Easter Gifts

Easter Gifts


On the look out for alternatives to chocolate this Easter? Look no further than my no chocolate round up with items to suit all budgets, and it isn’t for kids!

Easter serving platter
£6.97 – kohls.com

Williams Sonoma mini spatula
£11 – williams-sonoma.com

Easter wreath
£17 – kohls.com

Sur La Table home decor
£4.85 – surlatable.com

£10 – amazon.com

Yellow gold pendant
£1,045 – 1stdibs.com

Weekend Box: Do we have time?

According to a third of UK parents they have just one hour available each day to spend with their child.

A survey commissioned by children’s activity provider Weekend Box Club, revealed that 90% of parents long to spend more time with their children. Modern living and pressures dictate that finding quality time to spend together is proving difficult.

They asked their subscribers to complete the questionnaire to get a picture of how parents juggle the balance of quality time with their family and modern day living.

The survey of more than 1,200 parents revealed that:

  • 98% of parents enjoy quality time with their children
  • 98% of parents see the benefits of spending time together
  • 98% of parents say enjoying activities together brings them closer
  • 95% of children love trying new things with their parents
  • 65% of parents struggle to come up with ideas of things to do

    Fun is the top thing UK parents look for in activities and every day, parents are faced with the task of finding fun, stimulating and educational activities for their little ones after school and at the weekend.

    Newcastle-based Weekend Box Club creates and sends out activity packs to subscribers each month, filled with two or four activities to enjoy together.

    Make, bake, create and explore are all covered by the boxes, which aim to ensure time spent by parents with children aged 3-8 is quality. The boxes can be used at home, away, in the car or with friends.



We are currently bloggers for Weekend Box after using them on and off for quite a while, I like to think of myself of being very crafty and home educating means that over time you start to see the educational value in all things but my girls love them and really enjoy waiting for the next one to drop through the letter box.

The boxes come complete with activities and easy ‘how to’ sheets, for the parents and children to follow together. So easy to follow in fact the girls will often just make something from the box without even telling me!

They are also created with education in mind, with each activity supporting early years learning and development. This pleases me as i can tie it in to other work we are doing.

You can subscribe for regular boxes (which fit through the letter box) or buy gift boxes to be posted to a little one, addressed to them.

Child psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, seen recently on Channel 4’s ‘Secret Lives of Four Year Olds’, said: “Weekend Boxes are so much more than an activity pack. They are a genuinely great way to spend time with your children and support their development.”

The activity boxes aim to provide easy resources for the 65% of parents who struggle to find original things to do.

And for the 71% of parents who would pay to have resources sent to their door, the Weekend Box Club solves the problem of what to do with their children when they have time available.

Most parents said they had 10-20 hours available for spending quality time with their children each week, but most of these wished they had more time.

More than half said they often ran out of time to actually enjoy an activity after having to plan it.
And 89% said if they had access to resources, they would spend more quality time with their children.

Andy Stephenson who founded the company in 2013, said: “The survey has shown that parents really do want to spend time with their children but just need a helping hand in finding things to do.

“They want something to hand, something ready and something fun, low cost and stimulating which promotes their child’s development – all of which Weekend Box Club answers for them.

“Children need time and attention and the benefits to both parents and their children when they can spend time together is priceless.”


So what do you think? Will you be trying a weekend box? At just £4.95 for a the mini box and £7.50 for the bumper box and now you can try your 1st Weekend Box for free – use the promo code LIZ145 when signing up at https://www.weekendboxclub.com what are you waiting for?



Calling all film buffs, writers and movie lovers!

A brand new competition is searching for the UK’s most inventive and creative film fans to take on Hollywood and come up with an alternate ending to a movie classic for a chance to win £2,000.

If you ever thought you could write a better ending to Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman or Ghost, then this competition – sponsored by cartridgesave.co.uk – is for you. Whether it’s getting ET home, Bogart and Bergman at the airport, that twist in Sixth Sense, it is the ending that can truly make a movie and this is your chance to give it a rewrite. All The Alties needs is for you put pen to paper and submit 750 words, either as prose or scripted dialogue. Visit www.cartridgesave.co.uk/thealties for full details.

There are five categories to enter: best comedy or rom-com; best action or adventure; best fantasy; sci-fi or horror; best family or animation; and best drama or thriller.

Entries will be judged by jury panel of three acclaimed industry experts: Manchester Metropolitan University’s senior Lecturer of Film Studies Andy Moor, Film & Theatre Critic Kevin Bourke and script writer Martin Paul Roche.


They will award the winning entry with the £2,000 prize fund to be invested as the winner desires – be it film equipment, an adventure to fire your creative juices or a pilgrimage to the heart of film, Hollywood, it’s completely up to you. The competition just wants to reward your fun and creativity handsomely. Two runners-up will receive £250 and The Alties will also be awarding two further entries from each category a box set to the value of £30.

Entrants can get hints and tips from the judges, plus full details of how to enter, at www.cartridgesave.co.uk/thealties.

Judge Kevin Bourke believes everyone has got an alternate ending tucked away waiting to be unleashed. He says: “Every film has twists and turns right up to the end, that’s why we love them so much. Imagining a different twist than the one you see on screen is something everyone has done in the cinema.

“It’s best to start with a film you really love and characters you know inside out – that will make it easier to imagine how else their story might have played out.

“After that, it really is limitless, these people are under your control and you can come up with a finale more explosive than anything Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese or Orson Welles could imagine!”

Ian Cowley, managing director of cartridgesave.co.uk, comments: “We are massive movie fans and love the idea of challenging writers to imagine ‘what if…?’ with their favourite films from over the years.

“It’s the ultimate director’s cut – to re-do a classic movie the way they’ve always wanted to see it.”

Closing date for entries is 4th September 2015.

Go ahead, make our day! www.cartridgesave.co.uk/thealties

Competition time with the Weekend Box #scribble4stardom

Kids, it’s competition time! It’s your chance to get your drawing on the front of an upcoming Weekend Box and win an amazing creative, drawing book bundle worth £49.95 courtesy of b small publishing.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to draw your interpretation of your ‘Perfect Weekend’. Where would you be? Who would you be with? What would you be doing?

Listen up parents, here’s the small print. Send a scanned copy/picture (A4) of the drawing to jack@weekendboxclub.com with your name, your child’s name and age. Entry is open to both club members and non club members. Entry closes on the 22nd of July, where a shortlist will be announced on Facebook and a winner will be voted for by you, the Weekend Box Club! Best of luck!

More info at https://www.facebook.com/weekendboxclub

Do you love your bedroom?

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Bedrooms mean different things for different people and a lot of that depends on age. In my teenage years, my bedroom was my haven, it was covered in posters and caged my love of music and binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer! It was rarely shared with friends and was my own kind of organised chaos.

Being an artist at heart makes the bedroom a very unique place to put your stamp, now with three children, a husband and a wayward cat to share it with makes it hard for me to blend practicality with the boho charm i long to lounge in whiling away the hours in a good book.

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It’s always a challenge blending simplicity with vibrant colour as well as making sure our own little paradise is comfy, cosy and a joy to be in.

In keeping with my budget makeover challenge our bedroom hasn’t gone unchanged. With a mix match of furniture, some vintage some modern in a wide range of hand painted colours, a larger than life tv and a boho inspired patchwork wallpaper wall its still my own kind of organised chaos.

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It’s hard to pin point just one thing I love the most about this room, but it isn’t the window size, its cavonous and a nightmare to dress, it isn’t the plush bedstead or the bird print wardrobe but the people I share it with, the small feet that climb in on a Sunday morning, the cat that lays content upon my forehead and the batman duvet stealing husband which I believe to be a bed hog!

For all the things that make your bedroom, For all the things that make your bedroom, look no further than Parachute, a bedding company. They offer the finest quality bedroom and decor products at an affordable price!

Dettol Baby Blanket Donation

DBBD logo

Celebrity mum of two, Rachel Stevens, is calling out to parents to donate a blanket to the Dettol Baby Blanket Donation charity campaign to help families in need. For full details on how to donate please visit www.dettol.co.uk/donate.

You can see more about the campaign over on youtube, watch the video now and get involved http://youtu.be/OFSOQin0G0Q

High Res Dettol Blanket


Maxwell Scott Bags

Now you know how I am about British companies, I strongly believe we need to get firmly behind anyone trying to create a small business in this economy AND even more so when it’s in your own country and when they produce something as beautiful as Maxwell Scott do it’s a no brainer in my eyes!


Luxury leather goods company Maxwell Scott Bags has recently re-launched its website after an exciting rebrand. An international business based in York, North Yorkshire, Maxwell Scott Bags fuses British design with Italian craftsmanship to create luxury leather products ranging from briefcases and luggage to handbags and accessories.

Founded in 2002 by William Forshaw, Maxwell Scott Bags began life supplying briefcases to corporate clients in London. After noticing that many of his colleagues brought plastic bags to work instead of business cases, William saw a gap in the market for high quality, professional briefcases in the workplace.

After a family trip to Italy sparked an interest in the traditional craftsmanship of Italian leather, William began looking for the highest quality tannery to begin producing the leather for his bags. A highly esteemed factory in Tuscany was chosen, and the business was able to take flight.


William Forshaw, Founder of Maxwell Scott Bags said, “Back in 2002 I had a tiny vision and a passion for leather, and the business hasn’t stopped growing since! With well over a decade of professional design and craftsmanship experience under our belts, I felt a rebrand was necessary to appeal to a new generation of leather lovers.

“Since 2002, Maxwell Scott Bags has branched out and we now sell our products internationally. Although still a small business with a small staff base, the company is expanding all the time and eventually aims to be the most-loved luxury British bag maker in the world.”


The British company stands out from the crowd by using only the finest, premium Italian leather which adds to the longevity of the product. The leather produced in the tannery comes from premium quality full grain hides that are tanned using completely natural processes, reducing the impact on the environment and giving the leather unique qualities. Marks and scratches can be buffed out and the leather develops a beautiful patina over time, meaning that products from Maxwell Scott Bags only improve with age.

After spending the past year rebranding, the company is now ready to show off its brand new image. With a sleek new website, a newly launched informative blog and a range of upcoming products in the pipeline, it’s an exciting time for the British company.


To find out more about the Maxwell Scott Bags story or to browse the extensive luxury collection, visit the new website: www.maxwellscottbags.com

New Year, home makeover

It’s a spanking new year and this year I made a vow to not make any resolutions or “changes” to the way we live. I did however make myself a promise, one to travel more this year and secondly to finally get this house into the home I have always wanted.

I’ve mentioned before how it isn’t in the best place, it isn’t the biggest but it is detached and is modern enough to have nice square rooms with no funny business so pretty much anything goes. We get flooded with light all year long but I have always decorated with what society has expected from a family. Instead I made a vow to decorate just the way I wanted.

In fairness this has been a challenge, fun but hard work finding the furniture from charity shops that is always hit and miss and finding wallpaper or paint that matches my vision. I began boldly with making over the downstairs loo. It is a tricky space as it has pipe work boxed in, it has a tiny sinking the smallest window but i wanted to add a nerdy look but with an expensive feel but with things we already had, I forgot to mention my budget for the whole house is practically zero!

We had some old star trek annuals that I had bought the husband a few christmases previous that had barely seen the light of day and thought these would make a great feature wall…



I have to say I wasn’t wrong! I love the look, it was a dream to put up, simply with wallpaper paste and it doesn’t look overpowering, it also makes great reading!

I had planned to leave it at that, just a feature wall and the rest staying white but I found a new love for deep strong colours whilst checking out pinterest so I made a little adjustment…



We had the plum left over from the tv wall in the lounge, the towel rack was an old one that used to be behind the front door for coats, the vintage mirror is about 4 years old and was bought on eBay for £3 and the cute rug was a few quid at tesco a few months back and i couldn’t find the perfect home for it.

I LOVE the space now! It hasn’t become a pram dumping ground again, it doesn’t feel cold and unloved anymore and even though the window is small it just bounces light around its almost magical!

It’s the perfect start to my end goal. What do you think? Would you be so bold in a small space?

The Greedy book

All the major retailers now have a look book or wish list that you can add too and at Christmas they are a great way to spread the news to your friends and family what you would love at the festive period.

The Greedy Book is the new kid on the block but don’t let that fool you! With its nifty button to add to your search bar when something just right catches your eye you can add it directly to your own  Greedy Book ready for all to see.

Crammed full of inspiration, The Greedy Book is a beautifully presented site over flowing with pretty items ready to get your mitts on. Create your own Greedy Book right here alternatively check out the beginnings of my very own Greedy Book right here .


Described as the home of the wish list, they’re an amazing discovery platform that provides you with your very own corner of the internet to collate your ultimate wish list, an eclectic mixture of your favourite things. The great thing about this as opposed to Pinterest is that it’s intended for things that you actually want rather than just simply think are pretty! There’s also a whole host of inspiration there if you’re stuck for ideas.
We know what it’s like to have to pull that polite “I love it smile” when inside you know the gift will never be used. The Greedy Book allows you and your loved ones to collate the things you love all year round so that when it comes to the time to buy a gift, everyone ends up with personal, thoughtful gifts and no disappointed smiles.
The Greedy Book concept was developed by sisters Millie and Charlie, who were inspired by their sister-in-law who kept an actual ‘Greedy Book’, to note down each of her family members dream gifts and favourite trends to make it easier when it came to buying them presents. The ladies wanted to take The Greedy Book concept and expand it online, along with other exciting services, and useful tools, so that no family or group of friends ever has to struggle again when it comes to buying gifts for each other.

Id love to hear about all the pretty things that you would choose!

Are you dreaming of a Write Christmas

A top children’s author is launching a competition encouraging children to pen a new festive classic for inclusion in a Winter inspired book.

Sam Hay, author of the Undead Pets series of books, has partnered with cartridgesave.co.uk to stage the competition which is open to children aged between 4 and 11 and invites children to write a short story (less than 200 words) or poem inspired by winter or Christmas.

The very best 50 entries from across the region will be published in a special free to download e-book, released in early December 2014. In addition, the winning schools will receive £500 to spend on books or writing equipment and the winning child in each category will receive a stocking packed with festive treats worth £50.

Stories or poems will be judged by top children’s author Sam Hay and a representative from Cartridgesave.co.uk.

Children, parents and teachers can get hints and tips from Sam Hay, plus full details of how to enter, at http://www.cartridgesave.co.uk/writechristmas. Schools will also be receiving entry packs in the coming days

Sam Hay believes the competition is a great step towards unlocking children’s creativity. She says: “Writing books for children has given me the opportunity to meet and talk to many young people and I’m always amazed and impressed by the stories they come up with.

“The season is a magical time and has so much potential for storytelling. I can’t wait to read the entries.

“I’m passionate about encouraging children to read and write more. And harnessing the power of the imagination is a brilliant way of enhancing a child’s development, as well as being lots of fun.”

Ian Cowley, managing director of cartridgesave.co.uk, comments: “We like to encourage creativity across all age groups and are right behind the idea of children using their imaginations to come up with magical Christmas stories.

“Having the best entries collated into a beautifully designed e-book also gives parents and children a lasting memory too.”

Useful information:

● The competition has three categories: 4 – 6, 7 – 9 and 10-11

● Each category will have one overall winner. The winning school will receive £500 to spend on books or writing materials, a school visit from the author and the winning child will receive a goodybag worth £50.

● The best 50 entries from across the categories will be selected to appear in the ebook.

● Poems and short stories (less than 500 words) must be entered by a caregiver, parent or teacher who can give permission for the story, name and age of the child to be included in the book.

● The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Closing date for entries is 7 November 2014.