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The weekend that Royal Wedding Fever gripped us all

I would say very few people did not know the Royal Wedding was on last weekend.  I could not wait to see the style, for me that is the part I enjoy most about wedding whether its somebody famous or not.  One of my close friends is getting married next July and we rounded the girls and decamped to mine to get some inspiration for the bridesmaids dresses. My own wedding anniversary is soon and I can vividly recall the stress over picking the dresses. It can be such a tough decision to get a style that suits everybody’s shape, colouring and personal preferences.

I was honoured to be asked to be a bridesmaid for my friend, she is pretty chilled out and is letting us have a little free reign into what we want as long as we all agree (sounds easy!!! if only!).

Back to the Royal Wedding, how incredible did Megan look?. Simple, elegant, classic just wow. I loved every thing about the look, her makeup natural and understated.  And her mum lets not forget the poise and elegance of her mother who was so far from home in the midst of the most surreal situation who just exuded class. She will forever be for me the stand out of this wedding (well actually David Beckham could be a contender for that role too :-)).

So are we only closer to a decision?! Kind of……we have scoured the internet as like anything budget is a key factor.  What we did come across is a great deal site that pulls together latest deals and upcoming sales from wide rage of high street brands such as New Look, Zara, Boohoo and Next.  Boohoo have some fab summer dresses. The wedding is in Spain so something summery and floating would actually be just perfect.  I have written about this before, I am the self confessed Queen of the Deal!! We travel a lot and can do so thanks to my pretty epic deal hunting skills!!

I most certainly will be adding this site to my favourites as its not just Dresses they cover everything from books to Home and Garden and pretty much everything in between. Having all deals in one place is very (very) handy.  And its not just deals, is competitions, its feebies and offers too. Love it!

So who was your best dressed guest? Did you love or loath Megans dress? Do tell me in the comments.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

Features

How to dress your kids for all summer occasions

kid clothes

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching — and as a parent, you have a responsibility to make sure that your kid is the most stylish on the block. With your diary full of summer events and escapades, it’s your duty to plan outfits in advance so that your little one can rock up to any event feeling like a million dollars.   However, dressing your little boys and girls for different activities throughout the summer can be challenging. Whether you’re on the guestlist to a fancy wedding or have planned a little trip abroad — we’ve teamed up with River Island to bring you this life-saving style guide for all occasions.

Summer Weddings

Styling your little ones for a wedding was once quite restrictive, but not anymore. Forget finding the perfect suit — there are plenty more child-friendly options. You know your child better than anyone else and it’s guaranteed that they’ll be on the dancefloor all night long — so make sure they’re comfortable!

Boys

Summer weddings make for the perfect opportunity to experiment with your little man and create a versatile outfit for both the day and evening event. Make a bold statement with a white shirt that includes bright and colourful prints — such as tropical leaves. Then, match with a sage green blazer jacket that will complete the outfit for the daytime ceremony but can later be removed for the afterparty when your child gets too hot from running around.

Pick a light pair of chino-styled bottoms and go with a beige or grey colour — however, we recommend staying away from white to avoid any of those notorious spill stains that might appear throughout the night. The options are endless when it comes to your child’s footwear, too. Go for loafers that match the blazer or white laced-up trainers to create that pristine look.

Girls

Make your little girl stand out from the crowd with a bright print, double ruffled Bardot dress that is suitable for both the daytime ceremony and evening event — removing the need to conduct a quick outfit change on the big day. Bardot dresses will allow your child to feel like a true princess, with the freedom to run around playfully and not feel restricted in the slightest! Pair this with chunky sandals or backless plimsolls to highlight that summer-fun vibe!

Alternatively, you could mix and match products to create that one-off look for your daughter and make her feel on top of the world. Tiered frill cami tops are essential for any wedding in the summer — and we recommend choosing a pretty pastel shade to complement a spring-summer vibe. Partner with light blue, wide leg jeans to help show off those buckle, block-heel sandals. Then, add the finishing touches of the outfit by letting your little one model a white straw sunhat with a yellow ribbon as well as yellow tinted oval sunglasses to give off that retro style.

Beaches Abroad

beach in Portugal

Pic Credit: Mamma Fairy Blog Location: Alvor Portugal..

Mastering beachwear for your child can often seem like an impossibility as a parent — you want to be prepared for all scenarios such as your little one climbing the rocks, swimming in the ocean or being buried deep in the sand.

Boys

The number one rule to dressing your little one when abroad is to stay away from black clothing, as you don’t want your child to feel too hot. Let your little boy channel his inner sailor by ordering a light blue striped shirt which should be left unbuttoned to create that effortlessly stylish effect — also allowing him to take it off easily when he wants to venture into shallow water.

Match the shirt with a pair of printed trunks that allows him to show off his child-style status. For footwear, you have two options — pair with traditional boat shoes or nostalgic jelly cage sandals. Now it’s time for accessories and there are a few key things that you should have in mind: shades and sunhats!

Girls

It’s important that your little girl feels comfortable on the beach. So, before you buy, ask her what type of swimwear she would like — a tankini, bikini or a swimsuit? Whatever she chooses, we have the lowdown of the type she needs to feel like a fashion star in the making. All three swimwear types should be bright in colour and could even include a graphic such as “LOVE” or “QUEEN” to help boost self-confidence on the beach.   Trapeze girls’ dresses are must-haves when you go to the beach, as it allows your little one to cover up when lounging on the sand and keeps the sea wind at a minimum — which is vital after coming out of the cold water on to hot land. Pair with light, double-buckled sandals or jelly wedges then add cat-eye shades and an elegant beach hat.

Family excursions

It’s always difficult to decide how to dress your children for family get-togethers — do you stick with formal or turn up with informal attire? We’ve come up with the perfect balance for both your little boy and little girl, so that you don’t have to decide!

Boys

Let your boy rock the cool-dude look with a faux-suede biker jacket that will add an element of sophistication to your family gathering. Keep it unzipped so that you can show off a dark printed short-sleeved shirt that sits underneath — be adventurous with the design, whether this is flocking birds or waves of the ocean.  Go with light-blue tapered jeans to tuck the shirt into and a buckled belt to match the jacket to create that suave, mini gentleman look. Don’t forget that black leather plimsolls are in for the season — and it’s your boy’s chance to add a touch of informality to a formal escapade.

Girls

Your little girl must have a faux-suede waterfall jacket in her wardrobe, and pairing it with a light lace top makes for both a wonderful yet powerful combination that will surely get family members talking. Whatever colour her jacket is, you must go for a light tone underneath to enhance the elegance of the outfit.   When it comes to bottoms, go for light, tie-waist tapered trousers that allow room for comfort during all occasions. However, that’s not all! Your little girl needs a chain trim captain’s hat, a chain bucket backpack and some cork sole sliders to match!

How will you be dressing your child this summer?

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Our Easter holiday weekend Netflix picks

With the weather not looking the best for the long weekend ahead and the kids off school, we have you covered with some great new Netflix picks for the long weekend ahead.

Jaws  (Available from 1 April)

I still remember watching this a kid! Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, this really was the movie of our time. The village of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again. Featuring an unforgettable score that evokes pure terror, Jaws remains one of the most influential and gripping adventures in motion picture history.

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Features

Engagement Rings 101: Finding Out Her Ring Size

Keeping the wedding proposal a secret has its particular difficulties and attempting to find out her ring size without uncovering yourself can be very tricky. Regardless of which method you pick, you need to be sure you’re going to a trusted jeweller to purchase the engagement ring. 


Take in these tips to get your loved one’s ring size without her finding out. 

Trace her ring on paper.

Trace one of the rings she wears regularly on a sheet of paper. Do this a few times more to ensure that the ring is traced exactly as it is. The main reason for this is that you need to get their size correct so that you can get a ring that is not too loose or too tight on her finger. It would be bad if you get the wrong size and she ends up not being able to wear it right after you propose. Check the selection of engagement rings at https://www.serendipitydiamonds.com/. You may even find other ring styles that you may like.

Borrow one of her rings
Another strategy is to borrow one of her rings for some time. Ensure that you get one of the rings that she wears on her ring finger. Once you have the ring, visit a jeweller who can find out the correct ring size. You should be cautious with this approach as you may end up ruining the surprise when she finds out that one of her rings is missing.

Ask the assistance of her close friends
Contrary to what other people think, it’s likely less noticeable when one of your loved one’s close friends ask about her ring size. Some of them may even know the answer already. If you want to be extra cautious, you can pick a friend that has an engagement or wedding band. She can let your loved one try it on or they can go to various jewellers or retail stores and see if there are interesting one-off designs they may like. They can even check what sort of setting, stone, and precious metal your partner likes.

Try out your ninja abilities in the event she’s sleeping
This one is another risky move. The first thing you need to do is to prepare a string for when she is sleeping soundly, ideally with hands-free. Precisely measure her ring finger using the string, ensuring it isn’t so tight or loose. Mark the string with a pen and take it to a jeweller. If they are an exceptional sleeper, you may even try a certain type of ring sizer to get a more accurate measurement.

Look at her fingers in comparison to yours. 
This strategy is somewhat more risky. However, if you are daring, just go ahead and give it a shot! While holding her hand, see if her ring finger is comparable in size to one of your fingers. For instance, her ring finger may be as large as yours. This technique isn’t incredibly precise. However, the more ideas you have on her ring size, the nearer you can get!

If you’re planning to purchase an engagement ring for your loved one, take note of the tips we’ve shared to ensure that you get the right size for her ring. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

What is the ideal time to visit Sydney Harbour?

The science behind why Australia experiences its seasons in opposite months is interesting: Australia lies in the lower reaches of the southern hemisphere, where seasons are in reverse order compared to the North America, Europe and most of Central Asia.

Nevertheless, this information very useful for tourists to plan their trip. The Sydney Harbour, for instance, is an incredibly popular location which attracts both domestic and international visitors alike.

Seasons

So what is the best time to visit the historic site is. The answer is autumn (March-May). In this transitional period, Australia is not prone to heavy rainfall or  snow accumulations. This makes the season perfect for visiting the Sydney Harbour.

If you go to Australia to enjoy the coastal beaches, then your visit must be timed differently. Summer which is usually between December and February, is the perfect time for a beach holiday.  However, if you want to see the Opera House or the Harbour Bridge in the flesh, then autumn really is the ideal time. The fall season brings a slight breeze and outdoor friendly conditions.  Furthermore, comfortable temperatures and fewer tourists can be a big plus for some people. 

Whale Watching

Whales start their migration across the Sydney coast during this period. For those seeking a glimpse of the enormous mammals, autumn is the perfect time.  Whale watching is done for sport in Sydney. Viewers can enjoy the experience by the harbour area. They may also travel to the highlands with their binoculars in tow if they are looking for a peaceful vantage point or want to see a panoramic view of the coast.  If you’re fond of nature and the magnificent views it offers, then you must visit the harbour in autumn. 

Outdoor Activities

The idea of taking a stroll by the harbour on a quiet afternoon is delightful. However, if there is energy sapping heat or snowfall then that may spoil the experience. Autumn in Australia avoids these pitfalls. If you want to take a cruise and take in the sights and sounds, you can use services like sydneyprincesscruises.com.au.

Visitors can also participate in a number of events which are planned for this period. Vivid Sydney (pictured opposite) is an annual event typically held in May. The occasion is marked by sublime light shows and concerts. It is perfect for keen photographers and devoted fans of music.

Furthermore, the Easter holiday is celebrated with the Sydney Royal Easter Show. It allows families and friends to come together and revel in the different exhibits that are organised. Food lovers can descend upon the Taste of Sydney festival and try different cuisines.

Autumn represents a time when the majority of tourists have retreated. Temperatures are declining which make the days tolerable and the nights enjoyable. If you really want to experience Sydney Harbour properly, autumn is the month to do it in.

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Features

Your Smile Direct – one month Review

Your Smile Direct Review 

I think we all have that one thing that bothers us about ourselves or something we would perhaps like to change.  For me since I was in my late teens it was my teeth. They didn’t warrant braces as a teen but as I got older and wisdom teeth appeared it changed them a little.  I rarely, if ever smiled in a photo. I became very conscious of them. A number of times I made enquiries about doing something but life got in the way or large outlay house car etc took precedence.

Roll forward another couple of years, add a husband and two kids to an already busy life style and fixing my teeth fell lower down the list of proprieties. One night the kids were in bed perhaps there was some wine consumed! I mentioned it again to my husband, he said do it – go and make enquiries so that is exactly what happened.

I had some criteria in my head, I needed something that didn’t require a massive time commitment as any busy parent will know, time is a precious commodity. I feel silly saying this, I was also quite self conscious of being the wrong side of 30 and having braces so I was naturally drawn to the clear aligners being quite discreet.

 

Why Your Smile Direct

Your Smile Direct ticked all the boxes for me. My initial dealings with them were informative without being pushy. I like that!  A sure way to loose my custom is the hard sell!

The first box to arrive contained little tubs and a tray to make the moulds of your teeth to send back together with some photos from different angles of your teeth.  My top tip here would be to do as many moulds as you can with the putty substance supplied to ensure you have at least one good top and bottom set.

So I did the moulds at home, posted them back and a couple of weeks later a box of aligners arrived in the post.  I received an email in advance with the treatment plan. I needed to change aligners every 2 weeks for 20 weeks.  The process so far was so smooth and I was kept informed at all times. The advice is to wear your aligners all the time except for eating and drinking. Another top tip here is straws become your friend if you need to sip (water only) during the day.

The Verdict so far

I am currently on my 3rd set of aligners and hand on heart im so so happy to date. I never anticipated that I would notice a difference after one month.  The progression in such a short time has filled me with so much excitement for the final reveal. A couple of things to bear in  mind. There certainly is some discomfort for a day or two when you change to your new set but this is to be expected for the required change to occur. It does take a little getting used to, another unintended benefit for me is no snacking! I only take them out for my main meals which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in my nibbling during the day. I used to be cooking for the kids and be eating along with it!

The beauty of Your Smile Direct is the process has just slotted into daily life as a busy working mother to two young kids. All dealings with the team have been professional, helpful and courteous answering any questions in a timely manner. Price wise is it very reasonable and costs a lot less that I expected.

Sometimes mammies need to put themselves first too, having been guilty of saying I don’t have time to do things for myself for many years I am thrilled to be in the middle of this process.  My confidence has increased and my close family have even commented on my teeth.

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Baby name inspiration – some help with the difficult decision

We debated at length when naming the boys – reaching a consensus was no easy task! We all know stories of babies who were nameless for weeks or babies whose name were changed in the weeks following birth.  When we were naming the boys I felt a real weight of responsibility after all they would be stuck with the name for the rest of their lives.

I poured over children’s names book – reading the meaning behind them.  Its funny how as they get old they do wonder why we named them what we did or what does their name mean.  Family tradition was important to us and both boys have middles names in keeping with family traditions.

C&G Baby Club have come up with a pretty genius Baby Name Generator to help. You can pick a gender or choose a unisex name, you can explore names or set parameters such as starting with etc or reflective of a particular season.

I just had a nosey at boys names for Spring with Irish origins and have fallen for a beautiful sounding name of “Aeary” meaning Scholar.  I have never heard of this name nor lots of others on the list. Fantastic way of considering less used names of name of particular origins.   Its really user friendly definitely something to keep in mind when having the baby name debate.

Features

Need some help choosing an engagement ring? Here are some tips!

My younger brother recently got engaged and chatting to his finance made my think about all the considerations to think of when choosing an engagement ring. Its about 9 years since we got engaged but the I still haven’t forgotten all the things that I researched thoroughly when choosing mine.

Size

The average price of diamonds depends on its size, among others, so you have to be certain on the size you want. See the collection of Certified Diamond Network in Sydney and you’ll be amazed by what you will see. Whether you choose to stay small or you raise the size, it all depends on your own personal preferences. 

Clarity

The clarity of the diamond is also important in choosing the engagement ring. You can opt to have a diamond that is very clear.  You might even settle with a diamond that has a lower clarity without you being able to notice the difference. 

Colour

If colour is more of your thing, you can choose to buy a coloured diamond instead. There are many people who would prefer to get a coloured diamond due to its uniqueness. Because the intensity of colours can differ, they will have something that is truly unique from others.

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Cyber Liability Insurance – an overview

What is Cyber Liability Insurance

cyber crime

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The concept of Cyber Liability Insurance was virtually unheard of until recent years however with the increase in the number hacking’s, viruses and data breaches, it is certainly something that companies are putting an increased focus on.  Or if they aren’t they really should seek appropriate advice to see if it is something they should be concerned about.

So why insure? Its quite simple – companies need to try to mitigate against the costs of these things happening.  The cost involved for example in data recovery after a data breach can be substantial and if not rectified quickly and customer confidence restored it could have a potentiality catastrophic affect on your business.

Around there world more and more of us are shopping online from groceries, to clothes to holidays and with this brings increased opportunities for cyber criminals to cast their net with so much of our personal data out there in the online world.  As a business we need to protect these consumers and while Cyber Liability Insurance can help us in the unfortunate event that it happens, it is important to be proactive from the inside.

Ways of reducing Cyber threats to your business

Rigby Financial have produced a summary of measures as an indication of the types of things companies can do to reduce the potential for Cyber Crime for example:

  • Ensure your staff are trained to spot the latest threats.
  • Use data encryption to protect the data on a hard drive so that it can only be accessed with a decryption key rather than just a simple password.
  • Protect hardware by installing doors that require a swipe pass to access a particular room or computer locks for desks. Sounds simple but you would be surprised how many business forget the most simple of controls.

Other things companies can do include for example:

  • Use of strong passwords.
  • Use common sense when it comes to public wi-fi and links in emails
  • If customers can pay on line ensure that appropriate verification of cards is used
  • Keep software and operating systems up to date

The above is a small selection of some of things you can do to protect your business. Do consult a specialist in this area if you have queries. I have seen companies offering one off cyber audits which would be money well spent. As always insurance is to protect if something happens but you do need to take steps to hope you never have to use it!

Note: This is a collaborative post in conjunction with Rigby Financial

 

 

Features

Sleep and fertility – is there a link?

Can you imagine how it is not getting any sleep? It is a terrible thought, right? You probably know how rough it is by getting through the day on less than 7 hours of sleep a night- which is too little, as it is best to have at least 8 hours of sleep a night in order to be functioning and to maintain good health.

It is crucial to have enough sleep because it affects your overall health, quality of life, as well as fertility. Because a good night’s sleep helps restore and refresh your brain, organ systems, and helps regulate hormones- that includes hormones that are fertility related.

The same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones such as cortisol and melatonin also is responsible for regulating productive hormones such as the luteinizing hormone (LH). That is the hormone that triggers ovulation when it rises, and it is also responsible for keeping your menstrual cycle regular.

How it affects fertility

Therefore, if women are not sleeping enough or having a proper quality of sleep (constantly waking up in the night and feeling poorly rested during the day), the lack of sleep could very well affect the release of LH, which can prevent ovulation from happening, and be the cause of irregular cycles.

It is also important to note that in men, lack of sleep can also affect the maturation of sperm so it certainly has negative effects on both men and women.

Not only does lack of sleep cause hormonal imbalance, but it can affect your fertility in other ways such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions as well as obesity.

When you are sleeping poorly, you are going to be prone to craving simple carbs and trans fats. You will be more likely to grab a candy bar or a bag of chips instead of a healthy snack like fruit or veggies in a dip. You will be craving sugar a lot more and it has to do with high cortisol levels.

While lack of sleep can prevent ovulation from happening, you are prone to falling into poor lifestyles, which also means you will be less likely have the energy to exercise. The lack of sleep is keeping your fertility and overall health quite poor as a result.

Not to mention, you will be more than irritable, drowsy and have problems with concentration and memory if your sleep quality is poor. You may be prone to illnesses such as catching viruses easily.

Causes of sleep disorders

There are many things that can cause problems with sleep. If you are not under a considerable amount of stress (which is notorious for causing poor sleep), then you will want to make an appointment with your doctor to make sure there is no underlying cause. In fact, your doctor may want you to have a sleep study done to rule out any underlying issues such as sleep apnea, insomnia or restless legs syndrome.

How to help your fertility

If you are not having any health issues that are getting in the way of your sleep, then you need to start getting back into a good sleep habit where you can get at least 7 hours a sleep each night because daylight and sleep are integral to our biological clocks.

However, if you genuinely feel well rested on less than 7 hours of sleep, it is possible that you don’t require 7 hours to function. Sleep requirements can vary from person to person, and from season to season.

You will also want to get outdoors for a 10-minute walk each day. If you are in a colder climate or if you have been having a lot of rain, you will want to use a lightbox which is a portable unit that allows you to get light when you are stuck indoors. They are often used for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

It is also recommended not to work odd hours if you can help it. If you are working late night, or have graveyard shift hours, that can get in the way of your sleep, and cause irregular cycles and reproductive disturbances. If a pregnancy did happen while working odd hours or if you were sleeping poorly, the pregnancy could be at risk as lack of sleep is not good for the unborn baby.

If you are trying to conceive, doing shift work is not recommended for women, and even for men! Your chances of chances of getting pregnant can be affected.

Also, go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends because a consistent sleep-wake schedule will help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

As it is known that stress is a killer for proper sleep, so, therefore, be sure to pay your bills earlier in the day, don’t read disturbing books, or don’t watch disturbing movies, and stay away from websites that could upset you. That will only cause your mind to race which will cause you to fall asleep much later than you had intended when you end up having to wake up just a few hours later!

It is also a good idea to keep lighting dim late at night so it helps you get tired, as bright lights in the evening can actually shift your body clock.

Also, be sure not to drink any coffee later than 2 pm and limit your caffeine intake especially while trying to get pregnant. However, too much caffeine can keep you wired in the evening. The same goes for chocolate. Don’t eat too much of it especially if it is late in the evening.

Given that you are trying to conceive, you will want to avoid alcohol as alcohol also disturbs your sleep. For me personally,  ovulation kits are your friend,  being informed is crucial and knowing when you ovulate can help with getting the timing right as well as being familiar with the cycles your body is going through.  Thus allowing you to plan more precisely.

Last but not least, as tempting as it may be to take something to help you sleep, stay away from melatonin supplements if you are trying to conceive because there is a risk of suppressing your fertility even further!

So do what you can to make sure you are getting a good night sleep, and as long as you feel rested and you are functioning well even on less than 7 hours of sleep (as sleep can vary which was mentioned earlier), and you are taking care of yourself- you can start trying to conceive.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post. Please note if you have any concerns always consult a medical professional.