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.












Unfortunately for us we found the instructions complicated to follow and with Blake's additional needs felt that this set is unfortunately not suitable for him at the moment. We will be keeping it for when there is a time that it is more suitable.


With that said I still want to share about the set with you. Inside the box you will find 96 pieces, 15 metal balls and 81 building pieces. There are 3 level options for firing balls at. The instructions definitely could be made much clearer as they look confusing even to us adults. I think because there are so many pieces and the instructions are only images its made it overwhelming. 

Overall it does look a fun idea when you get your head around the instructions. I definitely think it's a great toy for older children and feel that Blake is too young to enjoy the benefit of it atm as he is only 5. I'd also bear in mind that if you have a child over 7 with additional needs they may find this a bit too much of a challenge as well.


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. 


Top Ways to Spruce up Any Garden



 Are you looking for some ways to revamp your garden and give it a new lease of life? In this short guide, we’ll lay out ways that you can achieve this!


Firstly, you may wish to have flower bed or potted plants added to your garden. In the case of the former, you could have three rows of flowers added with the tallest at the back. 



Among the most popular flowers in the UK are lilies, tulips, sunflowers, daffodils, sunflowers and orchids. 


If you’d like to have potted plants added, there are many spots throughout your garden where they would fit well such as along the walls, on the decking or on a patio. 


Whichever approach you take, any flowers/plants in your garden should complement the various colours that surround them.


Not only do flowers add a wonderful aesthetic to a garden, they help to hold the soil better together (for an in ground flower bed) and improve air quality!



Flowers/plants can of course also attract wildlife as is the case with water features. Some of the most common water features are garden ponds, water gardens, streams, drilled rocks, rills, water blades, fountains and reflecting pools. 


Each has their own advantage but ultimately water features in general can offer calming sounds and soothing sights while alike flowers can enhance air quality. Water features can also help with humidity levels.


Another way to encourage nature into a garden is with a birdfeeder. Some of the most commonly used birdfeeder types are platform, window, house, tube, nyjer, nut & nibble, seed, ground and suet feeders.


A great way to improve the look and utility of your garden is with decking. This can act as the perfect social focal point for your garden. However, laying a patio is a more straight forward alternative.


As for garden benches, the most common materials used are cast iron, timber, cast aluminium, rattan and stainless steel benches. Straight, backless and lutyens benches are some of the most used designs.


Other additions that you may want to add to a garden are a new shed, fencing or fresh turf. Whatever changes you choose to bring to your garden, keep an open mind, do a bit of research and plan it out well. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way to sprucing up your garden!