As you all know, we love being outdoors in nature, and part of this includes gardening. I have written before about some of the food we have grown, or at least attempted to grow! So what do we think of our new urban planter from GardenSite? Read my review…
About the Planter
Grange Raised Urban Planter is built using only FSC timber that has been pressure treated, and is resistant to rot and fungal decay. In fact, it actually comes with a 20 year guarantee against rot. It has six pre- divided sections to grow a selection of plants, and it also has a handy shelf underneath. The planter usually retails for £89.99 RRP but is currently on sale at £77.99 at the time of writing.
The planter took just under a week to arrive after ordering. We were kept updated with the progress of our order and delivery details. The courier company they used was a good choice; they followed our delivery instructions, and they were friendly and helpful.
The Urban Planter is very well designed so it only requires basic assembly instructions. It is very high quality thick wood, so you will need a decent power drill though; it couldn’t be done manually, or with a small basic electric drill that people have around the house to put together flat pack furniture. It took well under half an hour to assemble with the right drill.
Tip: The PDF instructions on the website are different to the paper version it comes with. Take a look to see which you find easier to follow! We personally found the website PDF version clearer.
It is worth noting that the planter is very heavy so ideally it needs two people to move around. Or assemble it in the right place!
We really like this planter. It is really sturdy and of excellent quality. The shelf underneath is useful as storage, or even for small potted plants that like the shade.
The six sections make it easy to grow a selection of plants within a small area. It doesn’t take up too much space, so is a genuine solution for small urban gardens. Also, we often have cats hanging around our garden, so we appreciate the benefits of a raised planter!
It is not cheap but it is made extremely well and is therefore worth the cost, in my opinion; I personally would consider it decent value for money. Overall, we definitely recommend this planter!
Check out the full range of stock on GardenSite for other planters and a wide range of other garden items. I spent ages browsing their website, they have an excellent selection!
I have teamed up with GardenSite for one very lucky person to win a Grange Raised Urban Planter! Competition open to UK residents only and ends on 3rd June 2018. Other T&Cs apply. Enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!
Mud & Bloom is a fab new monthly subscription box for nature lovers. Each month the box contains two seasonal activities; a gardening activity and a nature craft. There are also quizzes, spotting cards, information sheets and so on. The boxes include everything you need to complete the activities, except occasionally for everyday items that would generally be around the home anyway, such as finding some kind of pot for planting – a yogurt pot or other such item would suffice. It is aimed at approximately 3- 8 year olds and costs £7.95 per month with free UK shipping.
About The Creator
This lovely idea came from a mum of 2 young children, Anja, and was inspired by her love of nature. The activities have been created byqualified teachers and are influenced by various educational approaches.
About The Box
The box I reviewed (February) contained the following activities; grow your own cherry tomatoes, grow your own basil and paint your own pebbles. (This doesn’t get old even if you have done it before!) The only things we needed to get ourselves were the actual rocks and pots for planting, plus a plastic bag.
It also contains a nature spotters activity for things you might see in February, which is a nice little activity to do whilst outdoors on a nature walk. (And might encourage you and your littlies to venture out in the cold even if you don’t usually!)
A Sample Activity
We have only done the grow your own basil activity so far. (Squiggle is still unwell and hasn’t felt up to it but was keen for me not to do it without her!) It was a simple activity that children of any age can enjoy doing.
The instructions are detailed but still written in a straightforward way. They are well explained and easy to read/ follow. They are high quality and very well produced in my opinion!
I liked the fact that it came with soil pellets that are part of the fun – and save messing around bringing soil in from the garden!
You just put them in warm water for 10- 15 minutes and they expand. I used that time to grab the stuff we needed (pots and a plastic bag) while Squiggle watched them grow.
Squiggle did find it tricky to get the seeds in the hole – you would think we have never planted seeds before! However it would be very simple if she had been carefully pinching a few seeds from her hand or the packet with thumb and forefinger, rather than just pouring them – I would think this goes without saying generally though of course, she just wasn’t quite with it bless her!
We really like these boxes! The packaging has been carefully thought out to avoid waste wherever possible. The activities are good for a range of ages and are still fun if you have done them before. The instructions are clear and everything about the contents feels high quality. I personally feel they are reasonable value for money given the price includes postage and the subscription is flexible; it can be stopped or paused anytime. They get a thumbs up from us!
For 50% off your first box please use the code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY
One lucky reader can win a 3 month subscription to Mud & Bloom. Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Ends 25th March 2018. T&Cs apply. Good luck!
Tub chairs are a popular option for alot of people because they fit relatively easily into a room, as far as seating options go. They are a particularly versatile investment because they would work equally as well in a nursery or guest room as they do in the living room.
They can also be moved around easily too to fit in with changing layouts, such as if you decide to rearrange your furniture to create a fresh new look. Or they can even be positioned to create a more social atmosphere in a room when needed, such as having guests over for example. Great for this time of year!
Personally I think there is nothing better than having your own little space to curl up in and read a good book or chill in front of the TV.
They are stylish too; I mentioned in my recent post ‘How To Create A Cosy Winter Home’ that tartan is a great design choice for this season, so the one in this feature is perfect to create the look! Plus you can paint the legs to match your room, and the latest trends, too. There are several other lovely fabric design options too though, so do take a look at their website.
This gift guide is aimed at anyone looking for gift ideas that focus on wellbeing. Filled with presents that support a healthy lifestyle, this gift guide has the perfect suggestions to show you really care about someone! This post also includes a giveaway too.
Since my blog regularly focuses on health and wellbeing, when I was planning my gift guides for this season I knew I definitely wanted to include one on this topic specifically. It is important to me when choosing gifts for others to pick something out that is meaningful and special, or truly makes a difference to their lives. And I figured you, my lovely readers, would appreciate these fab present ideas too…
Higher Nature is an independently owned business that provides high quality nutritional products, including the Mind Matters collection, which focuses on supporting mental health.
Brighter Day Drink
This natural fruity flavoured drink is perfect for the darker, winter months. B vitamins in a natural blackcurrant drink to brighten your day and lift your mood.
Cost: £7.99 (currently half price at £3.49 at the time of writing).
Worry Not Spray
Handy spray to keep by your side for those moments in life when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. A supportive blend of amino acids, B vitamins and herbs.
Rest Well Spray
This unique spray formulation can help towards improving the quality of rest. It contains a unique blend of amino acids, herbs and vitamin B3.
Caffeine and L-Theanine stack by Focus Supplements
Caffeine and L-Theanine work together to improve your focus and energy while introducing a feeling of calmness. L-Theanine removes any caffeine jitters, creating a sensation of calmness, combined with the focus and attentiveness of caffeine. Buy here: Caffeine Amazon
Yoga is good for both the body and mind. It’s a great activity for reducing stress/ relaxation and supports general wellbeing, and a healthy lifestyle. So yoga clothes make a fab gift!
Ohmme Yoga Shorts For Men
For example, OHMME is an eco- friendly athleisure slow fashion brand created as ethically as possible. These yoga clothes have been created to encourage men to take up yoga from a mental health perspective. They also donate to CALM Charity.
Growing kits make a lovely gift; the act of growing your own food is in itself great for wellbeing, and eating the results is healthy too!
Salad Kit by The Crop Club
The Crop Club is a brilliant initiative that reconnects communities through the joy of growing food and inspires healthy happy lifestyles. They also collaborate with companies and communities who want to give their stakeholders a gift that makes them feel good whilst remembering their brands. For individuals, they sell salad kits to grow at home.
These salad kits are designed for people with small spaces; you don’t need a garden to grow your own! The coffee sack planters are perfect for small spaces and all varieties are chosen because they are compact, fast to mature and many can be re sown throughout the season for a continual harvest.
Gifts For Relaxation
Luxury bath sets are wonderful gifts. There are such a range of fabulous items in a variety of scents that support wellbeing and help us to relax. From oils to salts, bath bombs and body scrubs, there are plenty of presents available to pamper with!
And for after the bath, this cool little invention makes a nice addition to any stocking too! TowelUp is a handy clip that stops a bath (or beach) towel falling down when wrapped around the chest or waist, and it comes in a pretty gift bag too.
I also have one of these to give-away, head over to my facebook page to enter!
Cost: £3.99 for one or £6.99 for two (+ 73p P&P)
Self- Care Books
There are some brilliant books that focus on wellbeing and these make a thoughtful present.
Survive and Thrive by Jennifer Boon
Jennifer Boon is a life coach who has written a new book series called Survive & Thrive. This series focuses on supporting women through challenging life phases and shows us that it is ok to love ourselves. She offers solid practical advice on how we can fill up our own ‘love reservoirs’ and empower ourselves to go after the life.
The first book in the series is called Dating and Being Single. Despite the title, the book is great for those in a relationship too, as it is really about self-love and acceptance. Full of amazing advice regardless of current status!
I have a copy of this excellent book for one reader to win! Enter via rafflecopter below.
No doubt most of you already know that Black Friday is now just one week away – 24th November 2017 . It’s a great excuse to grab yourself some bargains! Whilst I firmly believe that something is only a good deal if you actually need it, I do also think that Black Friday sales provide the perfect opportunity to invest in things that can enhance your lifestyle, or to save money on gifts that you intend to buy anyway. It’s also the ideal chance to get your Christmas shopping done, then sit back and relax for the rest of the festive season!
For example, Halfords Black Friday has some bargains on both adult and child bikes, which of course is a fab way to get outdoors and stay healthy. Also, a popular present! Plus, for those who love to travel, there are some handy items such as a roof box and kids trunkies in the sale too. We have had the ladybird trunki for years – it is so useful!
Black Friday Competition
Halfords also have an amazing Black Friday Competition on at the moment. The closing date is this Wednesday (22nd November) so make sure you head on over before then to enter! All you need to do is complete the short form and answer a very simple question. The top prize is worth a whopping £2,000, plus awesome runners up prizes too, so this is one not to be missed!
£2,000 worth of goodies, including a seven night holiday with Eurocamp (worth £1,000) and £1,000 worth of Black Friday deals.
I have some news and a giveaway to share with you! Activ8rlives got in touch to let me know about their fantastic 3 for 2 Christmas offer; you can buy a combination of Smart Scales, BuddyBand2, Blood Pressure monitor, Pulse Oximeter and Peak Flow meter, in any combination of 3 for the price of 2. Awesome deal! I don’t have any of these myself (yet! I will be reviewing the Blood Pressure Monitor soon, so look out for that!) but I have heard great things about the Smart Scales! A fellow blogger, Just Average Jen, reviewed them and she wrote that they were stylish, easy to set up and use, and accurate – sounds good to me! You can read her review here: Just Average Jen – Body Analyser Review.
Here is your chance to win the sleek Activ8rlives Body Analyser Smart Scales, measuring weight, body and visceral fat, muscle mass, hydration and BMI. Activ8rlives’ health+wellness monitors are easy to operate and are supplied with printed colour manuals and free Activ8rlives4 Health+Wellness App (iOS and Android), which guides you through the process of connecting. Data is then automatically uploaded via Bluetooth, stored securely in the UK, and allows weight, diet and wellness tracking over time. The perfect device to help you monitor and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, for you and your family.
Are you looking for a personalised gift that really shows you care? Check out this gift guide for unique creative gift ideas that offer a truly personal touch. Personalised, thoughtful gift ideas for both children and adults.
Sometimes buying someone a present is a tough job. Perhaps it is that person who already seems to have everything, or maybe you are simply looking for something unique that really shows you care. If you want to find a thoughtful gift that offers something a little different, then check out these creative gift ideas…
The Book of Everyone/ Wise(ish) Words For Kids
The Book of Everyone makes a great gift for anyone. Each unique book is tailored to the special person you are creating it for. And for your favourite small person, there’s the Wise(ish) Words For Kids edition. You can edit at every stage to personalise the book’s life advice even further. These beautiful books make a very thoughtful present.
Whether it is a slogan adult hoodie or a kids tee with their own drawing on, custom clothing makes a fab personal gift. Choose from bags, sweatshirts, hoodies, tees and vests. Simply select ‘Custom Clothing’ under the menu, opt for adult or child, and pick which item you want, then get designing for whoever you have in mind! You can even use your child’s own art work to create a truly original gift.
My & Me Jewellery makes a gorgeous gift. Each silver charm is lovingly crafted by hand to turn your child’s artwork into a fabulous bracelet or necklace. If you are near North London, Maxine also does BaB jewellery workshops from time to time, which would also make a brilliant gift idea for anyone who would like to try their hand at designing the jewellery themselves. BaB courses are very family friendly; childcare is offered in the room while the parent does the workshop. (Some other BaB courses and workshops are designed for adults and children to participate together too).
This fab website offers a wide range of personalised photographic items; such as mugs, cushions, blankets, phone/ tablet/ laptop cases, bedding, hot water bottles and even roller blinds! I received a cool mug with my Living Life Our Way banner on it – and Bags of Love have kindly offered another personalised photo mug for one lucky reader to win! Enter via the rafflecopter giveaway below.
To help celebrate Squiggle’s 9th birthday recently, Bakerdays kindly sent us a letterbox cake. We were lucky enough to review one of these yummy cakes previously too, which you can read about here.
Since then though, there have been lots of developments over at Bakerdays! Their website has had a facelift; now even more user- friendly and is looking great, with new designs and more products being added.
The cake arrived well packaged and in perfect condition, same as last time. There isn’t excess packaging or too much plastic either, which I am happy about. There were also thoughtful finishing touches in the box, such as the party blower, some balloons and a little card. I also like the card that says who packed it too.
I chose this rabbit design after specifically searching the website for the word ‘bunny’ because Squiggle had a pet theme this year for her birthday. I then personalised the writing. Last time I ordered dairy free but I decided to order the regular vanilla sponge on this occasion, just to compare. (Generally we opt to eat as close to vegan as possible but aren’t strict about it!)
Squiggle was really excited that a cake arrived through the letterbox for her! She was very pleased with the design too…
We took the cake outside for a garden picnic and Squiggle had the honour of cutting her cake…
Squiggle also got to have first taste too as the birthday girl…
Her verdict was “Mmmm… it is YUMMY!”
I enjoyed it too, it was tasty and good quality. I do recall the dairy free one we had previously tasted more buttery (in a good way!) than this one, and it seemed to lack a filling, but it was yummy nonetheless!
The letterbox cake is plenty big enough for 3 people to have a very generous sized slice or two, and stays fresh for a reasonable amount of time too. It definitely makes a lovely novelty gift or surprise for someone!
Bakerdays are kindly giving away a letterbox cake to one lucky reader! Enter via the rafflecopter below. Open to UK residents only. Competition closes 14th June 2017. Other T&Cs apply.
I think Caketoppers read my mind; just when I was busy organising Squiggle’s party and thinking about her birthday cake, they dropped me an email asking if I would like to review their personalised photo cupcakes. Since it’s her birthday, they kindly agreed to send me cake toppers for her birthday party cake as well as two cupcakes to sample too, which I really appreciate!
Caketoppers is based in Farnham, Surrey and offers a selection of personalised photo cupcakes, celebration cakes and toppers. You can use photos, logos or even drawings to personalise your choice of cake, so it makes it really unique. I chose my Living Life Our Way logo for the cupcakes. For the birthday cake toppers, I designed a picture on a photo app using some of Squiggle’s own drawings.
The cupcakes and toppers arrived promptly and were well packaged. I don’t like to create so much waste with plastic packaging personally, but it certainly meant that everything arrived very fresh and in perfect condition.
So firstly, the cupcakes. They are absolutely delicious! I literally dreamt about these cakes (yeah, yeah, I know). They were really moist and fluffy; they honestly tasted like they had just that second been made (by someone with far superior baking skills that my own!) Gorgeous. I would tell you what the rest of the family thought of them, but they wouldn’t know… they were way too good to share! I sampled one vanilla sponge and one chocolate; both were to the same yummy standard. I personally liked the vanilla sponge best but that is just my personal preference – both really were delicious!
The cupcake samples, like my example above, can be purchased for £5 including delivery. A set of 6 cupcakes are £12.99 plus postage. There are also various other options, so check out the website for details.
As for the cake toppers, Squiggle loved the fact that her party cake was so unique and personal, decorated with her very own drawings. It meant so much to her! The cake toppers are easy to use; they came with detailed instructions but basically you just peel the back off then use icing to stick them on. They are ideal if you plan on baking a homemade cake but want a special finishing touch to decorate it with. Cake toppers cost from £7.45 for a round, square or rectangle edible photo topper.
I ended up buying a supermarket ‘decorate your own’ celebration cake for the topper, which was a tiny bit too small so doesn’t really do the topper justice. However, that is entirely my own fault and not a reflection of Caketoppers whatsoever! Squiggle didn’t notice at all though – as I said, she was delighted with her special cake! We all were infact, love it.
Caketoppers do also sell the right size cakes to match the cake toppers so you can decorate it yourself, if you fancy a semi DIY job. A round or medium square undecorated cake is £20 and large square (10 inch) is £26. (Plus delivery charges). I’ll admit I would have much rather ordered her party cake from them too, especially after tasting those amazing cupcakes, but this didn’t quite manage to happen – despite the fact that they do also have a super speedy next day delivery option. Mummy fail. Oops! (Long story that I won’t bore you with but absolutely nothing to do with the company!)
Alternatively, you can purchase photo cakes with your own design printed on them, so the same concept as the cupcakes, only bigger. This is an easy, convenient option; and is the one that I am more than likely to opt for next time! These cost from £32.50 plus P&P for a medium 8 inch cake.
All in all, I would definitely recommend Caketoppers, we are really impressed with them. It is a shame that the same can’t be said of my cake- making or organising skills! 😉
Last but certainly not least, Caketoppers have kindly offered up for grabs a set of 6 yummy cupcakes, with the design of the winner’s choice. So enter my giveaway below for a chance to try these for yourself!
I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to interview inspirational author Penelope Magoulianiti. Her book ‘Women, Motherhood & Independence: A Guide to Financial Freedom, Beauty & Confidence After Birth’ aims to help women achieve their goals and be successful, with clear strategies and practical advice on how to do so. Here is our interview…
Your book is inspirational to other women, but who is most inspirational to you?
My mentor and the person who saved my life literally is Anthony Robbins. Many years ago, I attended my first seminar in personal development; the UPW (Unleash Power Within) with Anthony Robbins. It was the best decision I ever made and it changed my life.
I gather you faced many challenges during your childhood. What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest fear was money, lacking money to be more precise. I also had self-esteem issues due to many financial problems faced by my family while I was growing up. To wake up and fall asleep with the same thought day in – day out was exhausting. The universal law is that you bring to your life what you put energy in and because my focus was so intense and my fear was so big, I found myself at age 29 being completely broke.
It took lots of courage and determination to change my life, but I did and I’ve never looked back since then.
Your bio states you want to leave your children a legacy to be proud of. What are you most proud of to date?
The fact that I don’t live any more within my comfort zone. The fact that one by one I am managing to achieving my goals and living my dream life. I’ve always wanted to write a book and influence as many women as I can to step up and follow their dreams. I did it. Taking into consideration the comments I am receiving from my readers, I believe that I am influencing their lives. The fact that it has also been translated into three languages tells me that what I am sharing in the book is of interest.
Another thing that I am proud of is my decision to escape from the corporate world and to start a completely different career. Starting a new career at the age of 40 was petrifying but I’ve been always honest with my kids. I talk to them and let them know about my successes but at the same time I’ve been always honest about my failures and setbacks too. I try to teach them that we don’t give up our dreams with the first setback or failure and to succeed we need to keep pushing and trying.
I love the quotes you share in your book. What is your favourite quote and why?
‘There is no passion to be found to play small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living’ – Nelson Mandela.
I love this quote because many of us, are settling for something less out of fear of not being good enough or capable enough to achieve everything that our heart desires. However, when we settle we don’t live we just exist. Life passes by without meaning and we become like robots. When however, we pursue something that excites us, we are growing. We are looking forward to go to work every single day and we are not perceiving it at all as work. We are alive and happy and that makes all the difference in the world.
If you could only share three pieces of advice from your book what would you tell people?
1.To stop reacting to what life brings and start planning their lives. It’s time to stop trying to fulfil other people’s agendas and start working towards their own.
2.Accept and love ourselves. Understand that each one of us has a unique talent and all of us have something great to give to this world.
3.Take control of your life and stop relying on other people to do it for you. You are the only one responsible for your successes and failures. The minute you take full responsibility for everything that is happening to you; that is when your life will start changing.
Obviously your book is aimed at women specifically, but do you feel there is any value in men reading your book too?
I have many men who read the book and they found it very useful, so yes, even though the title is aimed to women, the principles and techniques I am describing in the book can benefit both sexes.
What advice would you give to mothers who are trying to juggle everything?
We need to understand that even though we are capable we are not superwomen. We need to concentrate on the things that are the most important, the ones that are going to make the biggest difference in our lives and delegate or stop doing the rest. It’s not easy to do it but by setting priorities we can achieve more.
I have created a list is called: “The Ultimate Jugglers Task List – For Mums who have so much to do”
This is a list where you write down the five most important things that you must do on a daily basis to move forward with your projects, to get closer to achieve a goal whatever that goal may be. I have been using this for many years now and it has changed my life completely.
If any of your readers would like to have access to it, they can email at firstname.lastname@example.org using the title “Jugglers List” and we will send it to them free of charge.
What other projects do you have in the pipeline? Any news to share with us?!
I am in the process of launching my online product called “21-Day Transformation Program for a Balanced Life”. This program consists of 9 video- lessons where you receive one by one every three days and it gives you tools to help you do what you need to do in order to create more balance in your life.
Also I’ve started my research for my second book which hopefully will be ready by the end of this year.
About The Author
Penelope Magoulianiti used to work as a private banker for many years. From a very young age, she had to face many challenges, both financial and social. The challenges she faced through those difficult times make her more determined to succeed in life.
When she became a mom, she felt the urgency to pass to her own children a legacy that they would be proud of. She wanted to become a good example for her son and daughter; a successful businesswoman, and entrepreneur dedicating her life to helping her fellow women in becoming successful in their niche.
With the economy getting worse every year and the corporate world looking not so promising, she finally took the decision to quit her job and move forward in creating her own business. Her dream to help other women in gaining their financial independence while being good mothers and living their lives more fully became her ultimate goal.
With her experience throughout her working life in the corporate world, the invaluable knowledge gained through her mentors, together with her home life as a wife and mother of two, Penelope delivers her message in a simple and to-the-point manner that will help women to regain their drive to succeed and the determination to conquer their dreams and ambitions.
Penelope’s book Women, Motherhood & Independence: A Guide to Financial Freedom, Beauty & Confidence After Birth is available in Kindle and paperback version on Amazon
This book is intended to help all of Women who wish to continue living their dreams, achieving their goals and becoming successful without having to compromise their dreams and desires because of Motherhood.
In this book you will find strategies and ideas that you can apply to your life daily in order to stay on top of things, become more creative, more energetic, and healthier irrespective of how much sleep you have managed the night before.
It will encourage and guide you to step out of your comfort zone and claim what is rightfully yours… your success, your financial freedom, your confidence, and beauty.
It is my belief that we can achieve anything we want, in life if we are clear about what it is that we want, make a commitment to become successful, and then take the necessary steps and actions required to achieve that success.
Whether you are already in a career, you have your business, you would like to start a new business, or you just want to be more present and engage more in family life and activities, Women, Motherhood and Independence will help you utilize your talents, become more focused and achieve more in less time with less stress.
To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Women, Motherhood and Independence enter via the rafflecopter app below.