LITTLE MOMENTS 2020: 39/52: AUTUMN DECOR

This week I finally got out our Autumn decor so that I could decorate our fireplace. 

First of all I have to mention the pumpkins. The glittery ones and the two that say boo were poundland bargains I found in store last year. The other pumpkins are a set I found on Amazon. They are great as are ideal for using as props in autumn photos too. 


The leaves are again from Amazon and they come in a pack of about 100. We use them for quite a few different things such as Blake and I used some last year to make a wreath with a paper plate and I use them also as props in photos.


The "It's the most wonder-fall time of the year" print is from Leanne Cornelius Creates. I did buy the frame for it to go into from B&M which was really cheap.



Last of all is this bespoke painted gin glass with tea light which I got from a lovely little business Manor Crafts.


 Do you tend to decorate for fall? 

6 TYPES OF DRIVEWAY SURFACES TO CONSIDER

*In collaboration with Build A Drive 

Driveways have a big impact on your homes kerb appeal. Which in return has a high impact on your homes valuation. So if you live in a home that has a driveway it's definitely something you may want to consider especially if you are planning to move any time soon.

If we lived in a place with a driveway I think it would be important to search for driveway companies near me and so would advise you to do the same. As it's such a big job it's worth while getting a professional to do the job.


 There are many types of driveway surfaces to choose from with many pros and cons to them.
Here are six options you can potentially to choose from:

Resin Bound
Resin bound at the moment is a popular option. When done properly although it is at the top end price wise it is a fantastic alternative to traditional surfaces. Resin bound is a two part polyurethane resin that is mixed with a decorative aggregate and sand. Once the aggregate is coated in the resin it is levelled over a prepared surface at around 18-20mm. It is then troweled by hand to a smooth finish. A glass bead is added to the surface as it is laid to give extra grip under foot. It is crucial that the right resin is used along with the correct amount of aggregate to ensure a quality long lasting finish

Tarmac
Tarmac has been around for years and is good cost effective solution. It's a great functional and lasting option and although isn't overwhelming appearance wise it stands the test of time.


Pattern Imprinted Concrete 
PIC is stunning visually and hardwearing. It is a great value option with low maintenance and is weed resistant.

Indian Flagstone
Not only is Indian flagstone a visually stunning option its hardwearing, cost effective and low maintenance. Not only that but it is also suitable for patios and other outdoor spaces as well as driveways. 

Gravel
Gravel is a cost effective option that is low maintenance and quick to install. You can choose from many different colour options too. Admittedly this is my least favourite option.

Block paving 
Although a practical option one thing to bear in mind is that block paving can be costly and time consuming to maintain. On the plus side it is a visually stunning option which can easily be repaired and good for moving snow and ice. If you live somewhere where you tend to get snow and ice often than it's definitely worth considering compared to the other surfaces available.

I hope this handy guide is a great help to you if you are considering getting your driveway renovated. 

LIKES & LOVES | SEPTEMBER 2020

September has meant alot about getting back into a routine.  Blake has been too exhausted for us to do much at the weekends. By Friday school has wiped him and all he wants to do is cuddle up on the sofa. I'm starting to get more into a routine again to get housework and errands done giving me enough time to myself each day whilst Blake is in school.  

I've not really brought much this month but I have started on Birthday/Christmas shopping for presents for Blake which I've currently hidden in the attic but I've a few things I've liked and loved this month.

The Handmaid's Tale
I read the book last year and had been wanting to see the series. When I realised it was on Prime I slowly started making my way through episodes this month. I've not watched anything else as I've been mainly all about my books this month but the Handmaid's Tale I've been making time for. I'm enjoying it much more than the book and think its because I can understand a bit more about what is going on.


Kind Natured Sea Minerals & Mint Foot Scub
I've had quite dry and rough skin recently especially on my feet so I opted to try this foot scub which not only smells refreshing but makes my feet feel much better after use.


St Ives Gentle Smoothing Oatmeal Scrub and Mask
Sticking with a the dry skin theme I like to use a facial scrub once a week. As I needed a new one I opted to try out this St Ives one. I've not used St Ives in years and used to use the apricot scrub. I definitely prefer the smell of this one and it works well at making my face feel refreshed and softer after. 

Comfort Creations Strawberry and Lily
Bit of a random item but I've been trying different comfort creations fabric conditioner scents. So far we've used Strawberry and Lily, Waterlily and Lime and last of all Honeysuckle and Sandalwood. Out of the 3 scents my favourite is the Strawberry and Lime. Once I've used up the other two I'll definitely be purchasing more of this one. I like that the scent really does last.
Quote Hanging Signs 
I picked up two quote hanging signs that I spotted in two local charity shops recently. The All you need is love one was only 99p and the Keep your face to the sunshine and happiness will bloom within was £1.50. They are now hanging up in our dining room above our dining table.


Rainbows
I noticed one day we had quite a bit of rain even though it was sunny so decided to pop outside and spotted a beautiful rainbow from our garden over the houses behind us.


Autumn is coming
The weather has been getting more autumnal and we've noticed that the leaves are starting to fall more from the trees in pretty colours. Blake has loved walking and running through them hearing the crunchy sound that they make.


Geomags confetti set
I wrote a review recently on the set we had been sent which you can read here. We've been loving spending time together making different shapes etc.



2020 READING CHALLENGE | WHAT I'VE READ IN SEPTEMBER

With Blake being back to school I have found once chores and errands are done I'm able to have a bit more time to myself. I've used this time to pick up a book mainly. I like for September that I've managed to read a good mix. I've included a book I'm planning to read next week as I'm pretty sure I'll have finished it before October 1st. Seven out of the eight books have been for the popsugar reading challenge prompts and I'm pretty confident that I will complete the challenge before the end of the year. 

Lord of the butterflies by Andrea Gibson 
I picked this short poem book for the prompt a book by a trans/non binory author. Lord of the butterflies is a wonderful collection of poems that looks at gender, romance, loss and family. 


The Summer of Madness By Alexander Raphael 
This was for the book tour I mentioned and you can read more about my thoughts on the book here. It's a short romance where a guy tries to win back his ex. 


Caught By Harlan Coben 
After reading my first Harlan Coben book a few months ago I had to read another by this author. I picked Caught for the prompt a book with a great first line. The first line is " I knew opening that red door would destroy my life." This definitely gripped me and I really enjoyed the story and how fast paced it was. It's a crime/thriller told in different points of view. 


Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris
I picked this for the prompt a book by an author with flora or fauna in their name. Cilka's Journey is the sequel to The Tattoist of Auschwitz. I loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz and had been meaning to read this sequel for awhile. I found it to be just as good and an inspirational read.



The Whisper Man By Alex North
I picked this for the prompt a book with a 4 star rating on Goodreads. The Whisper Man is a book I have seen mentioned a good few times in the Facebook book groups I'm in. I picked this one for that reason when I realised it would fit this prompt. If you don't know The Whisper Man is a dark thriller which is definitely my go to type of read. It was full of suspense and twists and turns and I just loved it.


Geekerella by Ashley Poston
This one probably doesn't fit the prompt fully but they it's your challenge.I've picked Geekerella for the prompt a book with a pun in the title. I think it's more of a play with words but I'm wanting to read what books I have on my tbr piles and not get any more. Geekerella is a fairytale but is also scifi as Cinderella goes to a Con in a fun twist on the traditional tail. It's not something I'd have normally read but I loved it and want to read more of this series.



Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton 
This is my current read which I'm making my way through. I'm not enjoying it as much as I had hoped i would. I picked this for the prompt a book with a series of more than 20 books. Being honest here I doubt I'm going to read any of the others from this series.



Rebecca by Dephane du Maurier 
Next week is banned books week and I'm going to read the classic Rebecca for this prompt. I'm pretty sure that I'll have read it by 1st October hence why I had to include it in my September reads round up.


WIN A PRINT OF YOUR CHOICE FROM SGM WALLART

Today I am collaborating with Stephen Morrison who runs SGM Wall Art www.sgmwallart.co.uk based in Falkirk, Scotland UK where he sells a range of different prints and posters.


SGM Wallart stock a wide variety of prints from typography style song lyrics, household quotes, sketchings and cute artwork perfect for childs room or nurseries.


They always have some fantastic offers going on, such as half price deals and buy one get one free. ree delivery to every part of the UK.

For the chance to win check out the rafflecopter below on the various simple ways you can enter.

Terms and conditions
-To enter you must be 16 and over 
- This competition will close on 30th September 2020 at 12.00am GMT 
- The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email, twitter or facebook
- If the winner doesn't reply within 30 days another winner will be drawn
- The prize will be sent by email directly from myself
-Please have a look at my privacy policy on how how I collect, store and use data and please do contact me if you have any questions. 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW | GEOMAGS CONFETTI KIT

Ad – review. I was sent the Geomags Confetti for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.

Blake has recently got really into construction toys such as Lego and stickle bricks. Geomags are the next step for us and lots of fun too.

The Geomag Confetti sets are a great way to introduce children into the world of Geomags. Geomag classics are an inventive system of simple construction made of 58 mm magnetic rods and steel spheres. A huge number of shapes, geometric figures and models of every kind can be constructed. Geomag stimulates creativity and logical reasoning. The variety of the shapes and their transformations make it possible to create different structures continuously.

We were sent the 83 piece Geomag Confetti set. You can get 8 different sets of various sizes starting at 32 up to 127 pieces. The 83 piece set we feel is a great size for creating awesome magnetic constructions. 

With vibrant colours of steel rods and non magnetic spheres means you can create various patterns, structures and shapes.
What I love about the set is that it's not only lots of fun but educational too. Geomags feature all the components of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). 

All that is needed with these sets is your imagination and you will be on your way to create unique masterpieces. There are no end to what you can make with them.

Geomags are definitely a hit with us all we love getting them out and playing together as a family. Blake's friend has also liked playing with them too when she is over to play. Blake sometimes finds the shapes hard to slot in as you have to be gentle but that's the whole part of learning. 

 

The Geomags Confetti sets can be purchased on Amazon with the 83 piece currently retailing at  £50.

LITTLE MOMENTS 2020: 38/52: BUBBLES

One of the simple childhood pleasures are bubbles. From the moment when Blake first saw bubbles he has loved them. I remember going to a particular baby and toddler class with him where there was always bubbles at the end. 



Blake has had a fair few different bubble machines too. Our first one was a whale one from mothercare and lasted us a good few years. His second one we had this year which didn't last long and now we have another whale one which I'm hoping will last us. Blake has also had various bubble wands and kits over the years too. Bubbles are also popular for party bags and I've yet to come across a child that doesn't like bubbles.

We've had a few days of warm weather this week and so we have taken to getting outside into the garden where we got out the bubble machine. Blake loves sitting watching the bubbles and also running and jumping through them. 


Book Tour| Summer of Madness by Alexander Raphael

 

Ad – review. I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.

Today I'm involved in the book tour for A Summer Of Madness a short read by Alexander Raphael. 



About the author:
Half-Welsh, half-Mexican and growing up in London, Alex Raphael was surrounded by different influences and interests. But it was always books that spoke to him most and had the greatest impact.

He started writing when at college, where his love of reading evolved into a desire to write, in particular focusing on poetry and short stories. Studying English and American Literature at university meant he took a break from writing, as well as giving him the chance to see more of Mexico on his travels. He concentrated on his journalistic career while working on different writing projects, but his favourite genre of literature has always been short stories as they are what first inspired him to write.

That’s why his first book was The Summer of Madness, a romantic short story that tells of a guy who goes out to try to win his ex-girlfriend back. Will you be rooting for Kurt and his big public gesture or is it more complicated than that and you don’t want her to date him again? Either way you’ll get to know a memorable set of characters along for the ride.

His second book Illusions, Delusions reflects Raphael’s love of alternative short stories from the writers of his childhood and challenges the idea of the narrative. Will your favourite be the story in the form of a questionnaire, a poem or a set of jokes, among the seven very different styles?


Alex Raphael is currently working on his third collection of short stories, which will provide a wide blend of genres and an assortment of very original premises and distinctive character, with his trademark imagination, humour and memorable dialogue.
 

About the book:
In the summer of love, or rather of madness, a whole set of stories are emerging. But there is one that has got everyone talking. When Kurt Vannes decides to win back his ex-girlfriend with the help of a literary classic, he sets off a string of events that will build to a dramatic finale.


I enjoyed this sweet short story. It's an easy read so ideal for when you want to read something that doesn't take long to read or if you don't read that often. It sees the character Kurt try and win back his ex after realising that he took her for granted and so he reads her favourite book out in public. It shares how far somone could go for love. I like out it ended and do feel that it was the right ending too.


WIN| A £20 AMAZON E-VOUCHER

It's been awhile since I've run a giveaway in fact I can't remember the last one. So I've decided as a Thank you to my readers new and old ones who have continued to read my blog over the years. 

I've opted for Amazon with them selling near enough everything it gives the winner a chance to do what they like with it. It could be to treat the kids, put towards Christmas gifts or towards something you really need. The choices really are endless. 


For the chance to win check out the rafflecopter below on the various simple ways you can enter.

Terms and conditions
-To enter you must be 16 and over 
- This competition will close on 30th September 2020 at 12.00am GMT 
- The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email, twitter or facebook
- If the winner doesn't reply within 30 days another winner will be drawn
- The prize will be sent by email directly from myself
-Please have a look at my privacy policy on how how I collect, store and use data and please do contact me if you have any questions. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

LITTLE MOMENTS 2020: 37/52: BACK TO SCHOOL

This week was back to school for Blake. The past 7 weeks of the summer holidays have been incredibly hard for the 3 us. Blake has struggled with not being in school and we've been struggling with him lashing out.  Now he is back in school we are definitely glad for the routine.  

Blake is staying in reception year which we think is definitely the right decision for him. He was only at his current school for 2 weeks before lockdown. Although he was able to still go in it was on a reduced timetable and only 3 days a week. 


Unfortunately he was only in 3 days this week as when he came out of school on Wednesday we were told he had some spots which could be chicken pox. With a few more popping up we kept him off Thursday to keep an eye on him. No more spots appeared so we had a chat with our GP who doesn't think it is chicken pox after all. We kept him off Friday too but he seems fine so he will be back to school tomorrow.

AD| FW20/21 SKIWEAR TRENDS WITH PROTEST

*Collaborative post

Fall/Winter is fast approaching and visiting Ski resorts or indoor snow slopes are a fun way to enjoy the colder months. Today I get to share with you Dutch brand Protests FW20/21 Skiwear trends.  



The Fall/Winter collection for women is a true representation of what Protest does best. The collection is a three-way fusion of evolving fashion trends, incredible colour and mountain functionality.

The collection for men is a fusion of evolving trends with a focus on sustainability. Functional fabrics are represented in colours and prints that reflect looks that you see on the street, while Protest concentrate on doing this in the most earth-friendly way possible.



Womens Trends

For women there are 6 different trends you can get  -womens ski jackets, fleeces and ski trousers ready for the FW Season. You can choose to mix and match jackets and fleeces with different womens ski trousers and look stylish on the slopes.

The trends are: 

Let's talk neon
For making you stand out on the slopes. With bright and bold colourways. 

Rusty Runs
Inspired by classic plaid designs along with colours such as burt sienna, mustard and old fashioned pink.

Tech Fashion
Lines and colour form patterns and colour blocks. 

Bold chains
Fuse mountain attitude with street chique and you get the bold chains trend. 


Laidback leopard 
Walk on the wild side with a bit of leopard print. 

Rough Rider
A great way of bringing some street cred to the slopes.




 

Mens Trends
There are also 6 different trends for mens ski jackets, fleeces and ski trousers. Like with the womens trends you can mix and match if you wish. The mens fleeces aren't just cosy looking but in such a wide range of bright colours and designs.

Here are the mens trends:

Camo Flash
You definitely won't be hard to spot with this camouflage range.

Bright Lumber Jack
A great trend that brings street cred to the slopes.

Deep Purple
A trend that is sure to rise this season is purple. Purple is contrasted against orange, brown and black with this trend.


Colour shock
A shock of bright colours combined with optimum mounting functionality.

Wear More Pink
With great subtle tones pink definitely works well for men on the slopes.

Rouge Blanc Bleu
Clean crisp colours that will look a great against a snow white backdrop



Protest are kindly giving my followers 10% off there order. If you fancy purchasing from Protest to get 10% off pop in code joanna10. This coupon is valid until February 28, 2021. There are no further restrictions on the use of this coupon.

REVIEW GEOMAGS MECHANICS CHALLENGE GOAL SET

Ad – review. I was sent the Geomags Mechanics for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.

Construction toys are a popular and long lasting option for children of various ages. The great thing is that they are learning at the same time without realising it. We were recently sent the Geomags mechanics challenge goal set

Geomags are great for STEM learning, and are sets that usually have different shapes, plastic tubes and metal balls and you can build up different fun structures. The Mechancs sets are a bit more complex so older children (7+) are a bit more challenged.













Inside the box you will find 96 pieces, 15 metal balls and 81 building pieces. There are 3 level options for firing balls at. As it's a serious bit of kit children towards the younger age limit will definitely need help with it. It's definitely a fun piece of kit for children to enjoy together with an older sibling or adult as fun little project.


You can build various different structures with this kit. It's a bit like an interactive marble run with magnets. With the use of the magnets and gravity you can get from one end of the track you have built to the other. The bits can be a bit fiddly to put together and so it's definitely something to get out when you have a bit more space and time to concentrate. 




Overall it's a great piece of kit especially for children who love construction, STEM learning as well as using their imagination. 


LITTLE MOMENTS 2020: 36/52: Change is in the air

September through til after Christmas are my favourite months of the year. I love how it feels like change is in the air. There are of course downsides to the approaching autumn season. I'm not a fan of the nights drawing in and the rain but I love everything else about the season. I love the feeling of getting all cosy and drinking hot chocolate in the evenings and so much more. 

I've definitely noticed that it is starting to feel colder and have dug out my trusty boots. It's not cold enough to have the heating on or get out my jumpers and cardigans just yet but I'm sure it's not far off.


Blake is back to school tomorrow and back into reception class. It's a change that is needed for him after 7 weeks off. It's meant new uniform, new shoes and new coats etc. Everything is lablled and ready for him. All that we need to do is hope we all manage to get up and out the door in time.

SHOULD WE REPLACE OUR STAIRS/LANDING WITH SOLID WOOD FLOORING?

 *In collaboration with Flooring365

We live in a three storey house and the only places we have carpet are the stairs and upstairs landings. Recently I've been thinking about if it's a good idea to eventually replace the carpet and instead of going for a new carpet opt instead for wooden flooring.

As much as I don't mind the carpet, I do find that other flooring types are much easier to clean especially when you have a child. Carpet I find gets dirty quickly and can be unhygienic. Blake has managed to get playdough, kentic sand and even slime on the carpet which have been a pain to get out.


One of the ideas I've been thinking of is going for solid wood flooring. I like how solid wood flooring gives a clean and modern look to homes. This means if we change the colours of our walls and decor the floor will still fit well. Other reasons for opting for solid wood flooring are:

- It makes cleaning  up any spills etc easier, especially that dreaded slime Blake likes so much.

-  It's durable and hardwearing. Our stairs and landing are a high traffic area for us, especially as our bathroom is at the end of the hall. For this reason we need flooring that will cope with the footfall.

- Better for people with allergies. Stuart is asthmatic and dust can effect him. Wooden floors mean that dust and mites have less place to hide.
 
- Can raise the value of your home.

4 FAMILY FRIENDLY BATHROOM FLOORING OPTIONS

*In collaboration with Flooring365

When it comes to renovating a bathroom one of the important options is the type of flooring to go for. Whether you have a family or not it's got to be easy to maintain. Carpet for me in a bathroom is definitely a no go. Not only is it unhygienic but it also isn't easy to keep clean like  other flooring types.


So what are your flooring options that are suitable especially for a family bathroom? Well, below you will find 4 options.

Laminate 
Laminate flooring is a great option as it is low cost, durable and waterproof. You can also get a variety of styles and colours and my favourite is the type that looks like wood.

Vinyl
Vinyl is a waterproof and another inexpensive option. It's a great option for those of you on on a budget and don't want to opt for laminate.

Engineered Wood
Unlike traditional wooden flooring, engineered wood is waterproof. It also is low maintenance and looks stylish. The only downside is that it is a more costly option.

Ceramic tiles 
This is the flooring we have in our bathroom. They are of course waterproof and are easy to clean. A few downsides are they are cold so not the best for bare feet and we have found they can crack easily.



BOOK TOUR| For When I'm Gone By Rebecca Ley

 Ad – review. I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.

Today I'm involved in the book tour for  "For When I'm Gone" By Rebecca Ley. Rebecca Ley is a journalist who wrote a column for the Guardian, Doing it for Dad, about her father's dementia. She has previously worked at the Times, the Sun and the Daily Mail. For When I'm Gone is her debut novel.


About the book:
Because there's never enough time to say goodbye...

Sylvia knows that she's running out of time. Very soon, she will exist only in the memories of those who loved her most and the pieces of her life she's left behind.

So she begins to write her husband a handbook for when she's gone, somewhere to capture the small moments of ordinary, precious happiness in their married lives. From raising their wild, loving son, to what to give their gentle daughter on her eighteenth birthday - it's everything she should have told him before it was too late.

But Sylvia also has a secret, one that she's saved until the very last pages. And it's a moment in her past that could change everything...

 
What a heartbreaking and emotional read. For When I Am Gone tells the story of Silvia who is diagnosed with breast cancer. She knows she wont be alive for much longer and so writes a manual for her husband which involves a revealing of a secret she has kept from him. The book switches between "Then" which is before her diagnosis and whilst going through the difficulty of it all. The manual that Silvia wrote before she passed away and last of all "Now" which tells life after she has gone and her husband has read the manual. For when I am gone is beautifully written and a great debut from Rebecca Ley. 


WHY YOU SHOULD YOU OPT FOR PARQUET FLOORING

 *In collaboration with Flooring365

Are you thinking of getting new flooring in your home? One of the things I recommend doing first is looking up the different types of flooring as one thing I've learnt is there are many different options available. 


Parquet flooring is an option, which I'm going to share more about.  


First of all, what is Parquet flooring?

Parquet flooring consists of blocks or strips of wood that are laid geometrically. Parquet flooring is gaining popuarlity, especially with people sharing their beautifully laid geometric designs on social media.


There are quiet a few reasons that Parquet flooring is a great option which I'll be sharing below: 

Aesthetically pleasing
If you are wanting a design that stands out Parquet flooring is an aesthetically pleasing option. The shapes in Parquet Flooring are like triangles, squares, and rectangles. The geometric look is one of the reasons it's popular and can be a great focal point to your home. The most popular Parquet flooring pattern is Herringbone.

Affordable 
Parquet flooring is a lot more affordable these days. Of course the more intricate the design the more it will cost so less intricate designs are best if you are on more of a tight budget. 

Durable 
Parquet flooring is a durable option which means you are less likely to have to worry about repairs.

Easy to maintain 
Parquet flooring is low maintenance and just needs regular cleaning. You can use different cleaning methods such as vacuuming, using a mop or a proper detergent.


Last of all although you could lay Parquet flooring yourself it's reccomend to get it installed by a professional.