Thursday, 28 August 2014

5 ways to brighten up your home

When we bought our house we didn't actually realise how dark the rear actually was. It gets very little sunlight and the windows were tiny which made it feel cramped and dreary and only slightly lighter than a cave. For me, it was essential that we brightened the place up and let some light in.

There are many ways in which you can brighten up a dark room. I've listed a few ideas which I've used myself. 

1. Light and bright furniture and walls

When there is very little natural light in a room it's important to stay away from dark coloured fabrics and dark furniture. Pale, light colours will open up a compact room and give an illusion of space and brightness. Our dining room table and chairs are a very light beech colour and our walls are a pale silvery white shade, choosing shades so light has definitely made a difference. We even chose light accessories and pale curtains to enhance the effect even more.

2. Extra windows and French doors

One of the more obvious ways to brighten a room is to add more windows or some french doors. They will allow natural light to flood the room and french doors allow easy access to the outside of your home, giving a sense of space and allowing a natural flow from home to garden, perfect for BBQ's and outside entertaining. Value Doors stock a wide range of patio and french doors, a perfect start to get some ideas for brightening up your darkest rooms. 

When we moved in our dining room had a tiny window which we replaced quite quickly with double patio doors. It made a huge difference and made the back of the house seem so much bigger. 

3. Mirrors

A good sized mirror can give the illusion of a longer or wider room, particularly if the image it's bouncing back is of a plain wall or reflecting an open window or door. Opt for light frames or frameless mirrors. Reflective picture frames and accessories can also give a similar effect. 

4. Lights and lamps

If you have the space, increase the amount of lights you have. Spotlights and lamps can brighten up a room especially if you use LED light bulbs, they last longer than traditional bulbs and give a bright glow. If you're using lamps playing around with their location, try putting them close to large pieces of furniture or any darker corners. 

5. De-clutter!

Use it as an excuse to get rid of all your little bits of clutter or at least a reason to hide them away. The fewer things you have on display means less to clean, brighter spaces and personally I think it makes the atmosphere calmer and more relaxed. I feel quite anxious and irritable if I have too much clutter lying round.

*Pr Collaboration*

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Forteas 1940's tea room in Keighley

On our recent trip on the Keighley and Worth Valley railway we stopped off at Keighley itself. If I'm honest I wasn't massively impressed with the town of Keighley especially for things to do, but we did accidentally came across a fabulous 1940's inspired cafe called Forteas.

The cafe is plonked on the corner of a street in Keighley and is such a find! The attention to detail from the era is amazing and it's a shabby chic lovers dream. It's kitted out in decor from the 1940's with mismatched china and a array of doilies. I love it!

Hubby, Little man, two of our friends and I plonked our bums and were greeted by a very friendly member of staff.

After a quick peruse of the menu we opted for tea (or coffee) and scones which was very well priced at £3.50 each. I had coffee with my two scones and the coffee pot was huge. I drank three cups off coffee and there was still plenty left. 

Both food and drinks were tasty and well presented and served with a smile and a conversation. The staff were dressed in 1940's attire and couldn't have been more friendly if they tried. We also had the pleasure of chatting to some other customers who were elderly gentlemen, they told us all about visiting the cafe in 1940's costumes and how often they visit because they love it.

Even the toilet in Forteas is fun and completed decked out with pictures and newspaper clippings.

We absolutely loved Forteas and it was such a pleasure to visit. I wish we lived closer as I'd be there all the time. It's definitely worth a visit if you're passing. 

I apologise for the poor picture but they were all taken on my Iphone rather than DSLR. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

7 months old - baby update

Another 4 weeks have flown by. The little man is now 28 weeks old, and I feel sad. Not only is the time flying by and he's growing right before my eyes I've also go my date to go back to work at the end of my maternity leave. 1st January 2015, I hate you!


He's still a happy little chappy and very vocal. Basically he's never quiet. His new thing this month is making a noise like a little lamb. That combined with his hooting like an owl makes our living room like a farmyard! His mouth now makes shapes and some sounds that sound like attempts at words, though nothing that's clear enough to mean anything. He has little 'conversations' and 'chats' with his toys and absolutely loves being talked too. He manages to get all the little old ladies cooing over him where ever we go. 

He's such a noise little man, and distracted by everything around him. He wants to be in everything he shouldn't and loves 'people watching' - a bit like his Mammy really. 

In the last few days he's become a bit whingy which is so unlike him, I think the teeth are finally well and truly on their way and he's suffering. 


We've had a few snotty days but the cold never quite made it. We're still waiting to hear from the hospital for a referral to have his legs checked. 

Other than the imminent arrival of his teeth he's ok. 


He's now on three meals a day and eats like a gannet. The only thing he's had that he's completely refused is salmon. He hated the stuff. 

He loves his porridge and toast on a morning and something from from the Annabel Karmel cook book for lunch and then usually a combination of bits and pieces for tea. He's a big fan of cucumber and cheese. 

On a Sunday evening hubby and I usually have a mass baby cook off and create some fab dishes from the Annabel Karmel book. I'd really recommend it, it gave me confidence to combine ingredients I wouldn't usually put together.


I think I jinxed myself last month. The little mans sleeping in the last week has been horrendous. He's awake hourly throughout the night and really restless. He was doing so well in his big boys cot but his sleeping this week has been worse than it was when he was a newborn. It's extremely tiring and a bit of a shock to the system for me and hubby as we were used to him sleeping through and settling easily. I'm hoping that teething is to blame and he's settle back into his normal ways, otherwise I think I might die of exhaustion. 

What we've done this month

We had our little trip to Sheffield and Bronte country. We've had some great local family days, despite the weather being a bit rubbish. I think we've seen the last of the garden toys until next summer now.

At the end of the week we're off for another little UK break. This time we're off to The Lake District for a week. We weren't too keen on taking the little man abroad when he was still so young so we decided just to do UK breaks this year. We haven't done too badly as this will be our third little trip. Fingers crossed for weather not best suited too ducks!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire

On our recent trip into Bronte country we paid a visit to Keighley and Worth Valley railway, a 5 mile long railway that runs both stream and diesel trains. The line was originally used used to run between the villages and transport goods from the mills. 

We paid £15 each for a rover ticket which allows unlimited travel on the train and open top bus for a whole day. The rover ticket also allows free entry into two museums at one of the stations. Children under the age of five travel for free. 

The line was bought from British Rail by a preservation society after it was closed in 1968.

The railway runs between Oxenhope and Keighley and is completely run by volunteers. 

The steam train we travelled on stops are 6 train stations (though one of them is by request only). 

We boarded the train at Haworth having missed the first train of the day from Oxenhope where we were staying. 

You can park in the car park adjoined to Haworth station for a reasonable £3 for the full day. 

The railway station is that of a traditional 1950's station with quaint little ticket office and a gift shop. We had a wander round Haworth on our return journey and found a 

Haworth Central Park, a pretty green park with a relaxing atmosphere. We spent an hour or so sat on the grass enjoying the sun. 

Our first stop of the day was at Keighley. To be honest I was a little disappointed. We struggled to find much to do and the shops around the train station were all a little tired and strange ... think of a big row of Cash Converters! 

We ended up finding salvation in a fantastic 1940's tea room called Forteas and spent time in there until the train out was due. 

Our second stop off the train was at Ingrow (West) where you can access two small museums with your rover ticket from the train. One of the museums is the Vintage Carriages 
Trust Museum of Rail Travel which was small but really interesting. You can look round the old train carriages which are set out as they would have been at the time they were used. The volunteers are extremely knowledgeable about the railway and the trains and keen to give you more information.  

The train can also stop at a station called Damems if you requested it to staff on the train. We didn't stop there but it's the smallest standard-gauge railway station in Britain and also has a waiting room, booking office, signal box and level crossing.

Another of the stops is Oakworth which is famous for being used in the 1970's version of the Railway Children - I love that film! The station was still decorated with Tour De France things after it passed through the area just before our visit. 

With your rover train tickets you also get unlimited day access to the open top tour bus which travels over the moors with a guide giving commentary. The views were great although the bus was extremely bumpy. 

We were on and off the train most of the day and had a great time. The only negative aspect is the timetable. It's a bit of a nightmare because it isn't possible to make a stop at each location and still catch the last train back, though I do believe it changes during different times of the year. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Petshopbowl - Bank Holiday Offers save up to 60% off your purchase

I love PetShopBowl, it's a quick and simple way of ordering all of your pet related needs right to your door. The delivery is quick and their customer service is second too none.  

Over the Bank Holiday weekend Petshopbowl are offering their customers some fabulous bargains on their already reasonable prices. 

The offers include buy 1 get 2 free on Purina Pro Plan Duo Delice dog food.

A massive 60% off Pedigree Dentastix Fresh products.

A saving of up to 30% on the Applaws Natural range for both cats and dogs. Our little furry friend, Archie absolutely loves Applaws. 

All orders over £19.99 include free delivery. What more could you ask for? These offers will end on the 25th of August so to take advantage you need to get in quick. 

Check out the rest of their Bank Holiday offers here

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Peeling off the years with Sk:n

I turn 30 in October and it's utterly terrifying. 

I've noticed that my skin has started to look drier and duller in colour. Fine lines are starting spring up around my eyes when I smile and I find my make up sinks into the creases on my face. As you get older the rate of production of new skin cells slows down and your skin starts to loose elasticity as the elastin and Collagen in your skin starts to weaken, with it comes those dreadful wrinkles. 

There are many ways to help prevent ageing to your skin. Over the last few years I've tried to follow a more rigorous skin care regime in an attempt to prevent my skin prematurely ageing. I've started making a conscious effort to cleanse and moisturise both morning and night and when finances allow I have the occasional facial and other none evasive skin treatments.

Before my own wedding last year I was terrified that my skin would look terrible on my wedding photos so looked at various treatments and products to try and reduce the risk of any spotty outbrakes. The thing that kept popping up was a skin peel, which is none evasive skin treatment, which is none evasive skin treatment that can help get rid of your dead skin cells whilst rejuvenating your skin and rolling back the years. The treatment is pain free and can help to revitalise the skin, whilst reducing the effects of ageing and the damage caused by over exposure to the sun. 

After much deliberation I booked myself a course of three skin peels and after only one treatment my skin looked brighter and I could see a noticeable difference to my enlarged pores. Having a course of treatments was one of the best things I did during the run up to my wedding. I felt more confident in my own skin and much happier to pose in my wedding photos. My skin was clear and glowing and it was one thing less to worry about. 

Skin peels can also help to improve acne and scars which is perfect for those who are involved in the Clear Skin Challenge - a group of ten people who are suffering from moderate to severe acne on various parts of their body and putting themselves into the hands of SK:N who is working with them on a full treatment package to change their skin .... and their lives. 

You can read more about it and keep up to date with their journeys on the SK:N facebook page

*Sponsored Post*

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Florentine, Sheffield

We recently stayed at The Florentine on Tapton Park Road in Sheffield. It's been quite recently renovated and stands rather grandly on the side of the road in Fulwood, a leafy and upmarket park of Sheffield. 

The hotel as a 20's feel to it, with gorgeous rooms, decorated with calming, muted colours and serving home cooked meals. 

We stayed in the Barrosa room which is a generous sized family room. There are 11 rooms in the hotel all which are named after different varieties of cow. 

I was very pleasantly surprised by how elegant and well decorated the room was. The colours were all soft pastel greens, blues and creams with very shabby chic-esque accessories and furniture. Each room has a flat screen tv and a hair dryer too. 

The room felt like a home away from home. The sofa and chair made it feel much more comfortable and I loved the solid metal coffee table. 

There were even two cosy white towelling robes for our use during our stay at the hotel and each room has free WIFI for guest use. 

The bed was absolutely massive! The picture above still doesn't really to it justice. There was so much space. Staff also brought a travel cot up for the little man without any issue and placed it at the foot of the bed. 

The addition of a thoughtful little welcome basket was a nice touch, especially the tasty pieces of tart made by the chef. It was great to be able to make a a cup of 'proper' coffee in our room when we arrived, particularly after the horrendous journey down the roadwork laden A1!

The whole room was laid out nicely, with plenty of space for hanging clothes, seating away for the bed and and a large full length mirror near the door. 

The bathroom was large with good sized shower, plenty of thick fluffy towels and I loved The White Company toiletries left for us to use. 

We dined in the restaurant during our stay. The hotel seem to plug both their pizzas and steaks on the menu and website so the logical choice was to try one of them.

Our food was truely delicious. I went for the ham hock as a starter followed by a cooked to perfect fillet steak. The prices weren't too bad considering how tasty the food was. 

The food was fabulous and the service was friendly and polite. There was a good selection of drinks, including cocktails and cask ales and the little man was able to sit with his in a high chair without any problems. 

The following morning we were offered a continental breakfast in a large bright, airey room, sadly the breakfast was the only let down of the stay. There was a imited choice which wasn't really a problem but there was no toast and the cheese that was out was quite dry and certainly didn't look fresh. You an order other breakfast items at an additional cost which if I stayed again I would probably do.

Overall, our stay was very pleasant, the rooms were attractive and comfortable, staff were helpful and friendly and the evening meal was absolutely delicious.

Check in at the hotel is between 2pm - 10pm and is done without issue at the reception area at the end of the bar and you can check out from 7am - 11am so you've got plenty of time to get sorted on a morning without having to leave at the crack of dawn. 

The rooms start at £80 upwards for a night and include a continental breakfast, which was us, was the only disappointing part of our stay.

One thing worth pointing out though, is that there is no lift. The hotel is not suitable for those who are disabled or guests with mobility problems as the rooms are all up at least one flight of stairs to access them.