Back To School With Sambro

When Jack goes back to school, he is going to be in Year 1. He is growing up so quickly – and of course with it being August, we are starting to buy all the back to school things he needs. It is always good to be prepared so when we were asked if we would like to review a Lego Batman 3D backpack, we just had to say yes. Lego and superheroes? Jack has recently seen the film and loved it – and as it features two of his favourite things, I knew a related backpack would go down a storm.

Sold by Sambro on Very among other retailers for around the £16 mark, the backpack is actually a 2 in 1 backpack. As well as being a front pocket, the circular pocket at the front also doubles up as a detachable lunch bag – extremely handy if your child takes packed lunches into school! The backpack has adjustable straps and has a carry handle on each of the two sections.

The detail on the rucksack is incredible. There is a Lego print on pretty much all of the bag including the back, sides and straps. The 3D element is also incredible – it really seems as if Batman is flying out of the backpack towards you! The colours are intense and I am very impressed.

Storage wise, this is fantastic. There is plenty of space for all your child’s school essentials and then even more – handy if your child needs to store their coat or jumper somewhere – you know it will all fit. As well as being a pocket, the lunch bag part is fully insulated with foil so that you can guarantee that your child’s lunch is kept as fresh as possible whilst stored in their bag during school time. You can be confident in the fact that your child’s food will still be as tip-top as it was when you put it in there.

As you can see, Jack is incredibly chuffed with his new backpack. As I mentioned, it features two of his favourite things – Lego and superheroes, what’s not to love? One thing I feel I should mention is the size of it – the backpack itself is quite large (perhaps because of how much storage it has to offer and the 2-in-1 detachable element) so this may be better suited to someone a little older than Jack, perhaps 7 or 8 plus. He is 5 and quite tall for his age and this was quite big for him – the straps adjusted well but as you can see in the pictures above, the backpack itself is the size of Jack’s upper body!

All in all, Jack is extremely happy with his new backpack and can’t wait to use it. He’s also very happy with the lovely set of stationery Sambro also kindly sent him which will set him up perfectly for September. Sambro have yet again pulled it out the bag with the products they have to offer – perhaps you will be picking something up for your child for September?

Item sent for purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

How to Boost Your Energy Without Coffee

If coffee is your go-to drink when you need a boost, you may want to consider getting that much- needed burst of energy from elsewhere. Why? Well, caffeine can actually have harmful effects on the body. If you’re drinking it in large quantities, you may be familiar with the dizziness, headaches and fatigue that occurs after consumption.

While caffeine initially provides a burst of energy, the crash that follows leaves us feeling hungover. Here you can discover healthy alternatives to coffee. Curb that caffeine habit and feel energised with these healthy drinks:

Hot Water with Lemon

I know what you’re thinking: this has nothing on your freshly brewed coffee. However, once you get used to drinking hot water with lemon, it’s actually quite pleasant. I can honestly say that a cup of this stuff each morning works wonders – and that’s coming from someone with three boys!

Lemons are rich in vitamin C which, as you probably already know, boosts your immune system. But did you know that it plays a role in energy production too? Try ditching your morning coffee for hot water with lemon and you’ll soon feel a difference.

Coconut Water

Coconut water has been a fad for some time, but it’s much more than just a trend-leading beverage. The refreshing drink is full of goodness – antioxidants, amino acids, vitamin C and lots of minerals too – so if you swap it for your daily cup of Joe, you’ll soon see a difference in your energy levels.

Coconut water can be enjoyed as it is, but I like to blend it with bananas and strawberries to make a delicious smoothie; it’s a truly tasty way of getting that desired burst of energy.

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Green Tea

Green tea really does have an acquired taste. However, once you get used to it, it’s like comfort in a cup. While green tea does contain caffeine, it has significantly less than coffee so it’s the perfect drink if you want to slowly wean yourself off it. You’ll get an energy hit, without the caffeine comedown! Win-win.

My personal tip would be to add a teaspoon of honey to take the edge off or, try a range of green teas until you find one you like!

Chai

I love chai. It’s soothing and, best of all, it’s just as satisfying as coffee. How? I’m a latte lady and chai is made with hot milk, so I almost feel like I’m drinking a smooth and creamy cup of coffee – but with exotic spices. Each spice has health benefits, so it’s almost like drinking a tasty medicine!

If you tend to drink your coffee with milk, chai is the way forward. You’ll naturally cut your caffeine intake by swapping coffee for chai, plus it’s the perfect pick-me-up, particular on colder days.

So, whether you choose to trade in your cup of java for a cold drink or a hot beverage that contains little to no caffeine, you’ll be on track to a healthier lifestyle; you’ll sleep better and wake up with more energy.

About the Author

Joy Richards is the sleep and wellness expert Happy Beds, the UK’s leading bed and mattress store. Joy runs The Comfort Zone – the company’s news hub that’s dedicated to helping customers find the comfiest bed, be it a divan bed for the guest room or a cabin bed for the kid’s room. You can get in touch with Joy by tweeting @HappyBedsUK.  

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Storage solutions that could transform your kitchen

Aside from making sure your kitchen looks the part, it’s important to ensure it includes enough storage space. For some savvy tips and tricks that could help transform your entire cooking area, keep reading.

Full height cabinets

While many traditional style kitchens have separated lower and wall mounted cupboards, this might not be the best option for you, especially if you’re keen to include as much storage space as possible. Instead, you could go for full height cabinets. These cupboards normally extend from the floor all the way up to the ceiling, offering you lots of extra room to store just about anything, from your pots and pans to plates and bowls.

To make sure these cupboards offer you the storage you need, you can often choose how they are assembled. For example, kitchen specialist website www.solidwoodkitchencabinets.co.uk offers a selection of different arrangements, including full height cupboards with a space for an integrated appliance, such as a microwave, as well as designs featuring long shelved cupboards on top with smaller drawer sections in the lower half.

Kitchen islands

If you’ve got the spare square footage, you could go for a kitchen island. Aside from giving you an additional surface area to prepare and eat meals, this design feature offers you extra storage. A typical island features a combination of drawers and cupboards. However, kitchen islands are available in a variety of different shapes, sizes and styles, so it’s possible to find designs with inbuilt wine racks, baskets and pull-out trays too.

Shelving, racking and hanging hooks

If you have any wall space going spare, why not utilise it? There are a number of simple yet effective ways you can create a convenient place to keep things you use on a regular basis. For example, you could put up shelving to proudly display your best crockery, or you could attach racking to the wall for a quirky way to store your spices. You could even attach hooks to hang up your tea towels and apron.

Pull-out pantry cupboards

Pull-out pantry cupboards are a useful storage solution, especially if you have an awkwardly shaped nook or cranny in your kitchen that’s going to waste. Unlike a regular cabinet with hinged doors, this style of cupboard can be pulled outwards by a handle, meaning that you don’t have to worry about factoring in extra space when it’s opened. Pull-out pantry cupboards are usually fitted with internal shelving or racking, providing you with the perfect place to organise all of your cooking essentials.

Regardless of whether your kitchen is large and spacious or a little on the smaller side, there are a variety of ways you can up your storage game.

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Summer Fun With Silly Spaghetti from Paul Lamond Games & Giveaway!

The summer holidays can be long and boring for a five year old so we are trying to ensure that we have plenty to do over the next few weeks. As well as days out, we love staying in and playing games as a family so when we were given the opportunity to review Silly Spaghetti from Paul Lamond Games, we were very happy. Jack loves games that require something a little different from the norm and this is certainly the game for this.

Silly Spaghetti is designed for 2-4 players and the main aim of the game is to be the first to untangle your spaghetti from the pins by wrapping around your fork, as you would do spaghetti you are eating. You receive a plastic play board, a cardboard ‘topping’ with holes cut out, a select amount of pegs and stickers to use on those and the die and four different coloured strings. The stickers are the peppers, tomatoes, meatballs, mushrooms and spaghetti. The spaghetti gets dropped onto the board and the pegs are then pushed in – and then the game begins!

You each choose a fork and make sure your spaghetti is wound as tight as possible around your fork and then every player takes turns to roll the dice. The youngest player goes first. Whatever you land on, you take a peg corresponding to that ingredient out. If you land on a star, that is a free play and you get to choose which ingredient peg you take out. You want to remove the toppings that are blocking your spaghetti so you can free it more easily and so you can win the game.

With Jack being 5, he didn’t always understand how to make the best move – sometimes he would remove the peg that made it easier for the rest of us so we had to teach him to seek out the ones which would help him more than they would help us. Hopefully he will get better at making these decisions for himself in the next few games we play.

The game is great for children aged 4+ – although those of a younger age may not quite understand trying to choose the best peg for themselves rather than everyone elses – they may end up picking randomly instead of thinking about it.

However Jack had great fun playing this with us – it is a great game for all the family, all the pieces are incredibly sturdy. I can’t wait to play this again as a family and I am sure this will be brought out time and time again when his friends come over to play.

Now you’ve heard all about our thoughts, how would you like to win the game for yourself? Well, you’re in luck! This giveaway is UK only and ends at 23.59pm on 13th August 2017. Good luck!

 

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Choosing The Right Venue To Set The Mood On Your Wedding Day

Picking the right wedding venue will undoubtedly be, one the most important decisions any engaged couple can decide. The venue can be in any style, so the choice is completely void of the lack of choice. The venue could be a castle, a hotel, a manor house in the countryside, a barn on farmland, or a mystical retreat by a lakeside. The venue should reflect your and your partner’s personalities, the things you’re interested in and thereby the setting that most matters to you both. Architecture, size, materials and the location will all have a subconscious effect on your guests, and it will create the image they’ll keep in their minds of your wedding, for the rest of their lives. And, so will you; so the move the budget aside, the timing schedule you’ve planning and the honeymoon all to the back of your mind. You need to allocate a good amount of time to the reasons, why, you’re going to choose a certain venue. There some stand-alone tips which you should incorporate into your thinking.

Finding your style

If you have a darker nature to your personality, you could book a venue with a little history linked back to it from the Middle Ages. Castles are great for this kind of wedding; something with history, ancient civilisations and the smell of the bricks. If you’re religious, you may find more comfort in a cathedral, than you may in your local church. Cathedrals in the UK will have a gothic 14th-century twist to their architecture. However many modern cathedrals, however, have less stubborn features to the building and much more room inside. If you’re someone who is in tune with nature, a manor house in the countryside would be a great place to take your vows.

When to book

It’s normal for couples to book their chosen venue around 12-18 months in advance. This is so the date is not booked by another couple, and the company who either owns the venue or has it on their list of options is prepared in advance. If you’re working directly with a venue, agreeing to the set date is going to need you to employ a negotiating stance. You may also, need to pay extra, but you should book the venue even further out in advance if you can; over two years if need be. You must also factor in the weather. Study the meteorological patterns over the venue or perhaps ask the company, if they can supply you with the relevant information.

Take precautions

When you book the venue, make sure it’s in writing. You may get an online confirmation, so before you click on anything that finalises the purchase, carefully read the terms and conditions of the agreement. If you want any special circumstances for your wedding, they’ll have to be agreed to in person, and in writing. To protect yourself, from the other party falling through, get a wedding insurance policy from a company such as www.wedinsure.co.uk. Regarding the venue, any agreement that is changed on the day, such as the allotted time that you paid for being decreased, certain parts of the venue being cut off to guests, last minute changes to the day or the venue cancelling should be subject to a coverage plan.

Sufficient room

Although a venue may look spectacular from the outside, the inside may leave a little something to be desired. It’s important to not put style over substance and rely totally on pleasing aesthetics when it comes to catering for all your guests. A spectacular building will only go so far, when family and friends want the room to play, dance, eat, drink and laugh. Work out how many guests will be coming to your wedding, and mold the stylish choices you make of the venue around the number of people. There must be ample room for tables, chairs, and waiters to move around freely. Many wedding venues will have main halls, but the size of these rooms should be measured by an independent professional to give you an accurate figure. The tables and chairs can all be downsized too, to make room, but the venue itself must be comfortable handling potentially hundreds of people.

Take the time to search within yourself and find the perfect style that would compliment your personality. Not all weddings are going to be like fairy tales, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. The key is not to let emotional response get in the way of logical thinking. Book the venue well in advance, and start thinking about how best you will use the room supplied to you.

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