An Eco-Friendly Children’s Party 

Are you holding a kids party, and considering ways to make it more eco-friendly? It is not an easy task, as I discovered when trying to organise Squiggle’s 9th birthday party a couple of months ago! You need to get a bit creative if you don’t want to leave behind piles of plastic, wrapping paper, and litter. In some ways we succeeded, others we need to work on for next time! Here are some thoughts…

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Eco- and Kid-Friendly Catering

  • Opt for reusable plates, bowls and cutlery instead of disposable options. Alternatively, create personalised party food packages wrapped up resuable food bags or wraps, or even in scarves or bandanas. They not only make colourful decorations for the table, but this approach can subtly assist with addressing allergy issues/ dietary requirements of young guests, plus they’ll double as napkins and the children can take them home afterwards.
  • Prepare fruity drinks ahead of time, using jam jars with sealable lids. It saves on packaging and if the weather’s hot and you’re outside, they’re easily kept cool in a cool box or even a bucket filled with ice. Use sustainable straws (e.g. paper or reusables) rather than plastic, and make the drinks more exciting by adding chopped or sliced fresh fruit such as strawberries.
  • Picnic or buffet areas set aside from other activities help to keep the mess and left overs in one place. They make supervision easier too, so if anyone needs help they aren’t left on their own. Dressing up metal barriers (which you can hire from staging and event specialists) with paper bunting or streaming creates a separation from other areas while maintaining the celebratory atmosphere.
party, eco, environmentally friendly, kids party, celebrations, events, green living
Squiggle’s 9th party

      Green Ideas for Party Activities and Take Home Gifts/ Favours

      It is traditional to give the party-goers some kind of goodie bag or favour to take home, but it doesn’t have to affect your pledge to organise an eco-friendly party.

      • How about giving each child a small plant or sapling they can take home and put in their own garden? If you wrap each root ball in hessian, there’s no waste at all since it can go on the compost heap when it’s no longer needed. This is even better if any of the party activities have a similar theme of planting and growing.
      • For example, you could make ‘plant pots’ by halving empty cardboard roll tubes, then decorate by painting before planting their seeds. Plug each ‘pot’ with balled up newspaper so it will hold some compost. This creates an activity and a gift to take home in one. 
      • Or make seed bombs at the party to take home! 
      • Recycled plantable seed paper, for instance, is also an interesting novelty for children.
      • Nature crafts are fun activities. Have a scavenging hunt with a pile of twigs, mosses and grasses, then make some nature art.
      • Hold a bug hunt. Make a short list of insects to find, with prizes for all who find some, then invite children to draw or paint their favourites.
      • You could even get everyone involved in planting a special ‘celebration tree’ as part of the party!
      party, eco, environmentally friendly, kids party, celebrations, events, green living
      Nature art

        Other Tips

          • Use Japanese blow up paper balloons rather than latex or foil balloons. These last a long time and are more environmentally friendly.
          • Reuse decorations. If you don’t want the same theme year after year, pass your old decorations on and source ‘new’ secondhand ones on your chosen theme. Better yet, also opt for decorations that are made from sustainable materials too!
          • If it is a particularly large party and you plan on having several different activities going on at the same time, or maybe with specific start times if you’re holding competitions or races, it might mean guests are quite spread out at times. Setting up a PA system to make announcements will keep everyone informed and save you a lot of running round. I remember once we had Squiggle’s party on a huge field; that would have been very handy then! 
          party, eco, environmentally friendly, kids party, celebrations, events, green living
          We held a party on this large field a few years back

            Eco-friendly parties are taking off in popularity, not just because they are good for our planet and build empathy for our natural environment, but also because they’re fun and children enjoy them! 

            Can you think of other eco- friendly party ideas? Tell me in comments! 

            *Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Alistage. 

            Top Tips For Hair Care

            I will be the first to admit that my hair is not in the best condition it could be. I am a busy mum and too often it just gets scraped back into a ponytail and ignored. However, I have been thinking about various (natural, if possible) ways to care for hair and thought I would share some top tips with you all…

            General Healthy Hair Tips
            First things first; don’t overwash it! Hair benefits from producing its own natural oils to keep it healthy. Some people even opt to ditch the shampoo completely and let their hair do its own magic! Even if this approach isn’t for you, Wellness Mama has a useful recipe for making your own natural shampoo and Eco Fluffy Mama has written a handy post about DIY natural dry shampoo too. Also, try to minimise the use of products and appliances. We all know that heat and too much styling damages hair. Keep your hair as natural as possible!

            Treatments/ Conditioners
            There are lots of natural treatments that work well to generally keep hair naturally looking and feeling its best too. Here are some favourites…

            Coconut oil is my personal go to method. I find it works equally effectively on both mine and Squiggle’s hair, even though we have very different types of hair. This is also the preferred method of Hollie from Thrifty Mum to keep her hair beautifully soft and healthy.

            haircare, beauty, healthy hair, hair tips, DIY hair treatment, natural hair treatment, health, wellbeing, Thrifty Mum
            Thrifty Mum after her coconut oil treatment.

            Apple cider vinegar is also brilliant; it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory, it is a natural exfoliator and it is packed with nutrients too. Pretty impressive! Coconuts and Kettlebells has written a post with more detailed information. This is a favourite method of Daisies and Pie.

            haircare, beauty, healthy hair, hair tips, DIY hair treatment, natural hair treatment, health, wellbeing, Daisies and Pie
            Daisies and Pie after apple cider vinegar rinse.

            Jade from Raw Childhood uses the ‘Curly Curl Method‘ so doesn’t use shampoo and only uses approved conditioners without drying alcohols, silicones etc… She uses olive oil protein treatment for her hair, which leaves it naturally glossy and tangle free.

            Healthy hair, beauty, health, wellbeing, natural hair treatments, haircare tips, life hacks, Raw Childhood
            Raw Childhood post olive oil protein treatment.

            Banana gets mixed reviews; some people swear by it whilst others find it messy and hard to remove. I think it depends on hair type somewhat, so proceed with caution! Using over-ripe bananas that are thoroughly blended and strained, preferably mixed with oil, is my best advice. 

            Dry Hair/ Flaky Scalp
            The natural treatments named above also effectively combat dry hair or a flaky scalp. Any of them can help, so find the method that works best for your hair.

            haircare, beauty, healthy hair, hair tips, DIY hair treatment, natural hair treatment, health, wellbeing, Living Life Our Way
            Squiggle’s previously dry curls post coconut oil treatment.

            Hair Loss
            Hair loss is sometimes caused by having a dry flaky scalp, hence the importance of the above tips. Of course there are also various other reasons for hair loss too; including stress, hormone changes or imbalances, vitamin deficiency, autoimmune issues, and other medical reasons (including cancer treatment for example). Or sometimes it is simply in your genes! But whatever the reason, hair loss can affect a person’s confidence and self- esteem.

            hair loss, harley street hair clinic, beauty, health, wellbeing, natural hair treatments, haircare tips, life hacks, Living Life Our Way
            Hair loss

            Whilst in some cases hair loss is only temporary and/ or can be rectified by addressing the underlying issue, for example through proper nutrition in the case of vitamin deficiency, in other cases this may be more difficult to tackle. If it is not just a temporary issue, and other methods have failed, then there are also potentially other options to consider; such as hair transplants in extreme cases, or Advanced Tricho Pigmentation Treatment. This is especially worth considering if it is really affecting the person but they are not at the stage of hair loss where a transplant is an option, or if they cannot have one for whatever reason. 

            I firmly believe that beauty comes from within and we don’t need to change our appearance to feel good. But I also think that if something is making someone feel stressed or miserable, and bringing them down, then doing something about it is a positive thing. It can really help that person’s overall wellbeing! 

            What are your top tips for healthy hair? Tell me in comments!

            Now I am off to take my own advice on general good hair care… 

            *Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Harley Street Hair Clinic. 

            Needlite: Bringing Daylight Indoors 

            Needlite are a small, Danish start-up who invented and designed a unique daylight desk lamp, which launched in the Nordic market just under two years ago. The idea is simple: provide the user with efficient work light and provide the much-needed daylight at the same time.

            Needlite, daylight lamp, health, mental health, wellbeing, indoor lighting, home decor

            Needlite, daylight lamp, health, mental health, wellbeing, indoor lighting, home decor

            The Needlite has a simple, modern design. It is easy to use, either via the sensor or by downloading the iphone app. One simple touch allows you to turn it on/off, and change the brightness. There are various other functions too. I love how funky and modern it is!

            Needlite, daylight lamp, health, mental health, wellbeing, indoor lighting, home decor

            But there are more important benefits to the Needlite. Did you know that many people in western countries spend more than 23 hours indoors per day on average, all year round? That is not enough daylight! Yet humans need daylight for numerous health reasons; including energy, mood, digestion, sleep, recovery from illness etc… General indoor lighting is poor on quality and never contains daylight; the blue wavelength is not present in traditional lighting, which makes Needlite different to other indoor lighting.

            Needlite, daylight lamp, health, mental health, wellbeing, indoor lighting, home decor

            So whilst it might not seem very relevant to consider investing in a daylight lamp at this time of year, it is actually beneficial all year round. I am going to be trying it out further over the coming months and will share my thoughts with you in an update post later this autumn, but I can already see how it would be useful!

            Needlite is sold in the UK through www.wellworking.co.uk at RRP £399 (although it is currently on sale at £359 at the time of posting). Check the Needlite website for stockists in other countries.

            *Disclosure: I was sent the Needlite daylight lamp free for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.