Christmas Gift Guide | For Men

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It’s getting to that time of year again – the Christmas fever has hit and we are all picking up gifts for our loved ones. Here are a few gift ideas for the man in your life:

Anki OVERDRIVE – £149.99 (Buy from the Anki website here or it is available on promotion from Amazon(*)

I reviewed the Anki OVERDRIVE here and mentioned how it wasn’t just for kids and how much Steve enjoyed playing with it. Whilst the kids in the house will love it, this is the perfect gift for your partner, brother or father if they love some tech and car racing. It will keep them busy for hours!

Winchester Teak Double Oval Bench – currently £199 – available here

If your partner is a hard one to buy for but likes to sit out in the garden of an evening with an ice cold beer, just chilling out then perhaps this bench will be a great present. It may be on the more expensive side for a gift but it could just make their day. I reviewed the same bench here.

Encona Carolina Reaper Hot Chilli Sauce – £1.50 roughly in supermarkets, more expensive here on Amazon as limited edition (*)

Now some people would think of this as a horrendous gift as they just can’t handle heat but for Steve, his brother and his Dad? This is the perfect gift! They all love hot sauces and with the Carolina Reaper being so incredibly hot, they would be eager to try this hot sauce so it would make a great stocking filler for them. If you have any hot sauce lovers in your life, get them this while you still can!

Sugru Mouldable Glue – £12.99 – available from the Sugru store on Amazon (*)

I include Sugru in almost every gift guide and that is because it is just such a handy stocking filler gift for those DIY loving Dad’s and husbands in our households. It is a handy addition to any toolbox or shed for when required and the man in your life will always be happy to receive one of these as an extra little stocking filler.

The Art of Football football t-shirts – from £25

These Art of Football t-shirts make a great gift for any football lover. My father in law is a big Spurs fan and we received this fab Spurs shirt for him for Christmas. It makes a change from other football shirts out there, it is a much more unique and meaningful football related gift.

Still struggling? Why not pick up him up some of the fantastic River Island menswear if he likes his clothes? If he’s into golf, what about some novelty golf balls (*) or some chocolate golf balls (*)? If he’s a bookworm, why not get him one of the newer Lee Child novels (*)? No matter what the man in your life is into, there is bound to be the perfect gift out there for him!

What do you plan on getting him this year?

How To Find Time For Love When You’re Busy

I will be the first to admit that when things get really busy, Steve and I don’t really get much time together. I may work from home and he may be studying at the moment but that doesn’t mean we get much time together. I’m either working or doing the school run or school related things. He is studying or playing golf or taking Jack to the golfing range or looking after Olivia so I can get work done. Time together is a rarity so we do appreciate it when we have it.

We’ve actually been quite lucky in the last month or so – we’ve managed to get out to a few important birthday and anniversary celebrations – but we haven’t actually had any time for just us except driving on the way there which is no time at all.

It is important to find time for love, even if you are super busy. So what can you do to make time for love even during your most hectic times?

Whether you found love through a Guernsey dating site, a Lincolnshire dating site, a Shropshire dating agency, a Birmingham dating site or a Northampton dating site, you need to make the time for both of you and your love.

Make sure you keep work and home life separate. It may be tempting to bring your work home with you, especially if you are busy but this will certainly put pressure on your relationship. You need to make time – set a certain time aside each day or week for you to spend some actual time together instead of being like passing ships in the night.

Love should be a priority so set everything aside just for a few minutes per day to focus on your relationship. Don’t run the risk of losing something great just because you are too busy. Set a routine up – one day a week at a specific time. Do something both of you would like – maybe go and watch a film or go out for dinner.

Life can be quite hectic but love should come first. If you take these few simple steps, you are sure to ensure your loving relationship stays on track.

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Designing Your Perfect Family Kitchen

The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and temperatures have definitely dropped. .You’ve probably got your own ideas of how your kitchen will look and perhaps have even looked at other handmade kitchens for some inspiration.

If you’re already planning a kitchen, then you might well have spent a lot of time pondering the type of bespoke cabinetry you want or worktops, splashback materials and even appliances you and your family will need to keep things running smoothly. Perhaps you are thinking about lighting and wall colours but the one thing that can often make or break the usability of a kitchen – particularly during the winter months – is often not given nearly enough thought. 

You will want to consider how you heat your kitchen, whether it’s radiators, a cast-iron range that runs the central heating, or underfloor heating. You have to remember that your choice will have a huge impact not just on how you use your kitchen when it’s complete but how you design the room from the beginning.

BACK TO BASICS

The key to a heating system that works efficiently is a good boiler. When planning your kitchen design, iperhaps think about a new boiler rather than repairing if yours is more than 15 years old as they’re not nearly as energy efficient. Updating an old system to an A-rated condensing boiler could reward you with a 90% increase in efficiency. Also, replacing a boiler could free up more room for more cupboards or worktops and you’ll benefit from instant hot water if you opt for a condensing combi-boiler – why wouldn’t you update it?

CHOOSING YOUR TYPE

  • Radiators

For many years, central heating systems running a series of radiators have been the heating of choice. Usually already in place, it may be worth updating them from the dated 1970s flat panel models to radiators on offer from specialists such as Bisque or Aestus – they can completely change the look of a room. For contemporary schemes look at ladder-style vertical radiators in sleek white and steel finishes and for classic kitchens pick something a little more period in it’s look. 

If you’re eco-minded then aluminium models may be a good option as they heat up and cool down much faster than traditional radiators. This will save both time and energy.

You should definitely ensure you have just the right amount of radiators to heat the room. There are plenty of online calculators to help you do this – just pop in the room’s dimensions, the number of windows and the calculator will give you the BTUs or wattage required.  

  • Underfloor heating

A great option if your kitchen is being designed from the floor up; underfloor heating gives comfortable radiant heat and can deliver great savings too.

It depends on what type of heating you opt for but underfloor heating can be used under most types of flooring, including: stone, tile, wood and vinyl. It’s best to check your floor is a suitable match before you go ahead and invest though! However a large kitchen with porcelain or ceramic tiles is usually a perfect fit with underfloor heating. 

You can choose from two options, electric and wet systems. Electric flooring is easier to fit, being a network of wire elements on a mesh that is placed below the flooring or wet systems, which use water pipes below the floor. An electric system is easier to lay and can be retro-fitted fairly easily if you’re laying a new floor but it is important to check with your builder first. Wet systems require much more work and are better suited to renovations such as new extensions or completely new builds. 

One of the biggest benefits of underfloor heating is that you don’t have to give over valuable wall space to other heating products such as radiators which means more room for cabinets and storage. Make sure your kitchen design is finalised before the pipes or matts are laid for the flooring. A floor plan from your expert designer will help any heating engineer advise not only the best pattern to lay the floor in but also where to place the controls on the walls. Using a timed thermostat means that you can set the heating on to warm the room just enough so it’s a little easier to step into your kitchen on a frosty winter morning. 

  • Cast-iron ranges

While an ‘always-on’ Aga is often the traditional choice in farmhouse designs, it will also provide a radiant heat to warm your kitchen on a winter’s morning but it isn’t a central heating system. If you want your heat-store range to do that, then opt for models from Stanley or Rayburn, which can often run up to 20 radiators. 

  • Go mobile

Finally, consider investing in an app-controlled heating system such as Hive or Nest so you can switch on your heating, using your phone, wherever and whenever you feel the need with great ease. Putting your mind at rest whilst knowing you will be toasty warm when you arrive home.

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3 Tricks for Ditching the Junk Food

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Healthy eating is central to overall health, fitness, and wellbeing. If you find yourself feeling down, the cure may be in your diet, just as if you’re after a cosmetic enhancement, lip fillers might be the way forward.

An old saying, often attributed to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of medicine, says; “let food be thy medicine.”

But where to start in achieving and sticking to a healthy diet, when there’s so much that can seem to get in the way, ranging from a hectic schedule to the constant temptation to just eat something sugary?

Here are a few easy tips to get you started on the right path.

Keep only healthy foods in the home

Removing temptation is one of the most time-tested and effective ways of making a positive change in your lifestyle. This is true with anything. Someone trying to quit cigarettes should by no means have an “emergency” pack hidden away in their cupboard, and by the same token, someone trying to adopt a healthier approach to eating shouldn’t keep a “treat” cupboard full of chocolate or candy.

By only keeping healthy foods in the home, you create an immediate barrier to poor eating habits. If you get struck by a craving for a massive helping of milk chocolate and toffee, but there’s none at hand, you’re forced to make a decision. Are you going to consciously get in your car and drive down to the local shop for the express reason of violating your diet?

While you might lapse now and again, that simple “pause” is going to keep you on the right track more often than not.

Always have some healthy snack options on standby

Hunger pangs throughout the day are perhaps the number one enemy of good eating habits, as being hungry diminishes our resolve and self control, and drives us to seek out the closest and most satisfying fix for our cravings.

When out in public this often manifests as popping into the nearest shop and picking up whatever looks tasty and easy to eat. At home, if we haven’t yet emptied out our cupboards of junk food, it can lead to binging on things we’d really be better off avoiding.

The easiest way of counteracting this is by keeping a supply of healthy snacks in the home, primed and ready to eat at a moment’s notice. Packets of nuts or trail mix can be a great example.

Cook your meals the night before

As just mentioned, hunger reduces patience and dents our willpower. If you wait until you’re starving before preparing your healthy meals, you’re likely to find that you put minimal effort into making them, and put in just enough effort to create something vaguely edible, but not necessarily tasty.

Over time, this leads to dissatisfaction with the diet, and sooner or later, you can expect to just give up on the whole idea.

Instead, cook your meals for the next day each evening, and put real effort into making them delicious, and following proper recipes.

This way, the food’s ready and waiting when you’re next hungry, and you’re that much more likely to actually enjoy it.

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Organix Carrot Sticks & Apple Rice Cakes Multipacks | Olivia’s Eats In A Day & Our Thoughts

Olivia eating an Organix snack

We were sent some of the new Organix multipacks for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

I’ve mentioned before that Olivia will pretty much eat anything and we are mixing it up between purees and finger foods for her. She is keen to try whatever we are eating whenever we are eating it and hasn’t really come across much she doesn’t like. We’ve recently been giving her what we have been having but we still sometimes pick up some pots for convenience and when we do, we usually like to grab a few baby snacks as well.

Organix Multipacks Finger Foods Carrot Sticks and Apple Rice Cakes

The snacks we usually pick up are the singular packets of Organix snacks so when Organix got in contact and asked if we would like to test out their multipacks, we had to say yes. Owing the popularity of their single packs, Organix have popped their apple rice cakes and their carrot sticks into convenient, great value multipacks.

Olivia eating an Organix snack

Our daily eating routine goes as follows:

  • Breakfast – This is either toast, porridge or a fruit pouch. This is usually followed by a milk feed before a nap.
  • Snack – Olivia will have some Organix rice cakes or sticks or perhaps some baby biscuits
  • Lunch – This may be toast if she didn’t have it for breakfast, a sandwich, some fruit, maybe a pouch or pot if out and about
  • Snack – Again Olivia will have some Organix snacks or some baby biscuits and usually a milk feed before another nap
  • Dinner – This is where she usually has what we are having – if it’s too spicy for her or has nuts in, we will give her a pot as we always keep some aside for convenience

Olivia eating an Organix snack

So how did we get on??

Each multipack contains 4 packs and are suitable for 7 months onwards. I knew that Olivia definitely had a preference of the two products – and you can probably guess which one from the pictures as I didn’t manage to get any pictures of her eating them even though the clean up was very orange and very messy! If I didn’t keep an eye on things, Olivia would certainly just keep eating the carrot sticks until they were all gone, regardless of if she was full or not!

The rice cakes also went down a treat – a handful at a time seem to do the trick and keeping her tummy full until her next meal. She loves snacks probably more than her meals so its handy to have the snacks she loves available in handy multipacks – it means I always have a pack to hand that she can snack on at home or we can take out with us to keep her happy.

Price varies from supermarket to supermarket but the multipacks generally cost from £2 to £2.50 – a great price for such convenience.

Does your child ever eat Organix snacks? Visit the website to find out more about the brand.