So many of us start the year planning on trying something new but how many of us can actually say that we have actually managed to achieve that eight months into the year? I bet the number is fairly low. I know I promised myself I would try something new and I am yet to do so and I bet the same can be said for plenty of you too. So why not change it up in the final few months of the year and try something new?
For some reason, certain things are often seen as male orientated. I’ve tried many things in the past that are generally seen as predominantly male focused and I’d like to change that – why can’t they be seen as experiences for females too? The problem is society and not the companies or days out themselves though who are more than happy and in fact excited when people of both genders participate.
One such thing is track days and driving experiences. You hear of so many men being bought a day out by their significant others or their children and see their pictures of their fantastic day out strewn across social media – but how often do you see women participating in such days out? That isn’t to say that women aren’t interested or that they don’t participate in these days – you just don’t see much of it or see it online when they do.
Track days and driving experiences aren’t just for men and the people over at Track Days are hoping to get more women to take part in the driving experiences they have offer. There are so many driving experiences on offer that you really would be spoilt for choice. If I could drive, a driving experience would be at the very top of my list and it is something I have considered in the past for my female family members and friends. You may know that I love to enter competitions and I am always entering for fun and unique experiences for me and my friends to do – we’ve been to some really random but incredibly fun experiences – I’m always searching for another thrill.
It cannot be denied that women love a supercar – and there are plenty on offer for driving experience days such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches – so if your dream has always been to get behind the wheel of one such car, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity? Likewise if a woman in your life has always wanted to rev up an American muscle car or try out one of those beautiful cars made famous in the movies, this would surely be a fantastic gift option for her.
I know it is only August but with Christmas fast approaching, you are probably already thinking about gift options for the people you love. Why not consider a day out with the girls, getting to drive some fantastic cars and have fun while doing so? Perhaps you’ve got a hen night or a big birthday approaching. If you are looking for something a little more special to do, then surely this would be of interest.
With our family and my friends planning to have plenty more days out together before the end of the year, this is certainly going to be on the list of things we might do, among some other fun unique opportunities.
Have you ever done a track day or driving experience? If not, is it something you’d be interested in doing?
Throughout the worlds of clothing and celebrity, there have been some incredible moments of flawless fashion. From the red carpet to famous scenes, world-renowned ladies have made their mark with a selection of unforgettable women’s dresses that have never left us — but which are the most iconic?
From Cher to Meghan Markle, we’ve selected the most inspiring and famous designer dresses ever to hit the headlines — and showed you how you can get the high-street version today to enhance your wardrobe.
The green, silk chiffon gown Jennifer Lopez wore at the 42nd Grammy Awards brought the world of fashion to its knees in 2000. Designed by Donatella Versace, this stunning dress featured a jungle print and a daring, plunging neckline that opened all the way to the singer’s navel — secured with a sparkling green brooch. All over the world, people went wild for this innovative gown. According to former Google chairman, Eric Schmidt, it was the most popular search query ever and even led to the launch of Google Image Search! Described as a turning point in Versace’s career, emulating this flawless look is simple.
Silk chiffon dresses deliver a beautiful, flowing silhouette that flatters all body shapes. Select a style with a long-at-the-back hemline to show off your legs and recreate the daring-but-sophisticated appeal of the famous jungle dress — asymmetric cuts will also look good and make sure you choose a bold, eye-catching colour to stand out from the crowd. Tropical prints are popular this fashion season — although check and animal patterns also work well — while long-sleeves help create an elegant balance of exposed skin. Don’t feel you have to go as low at the front as J-Lo, though. Plunging necklines certainly inject a touch of glamour into an outfit, but you can get the same effect by going for a simple v-neck and enhancing your dress with statement jewellery and high heels to make sure you’re ready for a special evening.
Well known for creating an impact, Cher did not disappoint when she stepped in front of the cameras at the 1986 Academy Awards. The legend of music and film was asked to present the Best Supporting Actor award and made sure she wouldn’t be upstaged by the winner in a black, jewel-encrusted gown with matching plumed headpiece designed by Bob Mackie. Split into a hip-hugging skirt and criss-cross bralet, the outfit was captivatingly daring for an Oscars event and has gone down in film industry history as one of the most famous outfits ever.
To capture the essence of this stunning look, you must exude confidence. Show off your curves by pairing a black cami bralet with a long, side-split skirt or opt for a midriff cut-out maxi dress. Swap the plumed headwear for a diamante headband and add to the glamour with a pair of embellished, slingback heels. Cher wonderfully made her bold outfit perfect for the sophisticated Academy Awards by complementing her exposed midriff with a loose-fit jacket — get the same effect with a chiffon kimono.
Marilyn Monroe is a pop culture icon, revered today for her beauty, talent and off-screen endeavours — but which of her renowned outfits beats them all to be the most iconic? For most of us, seeing Monroe playfully pushing down the skirt of her white cocktail dress in the film, The Seven Year Itch, is an enduring image that sums up the actress’ spirit and appeal. The backless, sleeveless dress, designed by William Travilla, featured a below-the-knee skirt and halter-like bodice with a plunging neck — risqué for the 1950s. Striking the perfect balance between elegance and seductiveness, this outfit is still inspiring designers today and even sold at auction in 2011 for $4.6 million!
When choosing a high-street dress that embodies the Monroe appeal, go for the ‘vintage party’ vibe. This dress style has a distinctive time-honoured elegance to it, yet, it looks ideal for a fun girls’ night. Go for a pleated midi skirt or lace embellishment for a beautiful retro appeal, then update the look in the upper section. Monroe makes up for the modest skirt hemline by showing more shoulder and arms — do the same with a Bardot or plunge neckline and polish off your 1950s-inspired look with mid-heel sandals and a pretty, floral hair slide.
This music icon is always one step ahead when it comes to her art — and fashion is no different. We couldn’t get enough of the sheer, bejewelled dress that Beyoncé wore at the Met Gala in 2015. Designed by Givenchy, the fitted, backless gown was awash with strategically-placed multi-coloured crystals and before slowing elegantly around her heeled feet.
Although few occasions call for a see-through, crystallised dress; there’s no reason that you can’t enhance your wardrobe with something similarly extravagant. Concentrate on the embellishment of your gown to emulate the Beyoncé look — styles such as a diamante bodycon or metallic maxi dress will offer a similar, stand-out look that’s perfect for a night out. Instead of sheer or see-through, why not opt for a nude gown that you can pair with complementary bag and heels?
Oscar-winning actress, Julia Roberts, is one of the most celebrated women in film, starring in a list of blockbuster films for decades. Obviously, the actress has donned many outfits during her on-screen time, but perhaps one of the most iconic costumes is the red, off-the-shoulder dress she wore with long, white evening gloves in Pretty Woman. Created by designer, Marilyn Vance-Straker, this scarlet column dress, featured a sweetheart neckline and sat elegantly off the shoulder to create a beautiful silhouette that looked innovative, yet timeless. So, how do you get the high-street version?
Everything about this gown says feminine elegance. If you have a special occasion coming up, this style is ideal. Stick with the sweetheart neckline but opt for a shorter hemline or even an asymmetric skirt cut to tone down the formality. Pair with wrap-round heels and keep jewellery to a minimum — chokers look particularly good with this neckline and a simple, neutral-shade clutch will finalise the look perfectly. Wearing your hair up will help show off the outline of the dress, too.
The wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle was watched by 18 million viewers in the UK, with many tuning in to catch the first glimpse of the bride’s wedding gown. But in fact, Markle’s second outfit choice also got people talking. For the evening, the new bride opted for a silk crepe, sleeveless, high-neck gown designed by Stella McCartney that fell flawlessly over her petite frame — and it’s a style that many of us would love to have sitting in our own wardrobes.
The halter-neck, sleeveless look lets you elegantly show off your shoulders and works best when the skirt of your dress is midi or even maxi, to get the ideal level of skin exposure. Of course, you don’t have to stick to white. Purple is a big colour this fashion season and slipping on a pair of simple, mid-heels and only a few pieces of jewellery — perhaps droplet earrings and a small selection of matching rings — will let you harness the chic, understated vibe of this style. If you have a more casual event, go for a shorter skirt or one with a high/low frill hem.
Who could forget the denim dress that Britney Spears wore to the 2001 American Music Awards? Back when Britney and Justin were possibly the most famous celebrity couple, the singer’s every fashion movement was scrutinised — and this is perhaps her most iconic. Styled and shaped like a ball gown, Spears’ sleeveless, floor-length dress featured a fitted bodice, metallic belt and even short train to give the impression of jeans-inspired formality. If you love denim or just like alternative takes on standard outfits, try getting the high-street version of this.
Tone down the formal side of this iconic look by opting for a pinafore or shirt-style dress in light-blue denim — use a waist belt to nip you in for a flawless figure outline. Get the ‘dressed up’ look on your next night out by selecting a fitted, mini style that you can pair with stilettos and accessories, or go for a black-denim, shift dress with thin straps for an alternative blend of low-maintenance denim and high-fashion style.
Bring the glitz and glamour of music and film to your outfit choices this year.
Summer is such a busy and expensive time. Not only do you have to spend six weeks keeping your children entertained but you are also spending out constantly on that entertainment – and just when you think you can start saving your pennies again, you realise you now need to get their wardrobe prepared for their next year at school.
Jack is constantly in need of new stuff – new uniform for school, new sports kit, new school shoes, new sport shoes, new shoes in general as he’s wrecked the other pairs he owned during the summer. I’m always looking for the perfect pair of kids shoes that are super affordable too.
This is where Engelbert Strauss are great. Not only do they have a great range of winter work clothes but they provide a fantastic range of children’s footwear and footwear for adults too. They even sell tools and equipment and office supplies too. A real one stop shop. For those of you who don’t know much about Engelbert Struass, they are an 100% family run independent business, run by fourth generation family members Norbert, Gerlinde, Steffen and Henning Strauss. They have ten national subsidiaries in Europe and also a serve a large number of commercial international customers.
Now with me always looking for affordable and good quality footwear for the whole family, it is little wonder that a brand like Engelbert Strauss comes to mind. The company produces good quality products at great prices and who can argue with that? You can order from them online or through their catalogue and it doesn’t matter if you are a private customer ordering or from a company, you are both welcome to order items from the company. Quite often you will find businesses catering to one or the other of these so it is great to see that their products are available to everyone.
With school shoes already sorted, I’ve been looking for a decent pair of wellies and pair of trainers for Jack to use for school. He does a lot of sport so needs a good pair of trainers for his feet. They also do something known as ‘forest school’ down at the pond at the bottom of the school field – he is in dire need of wellies for this as his others no longer fit! Those offered on the Engelbert Strauss truly fit the bill – durable, good quality, easy to see thanks to the bright yellow colour, lightweight so they don’t put too much pressure on your child’s feet and a great price too. They’re perfect.
With Steve also starting a new job at Jack’s school, suitable footwear is a must so it is great to see an extensive range of products for him too. With our work and school wardrobes needing to be drastically updated ready for September, I definitely know where to look.
Welcoming a new baby into the family is always such a wonderful and unforgettable experience — but the journey isn’t always easy. Knowing what to do and when to do it to look after your little one can be tricky, especially if you’re a new parent with no prior experience.
There is some help out there though. Just by using your smartphone, you can get advice and guidance on everything to do with being a new parent — from feeding tips to nearby play groups where you can meet other new mums and babies. Why not check out this guide to the top new parent apps and make life as a new mum or dad that little bit easier?
Ovia Parenting — Baby Tracker
This is a one-stop app for all things ‘new baby’. With the Ovia Parenting app, you can track your child’s development using a checklist, share precious photos of your newborn with your family and friends and you can read new articles on children’s health to keep up-to-date with the latest in children’s welfare.
The tracker is more personal and private than Facebook or Instagram, and new parents love being able to invite friends and family to follow their babies’ updates and videos knowing that privacy is there! You can even get a family calendar where you can log all those key development dates and check-up appointments so everyone knows where to be and when to be there. Being a customisable app, Ovia Parenting can be completely personal to you and your baby. If you’re feeling unsure about anything, you also have the option of asking anonymous questions to a community of other parents and children carers via the app. So handy when you’ve got a wealth of questions to ask.
Sound Sleeper: White Noise
One of the trickiest parts of new parenting is getting used to your new sleeping pattern – or lack of it. While some babies drift off easily, others need extra help and getting newborns back off to sleep after waking up in the early hours is exhausting for mums and dads. That’s where the Sound Sleeper: White Noise app comes in really handy.
You can choose from a wide range of soothing sounds to make falling asleep simpler for your little one — including modern and traditional lullabies, as well as white noises such as ‘rain’, ‘womb’, ‘fan’, and others. There is also a handy sleep tracker mode that will monitor your baby’s downtime and help you develop and maintain good sleeping habits.
The app was developed by new parents and designed with first-hand experience of tackling the issue of bedtime. It turns on at the sound of your baby’s first cry — meaning you don’t even have to switch it on in the middle of the night which is very handy when you’re incredibly tired — and you can even record your own sounds if you know there’s a special tune or noise that helps your baby sleep.
Many apps are aimed at new mothers, but fathers are just as in need of help and guidance when it comes to taking care of a newborn, don’t you think? If you’re a new dad and are feeling unsure or apprehensive, download DadPad for tips and peace of mind!
You can scroll through and select the concern you’re most worried about or just get a refresher on key, baby-caring activities — like bathing and holding your newborn. There are loads of advice articles, including ones to help you support your partner and look after yourself, and there are tips on bonding with your new addition to the family. Since parents, midwives and healthcare professionals have all been involved in creating content for this app, all you learn will be useful, relevant and accurate.
DadPad is part of the Maternity Transformation Programme’sBetter Births strategy, so information you receive via the app will relate to your local health authority or NHS Trust which is fantastic.
Baby Monitor 3G
Being able to watch over your baby without creeping into their nursery and disturbing them sounds like an ideal scenario for many new parents — and it’s possible with the Baby Monitor 3G app.
It delivers quality audio and video, and the Baby Monitor 3G app is available on your phone, tablet and desktop, letting you keep track of every noise and movement your baby makes for your peace of mind. It takes less than a minute to set up, you just need to place one device in your child’s room and keep the other near you to start watching over your little one via live HD video. The app works from anywhere. You even have the option to talk to your baby, too which is ideal when they need soothing back to sleep by the recognisable tone of your voice.
So many have already downloaded Baby Monitor 3G. It has even won the AppStore Best of the Year award in several European countries. Did you know you can even create an activity log for your baby’s sleeping habits and play lullabies to them via your device’s music library?
Claimed to be the ‘number one app for mums’, Mush is a godsend for new mothers who are keen to find support and friendship from other local parents. Being a new mum can sometimes feel isolating, as your whole day seems to revolve around your newborn. With Mush, you can make a profile in just a minute before scrolling to find nearby mothers that you can connect with and arrange a get-together.
If you have a question or concern, chances are many of the other new mums on Mush do, too! From what double buggy to buy to fit your family, to how to make the transition from milk to baby food; this app lets you ask questions and get first-hand advice from other users. Or you can simply browse the range of advice articles to help ease your concerns.
If you have children aged between 0 and 11 years, the Hoop app is most definitely for you. Keeping babies entertained is one thing, but if you have older kids, finding the perfect activity is even more difficult – incredibly difficult, in fact.
Using the app, you can find everything from toddler groups and dance workshops, to messy play venues and soft play fun for all ages. It brings together all the kid-friendly activities in your area and separated into recommended ages, you can scroll through more than 70,000 listed venues until you land on the perfect one for your family. There are also plenty of free options listed on this app, too. The app is already used by around 750,000 families, this app is a must for busy parents who need child-friendly entertainment fast!
Get downloading today and make life as a new parent a little simpler!
When you start to think about planning your wedding and getting married, it can often seem incredibly overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to be a bridezilla if you really don’t want to be. Instead, you can just choose to enjoy the process and have fun! Yes, you really can. But to do this, you need to be in the right frame of mind. You need to believe that you’re going to be able to have the best wedding day ever. You need to make sure that you’re committing the time necessary to make sure that your wedding is everything that you want it to be. Yes, it can be a lot of work, but if you want to bring your wedding day alive, you have to give it your all.
So, to do that, you’ll find that it’s so important for you to channel your efforts into all of the right areas. Because there are always going to be some of the key things to a wedding that really allow you to make the day feel incredible. And, of course, these key touches will definitely be personal. Because something that you really care about won’t always be something that someone else cares about. However, you can still take the idea of putting your all into the right key areas of your wedding to make it your best. Let’s take a look at some of the things that can help you to make it absolutely perfect (or as close as possible).
So first of all, you have the theme. If you really want to make sure that your wedding is just wonderful, then choosing a wedding theme that feels magical and very you, is so important. Some great choices here can be vintage themed, or fairytale, old Hollywood glamour, or even a set color that then impacts on anything else. This then not only allows you to pull together everything else in line with the theme quite easily, but it can set the great tone of the wedding too.
Next, there’s the venue. Now, for a lot of people, that can seems incredibly tough to pick out. However, choosing your wedding venue can really set the scene of the ideal wedding that you want. So, think about what an ideal wedding venue would be like – such as an old castle, a fancy hotel, a gorgeous garden, or even something overseas. A lot of the time, your venue can add to the magic of your wedding day.
Now, there’s also the invitations too. When you think about it, wedding invites can seem like something so small. But they are just so pretty and can really set the tone of your wedding in the minds of your guests. So spending the time to select the most amazing invites is definitely what you need to do.
For some people, the idea of picking out flowers can seem a little boring. But really, the flowers are such an important and exciting part of the wedding. They can really bring a space alive. Think about how you can decorate the ceremony and the venue with so many wonderful and beautiful flowers, it can really create the wedding day of your dreams.
The Wedding Favors
Next, there’s the favors. Again, this can often be a really small part of the day that you either forget about, or you don’t really want to put any effort into. And that can feel incredibly normal. But, when you get creative with the favors, they too can add to the excitement of the day. Here, why not think about the kind of favors that are going to play into your theme. Perhaps personalized tea cups for your vintage theme, or shot glasses for your Hollywood theme.
Now, the music can seem like an afterthought. But this is something that this playing all throughout the day. So you really do need to get it right. From the wedding ceremony songs that you choose, to the background music at the reception, and then your evening entertaining, how fun would it be to make sure that it’s all in the same kind of theme too? This can really amplify the feel of the day.
A really fun area that can really make the day special, is the food. Especially if you’re a foodie! Don’t feel pressured by your venue to make certain choices. Instead, think about what food you want, and find the caterers that you love that will make your wedding day incredibly special.
And if you or your fiancé love cars, then make sure that you pick out transport to and from the venue that you absolutely love! Choose the cars that you would absolutely love to arrive in, and that will make your day extra special.
And then, you have your wedding guests themselves! This can be something that stresses people out a lot, but just enjoy it. Remember, you want to share your special day with these people. So it’s going to be so important for you to be able to create a wedding guest list full of people that you love. If you know that you want to have key people there, then invite them. But definitely don’t feel like you have to extend invitations out of courtesy. This is a day that you want to enjoy, so make sure that the guests will be a part of that.
Finally, you then also have your wedding day schedule to think about do. And definitely feel free to choose this yourself. If you don’t want your guests to be waiting around a lot, or you don’t want to feel like you’re rushing from the ceremony to pictures to eat to dance – then don’t. Your wedding day can go as slow as you like, or go in whatever order you like. So definitely be selfish about being able to enjoy your perfect day.